How seriously to take racial self-identification?

By now, unless you've been out in the woods for a few days, you must know about Rachel Dolezal, the President until yesterday of the Yakima Washington NAACP who, it turns out, is a white woman posing as a black woman.

She was interviewed today and says that while, in the most literal sense she is white, she (her words) "identifies as black."

In other words, she feels like a black woman trapped in a white woman's body. 

Does that sound familiar? It should. Bruce Jenner became Kaitlyn Jennifer for what seems like a very parallel reason: S/he felt like a woman trapped in a man's body.

People claim Native American heritage based on grounds that are slim at best and sometimes just fictitious. Elizabeth Warren claims to be Native American and apparently has benefitted from that self-identification. That would be under the informal but widely-accepted "one drop rule" which dictates that anything other than European white in your background magically makes you nonwhite. (Maybe for a while we should adopt a reverse one-drop rule whereby any white genes makes a person white!)

Anyway, how do you feel about people self-identifying racially the way we accept people self-identifying regarding their gender?

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I think the phrase, "If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen," is appropriate for this topic. I think people are free to identify themselves however they want...but I also feel they are obligated to "take the heat" if there happens to be any negative aspect associated with whatever they identify as. I wouldn't recommend a man, who identifies himself as a woman, to walk into the women's restroom. He or she should use some intelligence during social interactions such as that or else face the humiliation of public shame. When it comes to changing gender or race: go right ahead and do it if you have genuine convictions, but I don't want to hear you whining when the public makes stereotypical comments about you because nobody forced you to be in that situation. 

Anyway, how do you feel about people self-identifying racially the way we accept people self-identifying regarding their gender?

Up until a couple of months ago I identified myself as Hispanic simply because I'm adopted and I didn't know my mother's ethnicity (at all) since she was adopted too.

I paid the $100.00 and got a DNA test through ancestry.com. I found 3 2nd cousins on my mom's side, 3 3rd cousins on my mom's side, and a shit ton of 4th cousins and beyond on both my dad's and mom's side.

I didn't find my biological parents. But through speaking with my second cousins I now know my mother's lineage. She is mostly Irish and English. I am also Spanish and Native American. However, what's interesting is that my adopted parents always assumed that I was a LOT Native American. It turns out that I am actually only about 21% Native American, and almost entirely European. - mostly Irish.

Based on my DNA test I'm going to try to claim Irish citizenship. They can't penalize me just because I don't know where my parents are or their complete family tree, but I have DNA evidence to support my connection to Ireland.

It's a long-shot but we'll see. 

So I used to always say I was Hispanic.

Now I also say I'm Irish :-)

Tell ye what, you get in another round, while I head to the jacks.

Sorry lad, you'll have to take your arse outside, they been banjaxed...I'll getcha a pint of Gat for your troubles.

Irish-Hispanic-Native-American... One wonders at what point this "race" rubbish loses its meaning entirely. Sounds like $100 well spent though.

Best $100.00 I ever spent.

So, how am I going to get it? I have a Square device if you'd like to do it that way.

So glad you brought this up.... My main concern is that in today's world, what does race even mean anymore? Other than skin colour and/or heritage, what does being African American mean? IMO it means nothing. She may as well as identified as being Gondorian.

Might be worth noting that there is less genetic difference between human races than there is between breeds of dog. We really are all pretty much the same.

I heard a geneticist say on NOVA once that there isn't a dime's worth of difference between Arabs and Jews and yet some people would regard them as separate races. I'm 68. Things were simpler when I was a kid. You had white, black, red, and brown. Not saying that was good, but there are so many potential "races" nowadays.

My main concern is that in today's world, what does race even mean anymore?

As someone who grew up not knowing anything about my ethnicity or heritage other than that I was part Hispanic....I can tell you it means a hell of a lot. Since you know where you come from you've never had to wonder about one of the most basic things - who you are and where you come from. Having a sense of belonging is psychologically necessary. I think.

While it is not necessary to advertise one's genetic makeup, for Dolezal to become a prominent member of a black organization without coming clean about her whiteness seems highly unethical. If she was raised in a black community perhaps her racial identification would be more understandable. Nonetheless, deceit is not appreciated by any member of a race.

Gender identification is not really a conscious informed decision. Those individuals are wired as the opposite sex and really have little control over the reality of being in the wrong body.

Gender identification is not really a conscious informed decision. Those individuals are wired as the opposite sex and really have little control over the reality of being in the wrong body.

We've come to accept that. Has it ever been proven scientifically? It seems to be purely psychological or I'd have to consider the possibility that other animals have gender confusion as well.

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