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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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I have financial dysphoria disorder, and I'm looking for funding for my financial reassignment as a millionaire (USD). smile009.gif

cmadler Level 7 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 7 July 12, 2018

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

People change their faces all the time these days and I hear skin lightening is big buisiness in some places. I think it's sad in most cases. People should be encouraged by society to be beautiful how they are, but I guess that's not how it is sometimes.

MsAl Level 7 July 12, 2018

...don't really care, but...there is a new restaurant in my town that has really good pizza....

goldenvalleyguy Level 7 July 12, 2018

I am completely satisfied and happy with who I am and also with who you are.

jlynn37 Level 8 July 12, 2018

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

mcgeo52 Level 7 July 12, 2018

Taught me the meaning of empathy.


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 7 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.


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 7 July 12, 2018

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


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.


I wouldn’t particularly care since I’m for individual rights that do not depend on immutable characteristics much less ones that people could surgically alter. I identify much more so as an American or a classical liberal than I do as white.

Wavefunction Level 5 July 12, 2018

Racial reassignment? Really?
That's the most ridiculous thing I've heard today. It is, however, still early.
I understand "gender reassignment", because sometimes, nature gets it wrong.
Racial reassignment is straight-up stupid.

KKGator Level 9 July 12, 2018

Why is correcting body dysmorphia "stupid" but correcting gender dysmorphia "sane"?

Are you saying that nature only gets gender wrong but always gets body right?

Put another way, why is changing your melanin production from high to low in order to go from black to while any different than changing your testosterone production from high to low in order to go from male to female?

Same biology... Same psychology... Same science... But different outcomes? THAT"s ridiculous.

@TheMiddleWay Look, I see them as two entirely different things. I am not going to debate it with you.


I find the entire "identity reassignment" movement laughable.

bigpawbullets Level 8 July 12, 2018

I used to joke about this. That I wanted a race change. It disturbed people that I would say something like this in front of all kinds of people. What me distuurb someone?

Countrywoman Level 8 July 19, 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

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 8 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 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

I think the person will suffer more. Suppose a black man is reassigned to be white, I don't think he will be treated well by the racists in either camps. Since others didn't care to begin with, he is at net loss. More importantly, race should not be a major part of your identity at all.

Spongebob Level 6 July 12, 2018

As long as we use visual cues to form an impression of the world, then race will exist I'm afraid. The effect that those visual cues have on ourselves and our society can and do change but our innate human predisposition to see categorize people based on those cues witll not


Well, in an age where we, as a species, should be so over racism, I think making changing your racial genetics a thing could add to racism (not sure how, thinking on the fly here), or not. Maybe changing race like you change your clothes would actually help to eliminate it. It's an interesting idea. Personally, I love the fact that there is such great racial diversity. I just hate that anyone thinks one race is "better" or "above" another.

IAMGROOT Level 7 July 12, 2018

I don't see a problem with it. It personally seems a bit pointless, but these things aren't about how it seems to me. If it's important to somebody else, then it's important, and not something anybody else should be worrying about.

Salo Level 7 July 12, 2018

"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 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 8 July 12, 2018
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