Racial and Gender Identity: Looking at the US from Latin America

Please read as many of the articles from the list below as you feel are necessary to answer the question below about the apparent transformations of Rachel Dolezal, a woman of Euro-North American parentage who lived a period of her adult life as a Black woman and president of her local chapter of the NAACP. Then, on the basis of your readings (including Revolt of the Saints), our class discussions, and your understanding of Brazilian understandings and definitions of race, please evaluate analytically the following statement: If one can be transgender, and even change or shift genders because one feels more at home in a gender different than the one assigned at birth, then does it make sense that one can by the same logic be transracial and decide, on an individual basis, that one belongs to a race different than the biological inheritance one carries in one’s DNA or the categories that other assign? Hint: In thinking about this question, it is important to recognize that while human beings come in multiple shapes and colors and bearers of multiple shapes and colors are scattered all around the globe, the ways that we interpret our shapes and colors change in accordance with our time period and the places in which we live. So someone who is “white” in one region, might be “black” in another. And in some regions there are intermediate color terms—or even hundreds of intermediate color terms—while in others people use only 2 or 3. Therefore race as an ideology or a system of classification varies around the world. This question is based on the Brazilian racial ideologies you have learned about in our class. How does seeing race in a Brazilian manner, as described in Revolt of the Saints, in class, and in any supplementary materials handed out, allow us to think through Rachel Dolezal’s case and the assertion that if one can choose one’s gender, then one can choose one’s race? Reading/sources (I suggest reading in this order): https://splinternews.com/half-of-young-people-believe-gender-isnt-limited-to-mal-1793844971 https://nypost.com/2017/04/02/rachel-dolezal-actually-thinks-shes-similar-to-caitlyn-jenner/ https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/jul/20/rachel-dolezal-interview-vanity-fair https://www.chronicle.com/article/A-Journal-Article-Provoked-a/240021 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypatia_transracialism_controversy http://juliaserano.blogspot.com/2015/08/regarding-trans-and-transgenderism.html

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