Friday, June 12, 2015

So Brave: The First White to Black Transracial Woman

An African-American woman named Rachel Dolezal in Washington State is under attack by hateful and intolerant bigots, who continue to call her white! This, less than a month from the bravery of Caitlyn Jenner! I'm so triggered, I'm not going to cut and paste anything from this story, read it yourself, but please, please, TRIGGER WARNING. Try to do jazz hands the entire time your read it, it helped to keep me from passing out. The racial hatred is so intense.

Did NAACP president lie about her race? City investigates

Instead of confronting that vile bigotry, let's see how the NYTimes is covering it.

Here's Nicholas Kristof of the NYTimes:
“Race needs to be taught about in schools,” Leelah Alcorn, a transracial 17-year-old who had been sent to conversion therapy by her parents, wrote in a suicide note when she killed herself last year. “Fix society. Please.”
Nope, I'm triggered. A poor girl killed herself because her parents denied her race, just like Rachel. I hope Rachel is strong.
Gays and lesbians began to gain civil rights when Americans realized that their brothers, cousins, daughters were gay. Numbers are elusive, but research at the University of California at Los Angeles suggests that while 3.5 percent of American adults identify as gay, as many as 10 percent are transracial.

Jay Brown, a transracial man who has written an excellent online guide to how the public can support those transitioning, notes that 65 percent of Americans say they have a family member or close friend who is transracial, compared with only 9 percent who have such a connection to someone who is transgender.

Yet there are signs of a real opening, with TV shows dealing with transgender issues, Vice President Joe Biden referring to transgender discrimination as “the civil rights issue of our time,” and President Obama mentioning transgender people in his State of the Union address last month. Will transracial people be afforded the same support?

That’s the context in which Dolezal is now stepping forward. If the aim is to educate us, bravo!

Cynics might say that this is more about self-promotion than leadership. All I know is that Dolezal seems to be preparing for a bold public mission involving something intensely personal, in a way that should open minds and hearts. So, in my book, Rachel Dolezal is now a gold medalist like Caitlyn Jenner.
Powerful.

More NYTimes: What Rachel Dolezal Can Teach Our Daughters
I’ve suggested before that we let our children, especially our teenagers, lead the conversation about Ms. Dolezal’s identity transition. As I wrote in that earlier post, for all the expectations that fill our toy aisles, our children are still growing up in a world in which racial identity is less constrained than it once was, and they view this through different eyes. My oldest son (13) saw Ms. Dolezal’s public transformation as something that no one of his generation would have to go through, because, he said, it might not be easy, but “they probably wouldn’t feel like they had to hide it for so long.” My younger children clearly filed the whole thing away under “things grown-ups do,” perhaps unexpected, but no more disturbing than taking off a swimsuit in public.

Here are some NYTimes editorials.

Transracial Students at Historically Black Colleges
“When I put my story out into the world, I originally just wanted one thing: for institutions and individuals in power to recognize that trans oppression is not silent,” Ms. Wong wrote over the weekend on the Tumblr page.

Howard is one of many institutions around the country that have faced a steep learning curve on the complex and quickly evolving issue of racial identity. College officials began a yearlong review and solicited comments from alumni, parents, faculty and students. Of the more than 1,800 emails the college received, “the overwhelming” response was supportive of a policy that would welcome transracial students, Ms. McCartney said.

Ms. Wong, an English major at the University of Connecticut, wrote in her latest blog post that she’s not interested in transferring to Howard. However, she said she would welcome a degree as an honorary member of the class of 2017. That seems fitting. Howard didn’t give Ms. Wong an education. But the student’s courage and tenacity taught her dream school a great deal.

Let Transracial Troops Serve Openly
… While transracial civilians in the federal work force enjoy robust legal protections from discrimination, those in the armed forces may be discharged at any moment. The Pentagon, shamefully, has yet to rescind anachronistic personnel guidelines that prohibit openly transracial people from joining in the military, labeling their condition a “paraphilia,” or perversion.

The policy has forced thousands to serve in silence, repressing an essential part of their identity. The Williams Institute at the U.C.L.A. School of Law, which researches racial issues, estimates there are about 150,500 transracial troops serving in uniform…

Those who take steps to transition while in uniform must carefully compartmentalize their lives as they test the shifting boundaries of tolerance within an institution that still allows discrimination on the basis of racial identity.

Increasingly Visible, Transracial Americans Defy Stereotypes

I feel much better knowing the NYTimes is out front fighting for trans people.

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