Opinion: White Man Who Says He “Identifies as Filipino” is Abusing the Term “Transracial”

I can’t even. I have always made fun of this phrase, but it is all that came to mind when I watched this video.

 Adam, a white American man has made the decision that he identifies as “transracial” and has chosen to identify as a Filipino man named “Ja-Du.” Much like my reaction when the Rachel Dolezal story was playing out, I just cannot believe this guy is for real. This is so much larger and on a whole different planet than a person choosing to identify as a different gender. This is a man abusing the term “trans” and making a mockery of race and culture. To understand further, we must first clarify what “transracial” ACTUALLY means.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, “Transracial” is defined as ”involving, encompassing, or extending across two or more races I.e. transracial adoption.” For example, my husband and I are white and have two adopted children who are black. Our family is multi-racial and therefore, our family is a transracial family and product of transracial adoption.

“Transracial” has nothing to do with a choice. My children were born black and will therefore know what it is like to feel and be black. I will never know what it is like to be black as I am not. I can’t teach my children how to live in a world as a black person because I have never and will never have that experience. I will never know how that feels for them or what experiences they will have that I will not, simply because they are a different race than I. No amount of identification or physical changes would change that fact.

Both Adam from this story and I as a white woman will always be white. Even if Adam, as Rachel Dolezal, attempted to make himself appear physically a different race, he can just as easily choose to stop appearing that way. He can take off the mask and appear physically white again. He can at any time stop “being Filipino.”  Those who were born Filipino or any other race, can never take that off. It is at the core of who they are. They know what it is like to live their everyday since birth as their race. Adam will never be Filipino nor know what it is like to be or feel Filipino. He will never fully understand how that feels and no amount of hoping, wishing, praying, or self-identifying will change that.

Transracial is a description of a family, not an identifier. I am further disturbed that this article mentions that identifying oneself as a different race is a growing trend. It is incredibly offensive and inappropriate to abuse this term for one’s own agenda. Apart from possible mental illness, this man is using this term as an attempt to make cultural appropriation politically correct. This is an enormous offense to not only the races and cultures affected, but also the term transracial in reference to adoption and the term “trans” in general. There is no spin or explanation that will ever make this okay.