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Racial Identity and Reassignment: How would you feel about it?

Inspired by an earlier post and subsequent discussion, I'm curious to know what you think.

We're all familiar with gender reassignment. What if someone white identified as black, or if someone Asian identified as Caucasian?

Imagine: Procedures and surgeries are available to change skin colour and facial features to transform a person of one race to look like the race with which they identify. Human rights laws will be put in place to protect people in this community.

How do you feel?

Is this any different from someone born male wanting to transition to female?

Caveat: For those claiming there is no such thing as race, as we are all part of the human race - we all get that. Please answer the question, or go answer another one entitled "I don't see colour."

By Athena
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"Is this any different from someone born male wanting to transition to female?" Courius, i was accused of being "trasphobic" for making a statement like that this weekend. I was accused of this because i used the word "wanting" like in this statement. Thier argument was "they ARE a man/woman, - not that they "want" to be." I was accused of being "old" and belonging to an older generation therefore, i just don't know any better. That was as close as i ever been called an "Archie Bunker" in my whole life. Personally, i think they be trippen'.

lllllllllllllll Level 4 July 15, 2018

I feel sad for those people who feel the need for it.

irascible Level 8 July 12, 2018

I think it's really all about the mental health of the individual.

If someone is suffering because they feel their body is 'wrong' in some way, that needs to be addressed by health professionals. You consult the person, check their health, metabolism, hormone levels etc. You counsel them, you inform them, you educate them about the risks and likely consequences of intervention and what is achievable and if they are sane, aware and consensual you agree with them the best route to proceed. It will depend on how much they are suffering and whether a course of treatment is likely to work. Vox pops on forums don't have much relevance.

Some people suffer from a condition where they feel a limb is not their own - such as a hand or arm - due probably to poorly understood processes in pre-natal development. Having this alien appendage gives them great anguish and they wish to be rid of it. Amputation can release them from this syndrome and they are much happier after the operation. Neglecting for a moment the question of costs, this is clearly the best outcome that could and should currently be offered. I don't see how feelings of gender or race misattributions should be treated any differently. If the person is unwell, you try to make them better. Any other course is either cruelty or neglect.

I shouldn't have to spell out that this is a clinical matter, not one of subjective wishes, but I will before someone grabs the stick by the wrong end.

Gareth Level 7 July 12, 2018

I America we deal with race. In other parts of the world people deal with religion, culture, ethnicity. Myanmar struggles with Rohingya who are ethnically South Asian. Europe struggle with Muslim immigrants. Australia has trouble including the Aborigine people. South Africa now has the opposite problem where poor Blacks out number affluent Whites and hold the reigns of power. It's not a simple matter of being color blind or equal opportunity. I don't know if there is a government policy that will do justice in all cases. We can certainly treat every individual with the dignity they deserve as a fellow human being. Be have more in common than we have differences.

minhmeister Level 7 July 12, 2018

Absurd, unnecessary, not even about vanity but more about mental health

Hiram Level 4 July 12, 2018

Have you ever read Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin?

mcgeo52 Level 5 July 12, 2018

When anorexics suffer from body dysmorphia, and see fat where they're skinny, it's considered a self-destructive mental disorder. When a person suffers from gender dysmorphia, and thinks a woman should be standing in the mirror where a man is, it is treated as a disorder of the development of the body. And the jury is still out on racial dysmorphia, apparently. But while an anorexic can stop starving themselves, it's a lot harder to back up the claim that a man can stop being a man, or that a caucasian can stop being a caucasion. No matter how much I may want to be black, I can't escape the fact that I don't understand the reality of growing up a young black male in America. I don't grasp the experience of our cultural and political history weighing in on my existence like black Americans do, nor do I fully know what it's like to take the risks black men have had to take to get by (getting followed around stores, worrying about whether my sweater choices may get me killed, having to find the balance of being "white" enough to make white people comfortable around me but "black" enough to make sure black people don't think I'm ashamed of them, having to carefully consider my behavior my when I'm a black man getting on an elevator with two white women already present). I can read about these experiences, and talk to people about them, but I haven't lived them. There are, whether fairly or unfairly, inherent struggles, benefits, risks, and consequences to being part of a "race" in today's world. Even though the costs have greatly decreased over time, they're still present today. Should I be able to apply to the NAACP for college funds for my kids now? That money wasn't put there for them. Should my kids be expected to act "biracial"? If they don't, are they invalidating my identity by refusing to recognize my blackness? If I fire a guy who identifies as black, but isn't black, should he be able to sue me claiming his termination was racially motivated? I'm struggling to see where recognizing racial dysmorphia as a disorder of the body, instead of as a disorder of the mind, is more effective and better for our society as a whole.

