Admittedly, transracial is a term I have used repeatedly in speaking, writing and thinking. In the adoption world, this term has been widely accepted in reference to White families who adopt children of another race, specifically Black.
I realize now that this term is not race friendly. In fact, it seems to be a term primarily used by White or Caucasian people to feel inclusive of other races. I have to admit, that until recently, I had no idea how offensive this term seems to be among other racial groups. It's an attempt at trying to wipe out or negate color. Without color, culturally we assume it is a white world! But, the world is color. It is defined by color. In my opinion, trying to blur color together doesn't create beauty, it creates a mess. Rather, we should simply acknowledge, celebrate and champion the vast array of color in this world.
With the mass discussion surrounding Transgender issues we are seeing the movement of another term in our linguistics. While I have seen Transracial as a term related to adoption, it has now taken a heavier weight and new meaning.
This story of Rachel Dolezal has brought new meaning to this terminology. We are now exploring the idea that a person can make a conscious choice to change their race.
Wait, change race? I'm not sure I can wrap my head around this concept. Maybe it's because I have not had much exposure to the idea. This is a new concept to most of us.
As a father to both Black and White children I find this interesting. I have had the conversations with my kids at length about being Black and Being White. My kids have had to ask the questions about racial identity. My oldest daughter has asked about being black in a white family. It's not an easy conversation. And, admittedly, I don't have all the answers. I can simply do my best, knowing I will fail in some areas.
Here's what I do know. I want my kids to appreciate and celebrate their own color, their own culture and their own heritage. I want them to be proud to be Black and be proud to be White. I want them to celebrate each other. I want them to celebrate the color, race and heritage of others besides only Black and White. I want them to be surrounded by role models, mentors and people of other races and colors they can respect and learn from as well.
As per Rachel Dolezal, I wonder what caused her to defect and change her racial identity? What pain from her younger years pushed her away from a White world. What attracted her so deeply to the Black culture that she now calls her own? Did she find more love from a Black Culture than a White Culture? Was it her sympathy to the history of Blacks and Whites in the United States?
I can only surmise that her family was not as proactive at helping her appreciate and understand her culture. There is an obvious breakdown in the family relationship as well. There is pain. There is an identity crisis in the midst. And, it seems the pain will continue for her.
We now wait and watch. Will she continue to be accepted and loved by a Black Culture. How will the White Culture receive her? Will she find herself in some grey area, where she is rejected by both? Can a person live with an ambiguous racial identity?
I can only assume that this story will open a new dialog in America. How will our culture continue to evolve, as some might say devolve, if gender, race and cultural lines are no longer definitive?