A growing movement of identifying with a race other than the one you were born with is gaining momentum. Ja Du, a man born as a white male originally named Adam, is now announcing he is Filipino.
The first case of changing one's race to gain national attention was Rachel Dolezal, a white girl from Spokane, Washington who was largely criticized for living a life of deception as a black woman. Dolezal even became president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP. Transracial was originally a term for referring to someone adopting a child of another race, but it is quickly becoming synonymous with someone who identifies with another race other than their own.
Ja Du grew up loving Filipino food and culture more than any other saying, "Whenever I’m around the music, around the food, I feel like I’m in my own skin. I’d watch the History Channel, sometimes for hours … nothing else intrigued me more but things about Filipino culture."
Stacey Schreckner, a psychologist in Tampa, says, "If someone feels that they feel at home with a certain religion, a certain race, a certain culture, I think that, if that’s who they really feel inside, life is about finding out who you are. The more knowledge you have of yourself, the happier you can be. And, as long as it’s not hurting yourself or anyone else, I don’t see a problem with that."
But are they really happy? Ja Du hasn't told his family about his transracial status because he is afraid he will be ridiculed. Wouldn't it just make more sense to identify as a white man who also loves Filipino culture more than his native culture? There is no real harm done to anyone so in the end so I suppose they should be allowed to do what they want right?
That brings up another change with Ja Du, not only is he transracial, he is transgender as well. Ja Du knows some may accuse him of cultural appropriation but he says he's not trying to take advantage of anything, "I don’t want that. I think that we all have the freedoms to pursue happiness in our own ways."
Schreckner commented on Ja Du's transgender status, "I work with a lot, in my 15 years, a lot of transgender people. Before the doctors that I send them to do any type of physical changes to their body, they go through a long process with me and actually most the people, they are not upset about it because they want to make sure that they’re doing the right thing."
There is a real danger of calling a legitimate psychological illness 'normal' and just turning a blind eye in the name of personal freedom, for now, it's a murky area with no clear-cut answer but where people on these spectrums fall on the legal scale may need to be addressed sooner than later.
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