In Defense of Transracialism

Anthropology, History, Psychology, Sociology and other related areas.

Re: In Defense of Transracialism

Postby Lomax on February 6th, 2019, 2:16 pm 

I will say I agree with BadgerJelly that the essay is quite mundane. I also find Kant mundane, and Des Cartes, and Hobbes, and Locke, and Spinoza, and Kripke. I read these things because the subject matter is interesting, and socially important.
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Re: In Defense of Transracialism

Postby BadgerJelly on February 6th, 2019, 2:58 pm 

We all agree with the gist of the essay.

I thought my points about the use of terminology were relevant - considering they were merely tagged on to the end of the essay. If there is something more “philosophical” I missed I’ve honestly no idea what it was?

Are we looking to have a discussion on what is different about “race” and “gender” here? In term of identity one has a more solid biological basis than the other I’d say because “race” essentially encompasses a great many things (culture, language etc.,.) where “gender” is pretty much derived from biological male and/or female sex.

In short people can, and do identify as they like. If people insist on things too much (like my extreme example) people simply won’t abscond to each and every demand - ie. You won’t likely call me King of Earth simply because I “feel” like I am.

Not saying anything bizarre or “far right” here? That kind of puzzles me ... yet coming from Serpent doesn’t surprise me.
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Re: In Defense of Transracialism

Postby Lomax on February 6th, 2019, 3:21 pm 

Tuvel has been picked up on her terminology for other reasons - apparently "transgenderism" is outdated and offensive language, and so forth. I don't read enough of the relevant literature to be able to keep up with such things, unfortunately. I can't say I found her meaning to be particularly unclear.
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Re: In Defense of Transracialism

Postby Serpent on February 6th, 2019, 4:35 pm 

BadgerJelly » February 6th, 2019, 10:17 am wrote:Serpent -

Did I say it did? Does it actually matter given that I was quite obviously highlighting that there is a problem of definition (like I have from the outset).

That argument. I have yet to see what actual problem you're highlighting.

I just stated that the article seems to have touched a nerve due to people sensationalising this or that item in the news. It is considered “controversial” because some people act with outrage the instant they see “race” or “gender” and ignore the points being made. I thought the article was quite mundane; but maybe I missed something because I skimmed the second half?

I can't say what you missed. Maybe the fact that the essay is not the center of the controversy? The essay is in response to a controversy regarding a real person. I'm not particularly concerned with her style or terminology: I was more interested in the reactions, and in far wider range than just trans-gender or trans-racial issues.

[Show me the problem in not dividing people along arbitrarily assigned designations. ]
Why?

In order to support your assertion that a problem exists.

I assume you can think for yourself and imagine possible legal problems in this regard.

Yes, we can all imagine hypothetical scenarios. But, as far as I'm aware, the only actual problems have been the result of intolerance by people who were not materially affected by another person's self-professed identity.
Now, if you apply that judgment to the wider question of physical appearance and identity, we get dangerously close to national identity, ethnicity, racial profiling and ghettoizing. An ex-colony populated by immigrants can't afford that kind of systemic prejudice.

If people are different then pretending they are not doesn’t seem massively productive for social cohension and mutual understanding, does it?

It's not massively anything.
We're talking about something like 0.6% of the population. Their going back in the closet would change nothing, except to make bigots feel vindicated. If cowering conformity is the price of social cohesion, that society may be due for a rupture anyway.

Delineations are important.

To what? This is the question I've been asking you: Why does role-assignement matter? What does it accomplish? Why is it important to stay inside the lines drawn around you by other people's perception?

If you don’t see how my thoughts are relevant then you don’t see.

That's correct.
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Re: In Defense of Transracialism

Postby BadgerJelly on February 7th, 2019, 12:46 am 

Serpent -

Let us agree you don’t understand what I’m saying - my fault likely as much as yours.

I’d love to hear the wider implications that interest you though. I seem to be failing so maybe you can express why it interests you?

