Move over, Rachel Dolezal . Your charade is so passé. There’s a new face of transracialism, and his name is Ja Du.
Tampa’s Ja Du is a white man who was given the name Adam at birth, but he has decided he is Filipino, so he has adopted a Filipino identity. No, seriously .
“Whenever I’m around the music, around the food, I feel like I’m in my own skin,” he said.
“I’d watch the history channel sometimes for hours you know whenever it came to that and you know nothing else intrigued me more but things about Filipino culture.”
Mr. Du drives around in a fuschia vehicle called a Tuk Tuk – a mini-bus that Filipinos use for public transit. He sports long locks, dyed to match his car, naturally. But his skin is far more pale than any native of the Philippines, or any Florida native, for that matter.
Is Ja Du truly a Filipino born in the body of a pasty white guy, or is this just cultural appropriation? Du promises his lifestyle is legit. (Oh, and by the way, Ja Du is also transgender, so take that, Rachel.)
He knows this can be a problem, but says he’s not trying to take advantage of anything.
“I believe people will [take advantage] just like other people have taken advantage of their identity to get their way, but the difference between me and them…is that I don’t want that. I think that we all have the freedoms to pursue happiness in our own ways,” he said.
This brings us to the bigger question: where’s the line between transracialism and cultural appropriation? Psychologist Stacey Scheckner claims that, like transgenderism, people can be whatever race they want!
“If that’s who they are and they want to celebrate it and enjoy it, then you have to think what harm is it doing? All they want to do is throw themselves into that culture and celebrate it.”
“I think before we get offended, we need to take a step back and think about what is the harm.”
What is the harm in pretending you are what you aren’t? The harm to one’s self isn’t a factor in the eyes of the “anything goes” experts. There’s no exploration of whether transracialism could signify other psychological or mental issues; we just have to accept that everything is fluid and nothing is set in stone.
So, in other words, you be you! If the you that you want to be is different from the you that you really are, it’s all good! Unless you want to open a burrito truck in Portland . Now, that’s wrong.
If we can just pick our gender and our race these days, I have one question: can I declare myself as being transwealthy?