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June 17, 2015

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Funny, I missed the part where Caitlin Jenner fabricated misogynist hate crimes against herself, and lied about her entire background and life story. I'm also a little concerned about your equating of race and gender in this situation, given your attitudes towards the latter. I don't advise you to try translating "complementarianism" from gender to race, as the results might be... you know.

By the way, when you wrote this post, did you get the little voice in the back of your head telling you, "Maybe this post doesn't need to be written. Maybe I can forgo the Hot Take™ this time." That's called a moral conscience.

Interesting response, Phillip. Dolezal wouldn't have had to lie about anything if we weren't too bigoted to allow her to define herself according to her own identity. Don't you think people in the closet sometimes have to lie to the people around them to cover up their secret? Don't you think many of the men living as women out there (and vice versa) have created a past for themselves to support their new identity? Don't you think that if we suddenly discovered a famous woman was really a man that not a single person would condemn her for lying about her past?

But that's neither here nor there. What do you think about the actual principle in question? Does a person's subjective self-image determine reality? Is Jenner a woman? Is Dolezal black? That's the only thing this post is about, and the question of what determines reality is an absolutely crucial question for society. Do we create ourselves? Or do we conform our ideas about ourselves to what is already true? This matters a great deal, which is why my moral conscience prompted me to draw attention to what our society is saying on this matter (and how the way they contradict themselves points to their deeper understanding that this is not how reality works).

My attitude towards race and gender is the same in terms of the principle in question—that is, the principle that subjective opinions don't determine objective reality. My attitude towards them is different in terms of this: gender is significant in many ways, but not race (and race isn't nearly as clear-cut, although it seems to be in the case of Dolezal). In light of this, it seems to me people should have been more concerned about a person thinking he's a different gender than one thinking she's a different race.

Well, if you understood just what sort of "objective reality" race is, then maybe you would be less inclined to equate being transgender with... this. Maybe you would recognize race as a sociological, not a biological, phenomenon. Maybe you would consider that this could never happen in reverse - a person with black skin could never, ever be accepted as white, in any context. And then, maybe, you would realize that a black person that can stop being black at his/her leisure is not black. This isn't biological determinism, it's the reality of racism, which defines and shapes what we recognize as race.

Phillip,

Rachel lied about her parents' ethnicity for the same reason Bruce asked a doctor to remove his penis. BOTH wanted to become something they were not.

In the case of the massive quantum leap of gender, the liberal world applauds Bruce for death defyingly avoiding biological reality. But in the case of Rachel, a self-contradictory liberal world conjures up a split personality and denounces a woman's right to chose here ethnicity.

I don't understand. And I don't understand because this issue is not understandable. It's nonsensical.

Hi STR,

Without acknowledging any of the premises of such terminology, I was hoping to help make the arguments clear... the LGBT thinkers have established a this-or-that language around gender, whereas a person is either "cisgender" or "transgender". The definition of transgender is pretty clear (I'm an A in the body of a B) but cisgender can be easily mistaken... a "cisgendered person" is an A in the body of an A.

In my opinion, and explicitly in some of the literature on this subject, the term cisgender was coined to be a little strange for the exact purpose of removing the connotation that one quality is normal and the other is not.

So this interviewer is asking whether there's such a dichotomy as "cis-black" vs "trans-black".

I hope you find this useful and again, this is not to acknowledge any of the premises of the language, but only for understanding what these people believe they are saying.

To Sad to say:

Reality is a social construct. I think your point reinforces that everything is subject to subjective opinions about identity and reality. It is fluid.

"cis-black" and "trans-black" are new social constructs, modern inventions based entirely on current social constructs.

This is all fluid. Evolving. Reminds me of Jabberwocky in the book Adventures of Alice in Wonderland.

To Phillip A:

Clearly, Rachel Dolezal is black enough. She is blacker than Clarence Thomas. Phillip, ask any liberal or person in the NAACP - who is blacker? Rachel Dolezal or Clarence Thomas.

1) Rachel Dolezal rejected white-privilege.
2) Rachel Dolezal assumed the risks of racism because of her black identity and rejection of white-privilege.
3) Rachel Dolezal assumed all the disadvantages of being self-identified as black
4) Rachel Dolezal was forced to hide her background because she wanted to assume FULL RESPONSIBILITY for being black.
5) Rachel Dolezal earned the affirmative action benefits of being black-identified.
6) Rachel Dolezal was every bit as courageous (with great risk of being "outted") as Jenner assuming womanhood.
7) Rachel hates the idea of being white.

Rachel has been very consistent with a high level of integrity in FULLY IDENTIFYING herself as black. To the point of working for social justice for blacks in the NAACP.

Rachel Dolezal is black enough. Blacker than Clarence Thomas is black.

Great post, Amy. The ol' reductio ad absurdum hasn't lost its edge. The point here, of course, is to refute the whole gender identity concept by analogy, but the person who turns around and actually accepts a concept of race identity in order to maintain her view on gender is at least being intellectually honest.

If there's a problem with the gender/race analogy, I don't see it. When Phillip says that "a black person that can stop being black at his/her leisure is not black," I don't see why this wouldn't apply to gender as well.

