This topic came up in my studies this week as I was giving a lecture on race and it is such a sticky topic which still leaves me unsure about how to identify others. But if anything I have learnt that I should allow people to be who they want to be- and through that level of respect, people can leave me to be the person that I want to be.
However if this term is as new to you as it was to me (until about two weeks ago) then it is okay. Transracial can be explained as someone who is born of one race but then makes the decision to represent themselves as a different race. Simply enough to say that someone who is born with black skin pigmentation now identifies as having white skin pigmentation and vice versa.
So imagine this scenario a white female who claims to be a black female: Rachel Dolezal
I have very mixed feelings about accepting her as being a black woman.
On the one hand I am in complete disagreement with her identifying as a black woman because I understand that many people view race as a social construct- one that does not exist and is only put in place because society lives with labels. But even if race is a social construct, and a made up things- it is still a made up thing which exists in society today. I do not believe that someone can just claim a new identity- she cannot just decide to be black because she has not experienced what it means to be black. I do not think that one can identify as being black if they have not experience racism and discrimination.
On the other hand, Steve Biko says,
“Blacks are all those who are, by law and tradition, discriminated against and identify as a unit towards their aspirations. Blackness is a reflection of a mental attitude- skin pigmentation has nothing to do with it.”
I hope to say that we have reached that point in our lives where we allow people to be who they want to be. Surely Rachel being black does not affect my life or my identity in any way- I may not like it, but it is her life and not mine. When I bring this into relation of my life I think about the institution where I am studying; What type of decolonized institution do I want- one where the leader has black skin pigmentation or one with a leader who has a transformed mind.
p.s: I am not in anyway saying that Transracial people or transgender people cannot be who they want to be- this blog is purely my personal opinion in relation to the example used.