Three years ago Racheal Dolezal, a 40-year-old woman from Montana, went viral for claiming she was black and changing her appearance. Now it’s 2018, Donald Trump is still president, and Netflix is releasing a documentary on Dolezal and the hardships of being a transracial black woman. Her definition of being transracial means she consciously decided to change her race/ethnicity. Is this possible?
Believe it or not, Dolezal isn’t the only person to amid claims of such. Martha Big, a German model, has changed her appearance to what she believes to be African American as well. The controversy comes with hundreds of opinions and this is an opinionated article.
Can you truly be transracial? In the definition of changing your own race- no. The definition of being transracial originates from those who are actually biracial or others who were raised by a family outside of their own race/ethnicity that they are not biologically related to. It originally has nothing to do with changing the way you look or claiming a race that you admire.
Psychologists, scientists, and other journalists have voiced their beliefs supporting both sides. Some have compared it to being transgender or a mental cognition, and others have compared it to being a form of racism and offensive.
In an aspect of being transracial versus being transgender, the only thing that is relatable is the fact that a person does don’t believe in their physical form. What they see is not how they feel. Whereas on the other hand it has been proven that those who are transgender have biological similarities to the gender they claim. It has been proven that a male to the female transgender brain is more likely to resemble the brain of a normal female and vise versa (“Researchers Explore the Science of Gender Identity”, reuters.com).That’s not the case I’m reference to being transracial.
Your race/ethnicity is not something you get to choose. Regardless if you feel more comfortable around a particular race, it doesn’t even matter if you relate to another race over your own. It is something that is biologically passed down to you that cannot change no matter how you fixed your appearance. There is no hormone you can take or surgical procedure that will alter it any way.
Being black woman myself, I must say I am partially flattered by Racheal Dolezal infatuation and appreciation of my culture, but to claim it as your own can be seen as offensive. To claim the African American history and be able to wipe it off at any time is not genuine. I love my race and its history. It’s important to respect the history of every race/ethnicity because there is a different story for each culture.
So if Netflix is releasing the documentary bases off her career of being a civil rights activist and NAACP president then, by all means, be informative. If the point of this documentary is to highlight the problematic beliefs that have offended more than just the race she claims, it’s unfortunate that as a country we have companies still supporting such controversy.