I have had some recent experience with something similar with respect to the marriage debate. A pro-ss"m" person I have interacted with has lambasted me for being hateful for saying I hope children will have a mom and dad because such a thing denies a child the opportunity to have two moms or dads. The same person has also gone on at length about how creepy it is that I assume that married couples have an intimate relationship together and also that I expect to do so only with each other. Both of these strike me as examples of one's principle leading them to accept clearly absurd things.

This is a perfect example of clashing liberal pieties. They want the distinction between men and women to vanish in the name of tolerance and equality, but they want the distinction between white and black to be hammered home in the name of the oppressed minority and equality.

The ability to hurl the accusation of racism and “white priviledge” must remain forever and nothing should be allowed to muddy the waters.

Phillip,

Maybe you would recognize race as a sociological, not a biological, phenomenon.

Oh. So race is not related to biology? That’s breaking scientific news, Phillip. Is it just a coincidence that black couples have black children?

Maybe you would consider that this could never happen in reverse - a person with black skin could never, ever be accepted as white, in any context.

Would you like that to be the case? Would you like a black person to be able to be white if they chose it? I don’t think a white person could be accepted as Chinese. Is that fair, Phillip?

And then, maybe, you would realize that a black person that can stop being black at his/her leisure is not black.

That’s deep. I need to ponder that one. Maybe that would be someone like Clarence Thomas, huh? I've heard people say he's not really black.

You filthy Xian bigots! Obviously this person was assigned the black race at birth but feels that it is a black person trapped in a white body.

Transracial.

Obviously.

Goat Head 5

Oops.

Assigned the white race at birth.

iPhone. Auugghhh.

Clearly a black person wrongly assigned white at birth. Race and gender are clearly fluid concepts. Wonder what is next.

"Wonder what is next"

This of course!

“self-image, not biology, determines reality”

Who are you quoting, Amy?

Or, are you not quoting anybody?

It's a summary of the principle. The quotes are there to separate the principle from the rest of the sentence so it's readable.

If a technology company is actively trying to recruit women to promote diversity, and a man checks off a box claiming to be a woman, what is the company to do? Or a university trying to promote girls in engineering?

Modern man - thinks with his feet planted firmly in thin air.

Thanks

We have been told for some time that gender and race have a certain equivalency. The struggle of LGBT individuals is constantly linked to racial struggles. Not being supportive of LGBT issues is often equated with not supportive with racial issues.

Now is the test. If it is true that if how one sees themselves is different from how society sees them, then society must accept and celebrate the individuals view as true, then is it only true for certain categories? IF sexuality/gender is a continuum, then it seems that we should be able to define ourselves anywhere we feel fit.

However, race is purely a social construct, which if it has any validity would seem to merely be a broad generalization of ethnicity. Since it is a purely social construct, why would one oppose giving individuals the same freedom to define themselves as one does in terms of sexuality or gender? Unless, of course, you wish to continue to put forward the idea that there are large groups of people that are so fundamentally different than "us" that they need to be classified differently.

kpolo, in your example of diversity, one would either have to accept the persons claim or refute it.

What possible way would society accept in telling a woman that she isn't a woman, as she claims, but is actually a man? Would there have to be a set of legal requirements that must be met to be allowed to qualify as transgendered? Who would define what the accepted criteria would be?

Michael Jackson was the classic case of racial dsyphoria. He was assigned Black at birth and spent the rest of his life transforming himself into a white person. Bleached his skin, straightened his hair, changed his speech patterns. Finally, he had racial reasssignment surgery to change his facial features.

When will we renounce our bigotry and hatred of transracial persons?

Trent,

Race is not "purely a social construct". The constellation of genes that code for race is completely unaffected by society. It is what it is.

Certain genes are more commonly found in some genetic lineages, but race is social. We do not speak of racial differences in cows. Race is an outdated concept, and with globalization and ethnic mixing will soon become meaningless as it will be difficult to find anyone who is pure anything.

Trent,

http://www.dairyspot.com/dairy-farming/dairy-farming-facts/types-of-cows/

While it is true that experts on cattle do not speak of cow races, they do speak in terms of breeds, which might be an equivalent to the race in humans. But that is an easy mistake to make these days as hardly anyone is raised on a farm anymore.

Breeds are genetic lines specifically bred for a purpose and in a controlled fashion to accentuate a particular set of traits which is different than natural selection of traits.

I believe all humans are more genetically similar than many other species. I'd say all Homo sapiens sapiens would be considered a single breed, if you wanted to use the term, when compared to other hominids and Great Apes.

I was raised in farm country, and was expecting that response.

Trent,

Controlled breeding and "uncontrolled" natural selection are the same thing, and achieve the same results. Hence breeds in domestic animals and races in people.

But, regardless, race and gender are both controlled by your genes and cannot be altered right now. All one can do is alter appearance. That is what makes all of this so ridiculous.

You can "feel" that you are a woman or a man or a different race or a potted fern..... but you still are what your genes say you are, regardless of your feelings.

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