Humanistheathen Level 5 July 12, 2018

Why treat it as a disorder? Sure, as a white straight man I can not say I understand what it means to “be” someone of a different race/orientation/gender.

But your argument is from the perspective of you, not from the perspective of someone who identifies as something other than what they were “born” (expectations built by society).

So you can’t understand what it means to feel differently, so that bias makes racial dysmorphia a “disorder” when it should be a right of expression.


@Seajay88 I'm going to have to disagree with you. A person has the right to act however they wish. They don't have the right to be free of the consequences for acting that way. And when it comes to insisting that a person who was born with one cultural/ethnic/racial identity has the right to insist their way into an already established cultural/ethnic/identity community, complete with whatever social currency that identity carries, I disagree. Rachel Dolezal was fired from teaching African Studies at a university and forced to resign from the NAACP. The black community of Spokane did not accept her insistence that she identified as black, despite being born Czeck, German and Swedish. And while I can't really relate to someone who has racial dysmorphia wanting to be of a different ethnicity than they are, I can easily imagine that their desire to be part of that community is not an equal substitute for actually being raised in that community.

@Humanistheathen Other cultures: Middle East, Southeast Asia, India, even some native American tribes, have phrases and sayings for when outsiders are apart of their culture. In essence “one of them”

Now I’m not going to assume every case is the same. It is oversimplifying by calling it a “desire”, they actually identify with a specific racial group. So you can only easily imagine your doubts.


Interesting premise. Maybe it could be tried out first on David Duke or James Fields, the driver in the Charlottesville, NC attack that killed a protester.

chalupacabre Level 6 July 12, 2018

or Donald Trump


I'm kinda torn on the subject.

On one hand, l stick with my core beliefs that a person's life is theirs to live.

Conversely, if l decide to go to Walmart, purchase one of those $10 plastic wading pools, spray paint it brown, strap it to my back and say l self-identity as an Eastern Box Tourtise, have l crossed the line into absurdity or is it still to be considered acceptable?

ronin73 Level 7 July 12, 2018

And how many people have legitimately expressed that they are an eastern box tortoise? Using a joke to express absurdity is what makes expression absurd in the public eye. Like the tried and true “Apache helicopter”

I have friends who think they are vampires: Google “vampire court of Austin, tx”

They are hurting nobody with they’re identity. And they actually support people with identity crisis.

So... if you want to be a box tortoise. I support you, I won’t judge you. But I will ask you to buy multiple seats at a stadium since your “shell” takes up space.

I've raised this as well.

This is not a statement in oppostion for support to transgender people.

But, how far are we from accepting people who identify as a tortoise, as you mentioned...

..A tree? A car?


I think we should get to a point where we don't feel that its necessary to do so. In my humble opinion anything that we would use to define ourselves as another race would simply be cultural in nature.

I don't think changing a skin color would make or define you to a culture/ethnicity/race. Its about living to the experience and feeling most comfortable in that culture. Others should be able to accept you despite your appearance.

Hope this made sense.

cimoore34 Level 5 July 12, 2018

I think you said it pretty darn well, I get it, I agree.

@AmiSue thank you


Gender reassignment, sure. Racial reassignment, I am not supportive of it. It is insulting to think that someone who is white can all of a sudden claim they are black and have not shared the experience of what it is actually like to live as a black person in today's society. Gender reassignment is okay, because that is actually linked to body and brain chemistry.

GrumpyCatDad Level 5 July 12, 2018

And racial perception isn’t body and brain chemistry?

Please explain.


I could care less about color, gender,beliefs some one has or wants to be. By all means express yourself. Be who, or what ever you like. I'm more interested in the person underneath the label.

But please, stop with the bullshit about my use of pronouns offending you.

I think one of the best examples of this was with Morgan Freeman in an interview about race and such. Morgan, pretty much said, 'I'll stop calling you a white man, if you stop calling me a black man. How about just calling me Morgan. I thought that was brilliant.

TristanNuvo Level 6 July 12, 2018

Race to describe is an issue. But if someone identifies as “she” but you call them “he” that is no less insulting than you calling me “she”, when I am definitely a “he”

Treat others how THEY WANT to be treated... this includes pronouns.