Maybe you’re thinking about how else people can choose to identify? What about psychological problems? How are we to distinguish between insane and sane needs/demands? I can certainly agree (from personal experience) that living in a different country changes someone’s sense of identity; subtly or otherwise. In this way the difference talked about seem to be about historical baggage. One thing for sure is that people require a foundation to work from. It appears that while gender identity is more innate it does still possess a degree of historical content - due to language, religion and general societal attitudes.

Lomax -

I don’t think it’s unclear either. I do think greater care could’ve been taken in how the terminology was used and to make clear the differences between biology and personal identity.

She made the effort to say that “race” and “gender” (in the social context alone) are not the same thing. There are certainly common themes in both regarding identity. As Serpent asked above I meant that “delineation” is important because people seem to need to be recognised by this or that term - hence someone now saying “transgenderism” is offensive.

I do, and maybe Serpent was hinting the same above, think about this in broader contexts too. Especially in this context ... the online persona. That was one reason I wanted to meet you (and to claim my Guinness!) Haha.

I’ve been dating recently (past couple of years) and found the whole process very interesting in regards to how people present themselves, what they think they are, and who they appear to be to me.
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Re: In Defense of Transracialism

Postby Lomax on February 7th, 2019, 5:23 am 

BadgerJelly » February 7th, 2019, 5:46 am wrote:Especially in this context ... the online persona. That was one reason I wanted to meet you (and to claim my Guinness!) Haha.

Next time! For what it's worth I'm not all that different in the flesh. The reason I choose my real surname, my real location and a real picture of myself - for all the arguable security risks it poses - is so that I would write as though I were me, and not some unaccountable alias. To paraphrase Updike: anonymity is a mask that eats into the face.
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Re: In Defense of Transracialism

Postby BadgerJelly on February 7th, 2019, 9:17 am 

Strange coincidence. Just finished reading Schopenhauer ... he mentions the human face as a “hieroglyph” to be deciphered. Also, that we can only really read a face we don’t know whilst familiar faces are related to the thoughts and words of the person perceived.

He has some interesting, and funny, comments.

His thoughts about knowledge and perception are actually quite pertinent to this thread too! I think this ties in with surface perceptions of people and how they believe should be perceived by others - even though it is, in reality, not something they can affect upon very much other than by force of argument or physical force.

I do sometimes write like I’m speaking to gain the same effect as face-to-face conversation ... the issue is that with writing it likely comes across as glib or thoughtless - that said I think I’m articulate enough in places.

I’m either silent or I don’t shut up. I’m sometimes overbearing in person too. I have the nasty habit of speaking to people like I’ve known them all my life and this tends to rub some people up the wrong way too. I’m also “scary” too apparently ... that is just my face though.

I wouldn’t worry about “risks” of showing our identity. I’ve done it here before and even posted my full name more than once ... the only thing I do tend to keep relatively stum about is where I live.

I posted the most intimate thing about myself on this forum too.

My online persona is not the same as my day-to-day persona ... I joke about more, but if I get my teeth into something and wish to push home some idea/thought then I am quite severe.

All of this is merely my own view of me though ... it’s only part of the picture :) I have it on the authority of several others I am not a friendly person and weird.

I am saying all this because it is not something I tend to do when I meet someone. In respect to the OP to what degree can we expect people to accept who we say we are? Does saying who we think we are really hold much positive value? In my experience often people, and I’m one, contradict themselves and often mean the opposite of what they say; almost like they’re in denial simply because the psychological acceptance of who/what they are is too damaging to face up to directly.
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Re: In Defense of Transracialism

Postby Serpent on February 7th, 2019, 9:57 am 

BadgerJelly » February 6th, 2019, 11:46 pm wrote:
I’d love to hear the wider implications that interest you though. I seem to be failing so maybe you can express why it interests you?

