"Quentina the Ballerina" (cuedus) wrote in postqueer,
"Quentina the Ballerina"

Article and brief commentary

Hello Peeps,

I am posting this to the community because it deals with identity albeit through the lens of "race." Perhaps you have heard about the DNA testing that can trace "where you come from"? This is an article that looks at that, although the language and the concerns are all wrong and even misguided. People are looking at this testing as defining what "race" you are -- as if "race" is biological(!).

I think this has many implications for GBLT folks as well especially as our climates change to include _____-identified folks, bois who don't have peni, bi-sexual people who have to defend themselves when in relationships of the opposite-sex, transgendered issues as well as transsexual. ... or maybe my brief analysis at the end does that -- I dunno.

I expect this to ruffle some feathers and maybe cause some very strong reactions. I only ask that folks remember I am as human as you are and if you scratch me and I bleed, I won't have the grace to give you a second chance. That said,

I found this article which has the title. "Race Reversal."

Now, first of all, I would like to call this stupid. Stupid because it fails to acknowledge that race is NOT biology, but a socio-political/economic reality. Positing it like this only aids the fallacy that "race" and biology are one and the same.

Secondly, "race" is an identity and an identity is not washed away by biology. Identity is how you think of yourself OR, conversely, how you are thought of. I am going to go out on a limb and say that only one of these truly matters. Although I hold Kathy Acker's quote dear and to the point, "We are, at least partially, defined by how those around us treat us," I don't believe in concentrating on how we are seen, but on how we see ourselves. Concentrating on how we are seen means that we constantly give away our power -- regardless of whether we are read the way we want to be read or not (most of my annoyances with the tranny community revolves around this point and spreads out from there). Therefore, if I meet that man (who, judging from his picture, I could have told him he wasn't of African descent, but B/blackness has two criteria: for Black, one must identify as and be raised within the cultural constructs of Americans of African descent (if you would); for black one merely must be racialized from without. Although I believe strongly in defining ourselves, the reality is that we are defined from without. In being defined from without, it is often dangerous to be unaware of how you are defined. In fact, it could cost you... your life or your soul -- the loss of either leaves you dead), I would have known that his mix was funky, but I never squabble with how folks identify themselves (i.e. unless they are attempting to hide something... like whiteness).

But what it all really comes down to is who you believe yourself to be with consideration to how you are marked outside. For all intents of purposes, anyone who is not white might as well be "black" for they are racialized and held as "other" (and thus "lesser/lower"). There are a lot of B/black people who bristle at this idea, but I firmly believe (for now) in building a movement where all people of color come to see each other as allies partnered in the same muck and striving/struggling to free ourselves, our elders, and our children from it. Because the disgrace is that being different from "the norm" means.

So, bring on the DNA tests. They aren't going to change how anyone is treated or received and, indeed, it may undermine the coalition that is happening slowly, but surely, quiet as it's kept between different peoples of color. While tremendous gains have been made in terms of de jure racism, de facto racism is held as rigidly in place as it ever was. Learning that you don't have any African ancestors does not keep you from being thought of and held and treated as if you do -- point-blank. But also, I am not sure whether it should change how you see yourself, how you identify/know yourself. In the words of Joseph's mother, "DNA results will not alter the way [I've] identified [myself] all [my] life."

And I would like to add... DNA results will not alter the way people of color are identified/known either.

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