Have you ever actually met anyone who was offended by your choice of pronouns? If not, it's hardly a real problem is it?

@Gareth actually I have.

@Gareth actually I have.

@Gareth actually I have.

@TristanNuvo You met them three times? (joke)
How did it go? Did they make you uncomfortable or what? It's never even remotely been an issue in my life and I'd like to understand what happened and how you felt about it.

@Gareth Oh well, I'll bite to your trolling.
As to my feelings about using the correct pronowus, it not because I have a problen I have. The problem I have is that some people go through many terms as want to be called. at this point there are about 50 different pronouns, Am some how I'm just to be psysic to know which title they want to be called.

And to be honest I have to elaborate on a few points.

I lived with my sister for a while because we had a great understanding Of being to go back to colledge, and Would help her with raising her kids. And I honestly think I did a great job of it. her son (at the time) got along rather well, we had the same taste in music, movies, games and such. After I moved back in Florida I found that Me (mehew) who decided to refew as a woman. And that made now difference to our relationship. We still have the same tast in movies games, movies and such, but I, because will call him by his, or hers name that she wanst to be called.

I had the same thing with my niece, we also got along with her from when she was about 4, after a while she went from samantha, to Sam. She identifies as a male. and again, for her/him I will call him for what she wants to have to be called.
I honestly love the both of them with all my heart.

My problem about pronouns. To me there are about 50 different pronowns of what they want to be called whatever it may be. and to be honest, I'm not psycic, I have now idea what they want to be called. And for the record, I (as like i made a point to make) is that Ill call my neice by the name I use toward her/ him is to call him Sam..

My problem I have is that there are a bajillion pronouns, and I just can't keep up on the correct pronown. I would rather call them by their name rather than lable them.

@TristanNuvo Well, it sounds like you have coped perfectly well with this problem already. If you're not sure which pronoun to use, you use their name. Nobody has yet asked you to use some weird, made-up term to reference them, and I trust they never will. I have a number of friends in a Buddhist community. Someone I may have known as "Tom" for years will adopt a received name for his spiritual practice and may become something exotic, like "Bhodimitra". Of course it's a struggle to remember, and we may laugh at my memory lapses and garbled mispronunciations but as long as there's tolerance and goodwill, as in your examples, we get by just fine. If someone was an ass about it and I really didn't want to humour them, I would probably just call them "my friend" or similar. I honestly can't see why people make an issue out of this and I'm sorry that you feel people like me are trolling.

@Gareth it is for those of us who it piles onto think of someone flicking your ear, once is irritating, and the more you do it the more it hurts and anyone who goes through that enough is bound to react negatively. The acceptible method in the trans community (which encompasses non-bianary and agender folks) is to just ask someone their pronouns instead of assuming, there are a LOT of pronouns but language is evolving to fit the need of neuance, no one needs to be a mind reader. But ignoring them outright invalidates their sense of self and is generally considered a dick move, even the occasional slipups can have a negative impact on that person's dysphoria.


There's identity reassignment I support and others I can't get behind to support. This is in the middle.

LadyAlyxandrea Level 8 July 12, 2018

What do you not support?
Why don’t you support it?

@Seajay88 at what point does self identification become an actual mental disorder? When we identify as animals? Inanimate objects?

When I was young I believed I was a wolf in a human body. Turned out I had delusions from schizophrenia. Some antipsychs and all better.

Gender identity? Sure I believe most are legitimate. Racial identity? Yeah I'm not too certain. Interspecies? No. That's mental disorder.

@LadyAlyxandrea and at what point is it a disorder? You left a question not an answer.

So long as someone is a cohabitation member of society and does no harm whilst being constructive, I fail to see how that is a disorder.

And yes I understand what the medical definition of mental disorder is. However, a mental disorder does require quite a few check boxes else it’s just a difference to social standards.


Sometimes I'd really like to just completely divorce myself from the white race, but that's not the same as identifying as a different one.

Racial reassignment would involve a whole lot of procedures, from plastic surgery to figuring out how to change the way one's hair grows.

It'd make for some interesting fiction. 🤔

I dunno, those are my thoughts on it, anyway.

memorylikeasieve Level 7 July 12, 2018

That might be easier than transforming genitalia?
Hair transplants are fairly easy by comparison.



