transracial mask

Trans-racial: when genes don’t matter

It is no doubt that languages evolve and adapt to fit current times. But not only words change, but also their meanings. Take the word ‘transracial‘, for example. According to The Guardian, its original meaning was to described children that were raised by parents of different race to their own.

The term originates from adoptive and academic circles to describe the very lived experience of children raised in homes that are phenotypically and culturally different from their birth.

Most recently, and thanks mostly to Rachel Dolezal, the term transracial has been changed to mean ‘people who claim to have a racial identity that differs from their birth race‘. Apparently genetics no longer matter. In the case of Miss Dolezal, she was born Caucasian from Caucasian parents, but grew up with black siblings. Specifically, transracial would apply to them. However, due to Dolezal’s upbringing, she now fully identifies as a black woman. In fact, she darkens her skin and braids her hair to pass off as an African-American woman. She had been a spokeswoman for several black minority groups in which she spoke about the ‘racial issues‘ she encountered being ‘black‘. That is, until her heritage came to light and was asked to leave by some of said groups.

Dolezal may have a variation of Munchausen syndrome. WebMD describes Munchausen as a:

“factitious disorder, a mental disorder in which a person repeatedly and deliberately acts as if he or she has a physical or mental illness when he or she is not really sick. Munchausen syndrome is considered a mental illness because it is associated with severe emotional difficulties.”

I don’t mean to infer that being black is a disease, but rather, that the motives of someone who pretends to have cancer or be black are similar — a pathological desire to gain attention and sympathy, i.e., to be perceived as a victim.

Miss Dolezal is not the only person identifying as a different race. Vice Chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus, Elizabeth Warren, has also claimed Native American Cherokee heritage in order to score jobs as a minority both with Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania. It is unclear whether Miss Warren also suffer from the same or similar pathological disorder, or if she is simply taking advantage of a system that encourages diversity instead of qualifications.

In fact, it is becoming very common for people to pretend to be something they are not in order to gain an advantage. Such is the case of Vijay Chokal-Ingam, brother of “The Mindy Project” actress Mindy Kaling, stirred up controversy when he revealed that he pretended to be black to get into medical school.

Vijay Chokal-Ingam as an Indian-American applicant (left) and as an African-American applicant (right). Chokal-Ingam was accepted to medical school by pretending to be an African-American applicant
Vijay Chokal-Ingam as an Indian-American applicant (left) and as an African-American applicant (right). Chokal-Ingam was accepted to medical school by pretending to be an African-American applicant

In his own words, Mr Chokal-Ingam describes the experience:

I had to work the problem. I studied the statistics and data made public by the Association of American Medical Colleges and came to a surprising conclusion. The data suggested that an Indian-American with my grades (3.1 GPA) and test scores (31 MCAT) was unlikely to gain admission to medical school, but an African-American with the same grades and test scores had a high probability of admission.

While I wasn’t able to pin down the exact number, I reasonably calculated that African-American or Hispanic applicants had as much as a 30 to 40 percent better chance of acceptance than I. This number left me speechless — but it also started my wheels turning.

I shaved my head, trimmed my long Indian eyelashes, joined the University of Chicago’s Organization of Black Students (a black friend ran it, knew my scam and got me in) and began applying to medical schools as a black man. I transposed my middle name with my first name and became Jojo, the African-American applicant.

Mr Chokal-Ingam spent two years in medical school. He later dropped it and went as an Indian-American into UCLA Anderson, a business school that doesn’t practice affirmative action.

Of course the cases of Miss Dolezal and Mr Chokal-Ingam are completely different. She genuinely identifies as black, while Mr Chokal-Ingam was merely using his intellect to benefit from a corrupt educational system.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone therefore that, identifying as a different race is becoming a perfectly acceptable trend, just as much as identifying as disabled or identifying as the opposite sex.

It only goes to show that working hard doesn’t really matter anymore. We no longer have a merit-based system where the more talented individuals are allowed to rise and shine. We have a race-based system in which schools and universities are more concerned with filling up the stereotypical quotas, rather than educating the most capable minds. Minds that could reshape the entire history of a nation if they were allowed to flourish.

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transracial_(identity)

20 words that once meant something very different

https://thinkprogress.org/the-real-meaning-of-transracial-ebfb6e18544a/

https://nypost.com/2015/04/12/mindy-kalings-brother-explains-why-he-pretended-to-be-black/

https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Transracial

https://www.businessinsider.com/transracial-is-not-the-same-thing-as-transgender-2015-6?op=1

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jun/16/transracial-definition-destructive-rachel-dolezal-spokane-naacp

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rachel_Dolezal

https://www.dailywire.com/news/7003/heres-everything-you-need-know-about-elizabeth-aaron-bandler

https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2012/05/10/records-shed-more-light-elizabeth-warren-minority-status/eE56vLDeZLvRpnAnqNqvGM/story.html

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2010/07/considering-elizabeth-warren-the-scholar/60211/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Factitious_disorder_imposed_on_self

http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/munchausen-syndrome

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affirmative_action

http://www.understandingprejudice.org/readroom/articles/affirm.htm

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s