I've already mentioned several issues on the previous page.
In-groups, especially of people who have been through a struggle for recognition, tend to be exclusive. They tend to resent interlopers, especially those who are perceived to have had a "free ride". It's hard to be black when black-face is the stuff of drunken hilarity among rich white frat boys; once Black becomes universally Beautiful, some of those same old boys want to climb aboard the freedom train for political advantage... I can understand why that might make African-Americans angry.
But, obviously, that hasn't happened yet. It's still hard to be black in the USA. So, the woman who identified so much that she worked hard for black causes and changed her physical appearance to fit in must have been sincere.

Many sympathetic white people were active in the civil rights movement and have been working all long for social justice, just as many straight people have been instrumental in bringing about gay rights and equal marriage, just as many men fought for women's rights. Most of these comrades get no recognition. You could maybe understand them being hurt when the people they sided with - often at great cost to their standing in the powerful group where they biologically belong; loss of privilege, and sometimes risk to their very lives - lump them in with "the privileged".
Mainstream conservative society has pejoratives and rough treatment for the fellow-travelers of upstart minorities. But, unless you're a famous martyr or champion, there is no category for friends and supporters of a minority. I suppose, if one is dedicated enough and needs a category to fit into, she'll identify with the people she loves, rather than the ones she's opposed and left behind. To be rejected by her chosen people must be devastating.
Imagine Naomi telling Ruth, "Nah! My god and my people don't want a Moabite among us."

I believe this is quite different, psychologically, from gender identity. It's probably more like the experience of Korean war brides or colonial Britons who fell in love with India and went native.
The comparison in the essay is valid from the perspective of allowing people to self-identify, rather than forcing identities on them according to superficial perception, though its central argument relies too heavily on the presumed acceptance of transgendered individuals - which is far from a given. I'm interested in a bigger issue, to which this an entry-point.

Maybe you’re thinking about how else people can choose to identify?

Yes, I've touched on several examples.

What about psychological problems? How are we to distinguish between insane and sane needs/demands?

Case by case, situation by situation, person by person. If you have insufficient information or you're not qualified to judge, don't. If there is a decision to be made, ask "What's the potential harm?" rather than "What's comfortable for me?"

One thing for sure is that people require a foundation to work from. It appears that while gender identity is more innate it does still possess a degree of historical content - due to language, religion and general societal attitudes.

We all have foundations and backgrounds and baggage. We have to deal with that.
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Re: In Defense of Transracialism

Postby BadgerJelly on February 7th, 2019, 10:21 am 

Serpent -

Excuse the pedantry, but I hope you agree with me here:

To be rejected by her chosen people must be devastating.


I don’t think she “chose” her people. Her identity was a consequence of her upbringing. Her choice to work to help keep secure levels of equality and to work toward social harmony for all was her choice.

It is the matter of “choice” that sometimes feels more like an inevitability due to cultural surroundings. Some kickback against their cultural upbringings and others embrace them. Either way they define us in part (largely or not is I guess the question we struggle with throughout our lives be it directly or otherwise as you point out).

I’ve mentioned several times in the past how strange it is to adhere to some vague notion of “national identity”. Of course, I have a sense of national identity and kinship with others of my country of birth, but more so if they’re in my age grouping as we share an even more common historical narrative.

Maybe relative age differences are more of a commonality than national identity in many situations? One thing we don’t do is “choose” our age, although we’re quite without our rights to say we “feel” old/young ... I certainly feel younger tha I am and apparently many others are surprised I am the age I am due to my mother genes and behaving in a relatively “childish” manner in many situations :)
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Re: In Defense of Transracialism

Postby Serpent on February 7th, 2019, 11:02 am 

BadgerJelly » February 7th, 2019, 9:21 am wrote:[To be rejected by her chosen people must be devastating. ]

I don’t think she “chose” her people. Her identity was a consequence of her upbringing. Her choice to work to help keep secure levels of equality and to work toward social harmony for all was her choice.

