Can someone cross between races as we express other genders? Transracialism is not a good analogy for transgender, either for those seeking to support transracialism or oppose transgender.
When considering transition, one of the ways I argued myself out of it was to imagine what Afro-Caribbean friends would think if I blacked up. Blacking up for entertainment is seen as repulsive and racist, but transition is not blacking up: Drag queen expression is more like it. We do not perform a caricature to mock, we seek to live our lives normally. Now women perform imitating drag queens, and some say they are appropriating gay culture, and should not.
White people use black people’s art forms- white rappers, white jazz players, without pretending to be black. Could we not dress in brighter, softer fabrics without claiming to be women? No- playing the piano is only part of my being, my nature, and would be so even if I did it as a full time job. Improvising in words or music, the free flow rather than planning and executing the plan- or planning in advance a musical edifice, an epic poem, a symphony- is human, not of one race. No. I could not have softened and presented as a soft male. Others could, perhaps, I could not. I was too terrified of it. As a man I had to be Manly. Only as Clare could I free my soft self.
In one way, transracialism may be more justified. People who appear white may have black ancestry. In Black and British: a forgotten history David Olusoga met apparently white people who had black ancestors, who intermarried rather than being part of a black community. Those people should be allowed to celebrate their heritage. And they do not have black skin in a white-dominated world.
Why would you pretend to be black? When I googled “Rachel Dolezal” I found she had changed her name to Nkechi Amare Diallo. She taught African Studies, and tried to advance her career through the NAACP and the Spokane Police Ombudsman Commission. She told lies, claiming to be the victim of hate crimes which did not happen, using the title “Professor” without being entitled, copying JMW Turner’s paintings without acknowledgment. Her lies were designed to produce career advantage and social capital. She is a fraudster. It is therefore not clear that her claim to be black is based on her internal sense of her identity, rather than a feeling that a black person might have an advantage in the career path she chose.
As a teacher, she would be a role model for black students. She has no right to that. I do not claim to be a role-model for girls. That is one of the attacks on us, that we prescribe an ideal femininity, we enact the patriarchal oppression that this is the way to be a woman, but I do not imagine my way of being is ideal for anyone but myself, or deny the good of “manly” virtue in women, or assert that they should not exemplify any virtue seen as unfeminine. I speak for no-one. My identity as a woman is cultural not biological, and so I exemplify the freedom to alter cultural identity.
The NAACP has white officials, black people have white friends, and it is not clear that any Caucasian self-identifies as Black as a matter of identity rather than a way of fraudulently seeking advantage. The analogy of Nkechi Diallo breaks down, and the analogy of some transracialism for other motives is worthless, as such transracialism does not exist.