I don’t feel white at all and don’t feel like getting any alterations to my skin to be of chosen color. I just don’t belong to that delicate whites that are looking for “jab” or crying over chrisis

Morganfreeman Level 7 July 12, 2018

Personally, people are entitled to do whatever they want with their bodies. Once upon a time tattoos were seen as taboo. Now it’s hard to walk anywhere without someone’s body art in view. However I do feel that anyone who wants to change their outward appearance through a medical procedure should be given a mental evaluation from an unbiased medical professional so they know the ins and outs of their decision.

The real question is why is society against it?

Because it’s new? “Weird”? Because it makes conservatives feel a certain way?

Seajay88 Level 3 July 12, 2018

I have known a number of people that identified with another 'race'. I say go for it. If you happen to be purple, yet identify yourself as being a blueberry, you have my support.

Holysocks Level 7 July 12, 2018

Why would we really be concerned? Michael Jackson did it quite successfully. Best of luck to them is my stance.

Geoffrey51 Level 7 July 12, 2018

MJ was black, identified as black, but had a skin condition, vitiligo (spelling?), which he was uncomfortable about and died his skin for conformity. His nose is the result of a freak accident.

There is a lot of credible info on how terrible MJs life was. But he didn’t try to be “white”.

I think he faced a lot of scrutiny for it, actually.

He finally resorted to "confessing" he had a skin condition that turned his skin white.


@Athena yes, troubled soul our Michael. I suppose Freudians could have fun arguing that he did it as an attempt to distance himself from his father.

That could absolutely be possible.


It's lovely weather, just get a tan, much easier 😎

SimonCyrene Level 6 July 12, 2018

Bah. Too many folks say "race" when they mean culture.

Hicks66 Level 7 July 12, 2018

What do you mean? Would you clarify, please? The post is specifically about race, not culture.

Are you saying people here are misunderstanding?

@Athena Culture is a culmination of expressions, fashion, music, language and art. Race is a superficial happenstance. The immersion into a culture might afford one the ambition of affording all of its trappings including appearance.
Transitioning only muddies the waters by adding another nuance. Say a person wishes to transition racially. Skin tone, eye shape and hair are all modified to the stereotypical consistency of the preferred race. Now you have the start of a new culture that mimics the preferred culture through the lens of a previous culture. A copy of a copy more or less.


I'm sorry. Based on my question, I wish I understood what you just said, but I don't.

@Athena Put bluntly, this is the most extreme example of Blackface anyone would care to mention.


Apparently Facebook’s algorithms have decided I am African American due to my cultural likes and political leanings and I’m not bothered by that at all. My actual ancestry is a combination of seafaring cultures and I dig that as well, the only surprise being that I have some Spanish or Portueguese DNA in me instead of Native American. I don’t know if I’d do any reassignment now. I seem to have accepted who I am finally. Had I been asked this question thirty or more years ago I would probably have sought reassignment.

Snedge Level 3 July 12, 2018

I’m not at all bothered by people who would choose reassignment either.


Look, either people get to decide their own identity or not. If people think gender identity is fluid, you don’t get to just dismiss racial identity fluidity. Either they are both acceptable or neither are. It’s funny how people completely arbitrarily decide what type of self-identification they will take seriously and what they will not.

Personally, I think placing a huge emphasis on gender or racial identity is a complete waste of time as neither of those things really tell me anything important about you at all. But, hey, that’s what’s trending right now. It’s all about them fads.

TiberiusGracchus Level 6 July 12, 2018

It's cool, I don't care. People will still find ways to be assholes about it, but individuals can do as they please with their own bodies.

maturin1919 Level 6 July 12, 2018

My age old rule is to let anyone do whatever you want unless you're hurting someone else. Cultural appropriation is a tricky one though and as a white male I'm not really concerned with minorities trying to be more white other than being boring. I bet other races would feel differently.

mattersauce Level 6 July 12, 2018

I don’t take cultural appropriation whining seriously when it comes from non-white Westerners. When a white high school girl goes to prom wearing traditional Chinese attire; Chinese-Americans whine about cultural appropriation while commenters in China are excited about the spread of their cultural items. Makes me not give a flying shit what Chinese-Americans think, especially because they are really just Americans and not really spokespeople for people who actually live Chinese culture in a very real way.


If we accept gender dysmorphia as something that can be treated then we have to accept body dysmorphia as something that can be treated.

If we are okay with reducing testosterone and preforming surgery to turn man into woman then we should be okay with reducing melanin and preforming surgery to turn black into white.

TheMiddleWay Level 8 July 12, 2018
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