Maybe so. Many light-skinned mixed race people identified as white, even when they were brought up in the black community. Some were groomed and trained to appear white, in order to do better than their parents. That's a limited kind of choice, too.
And, of course, they were rejected by their chosen people if discovered to have even the tiniest fraction of African 'blood', even though they were genetically more European than I, who have never been challenged on my white heritage.
Perception and social attitude is what determines where you belong, how wide your choice is and where you're allowed to belong.
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Re: In Defense of Transracialism

Postby BadgerJelly on February 7th, 2019, 12:15 pm 

I remember watching a documentary a while ago about US citizens “returning to Africa”. Most of them were met with hostility due to their attitudes. It is interesting that black people in the US associate themselves with Africa whilst some Africans on the eastern side look to arabic heritage as the defining part of who they are.

Humans sure are funny creatures!

I don’t pretend to understand the culture in the US. I’ve seen different reactions to skin tones in different countries and different continents. In south america it surprised me how girls openly refer to each other as “negra” which seemed kind of strange when I thought about the literal translation ... of course there was nothing derogatory in the term it just made me pause for thought.

I have no idea when/if I’ll get another chance to visit the US but I’d love to - and I mean in order to travel across the country and soak up as much as I can. The day will probably never come though but I at least hope to make a fleeting visit to see the natural wonders there.

One of the reasons lighter toned skin is perceived as “better” in hotter climes is simply because darker tones meant you’d be labouring in a field under the sun whilst the “elite” sat indoors “administrating” - at least that is a large part of the attitudes in India. I imagine a lot of that is also wrapped up in the whole caste thingy too.
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Re: In Defense of Transracialism

Postby Serpent on February 7th, 2019, 1:15 pm 

BadgerJelly » February 7th, 2019, 11:15 am wrote:I remember watching a documentary a while ago about US citizens “returning to Africa”. Most of them were met with hostility due to their attitudes. It is interesting that black people in the US associate themselves with Africa whilst some Africans on the eastern side look to arabic heritage as the defining part of who they are.

Several factors figure into that. Where the American slaves were abducted from - mostly south and west of the regions dominated by Caliphates, so they had no ancestral tradition of Islam. The influence of Islam as a religion continued to spread long after American slave trade stopped, and much more rapidly as a deliberate repudiation to Christian proselytizing during the dissolution of European colonial rule. (Which is also why many black Americans converted to Islam... another form of choosing up sides in disregard of personal history.)

Humans sure are funny creatures!

No kidding!

I don’t pretend to understand the culture in the US.

Nobody can. For one thing, it's not a single culture, and never has been. It's a patchwork quilt. And its very craziness is a product of its history. The innate flaw was importing African slaves to the colonies in the first pace (Natives tended to die in captivity; indentured European labourers couldn't work in the heat.) That disastrous situation might have been mitigated after independence - but the founders compromised. Very, very bad idea!! They eventually had to fight it out, at enormous cost to the country, and that civil war has never really ended; it just went underground, like the cold war.
It's very difficult to believe in Liberty and All Men Are created Equal while you own a bunch of other men. So you have to convince yourself that they're not really men in the same sense that you are (which is easier if you've already perfected that double-think on women, Indians and Jews). Then, to keep the pretense going, you have to make sure they don't prove you wrong - deny them education and opportunity. At the same time, it's even harder to live the pretense yourself, when the black girls are so attractive and you have power over them. So, not-quite human babies keep getting born lighter and more like you, and the pretense gets harder and harder to keep up, it takes bigger lies, more double-speak, a greater depth of systemic hypocrisy - the web of resentment, anger and fear just keeps growing more tangled.
We can forgive our enemies. We can forgive those who have wronged us.
We can never forgive our victims.

I’ve seen different reactions to skin tones in different countries and different continents. In south america it surprised me how girls openly refer to each other as “negra” which seemed kind of strange when I thought about the literal translation ... of course there was nothing derogatory in the term it just made me pause for thought.

What people call themselves and each other among themselves is quite different - and a word may have quite different meanings- from what outsiders call them, or allowed to call them. Also, ever region has its own history of relations among its peoples that formed the present attitudes.
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