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Why a Transgender Racist Makes No Sense

Racist catNow that racial tensions are good and high again as a result of the Zimmerman verdict, I thought now would be a good time to spit a mouthful of kerosene on that fun little fire. I was just reading an article on how people in general don’t seem to have a whole lot of “race empathy”. This isn’t so much empathizing with a particular racial demographic on a whole, but having the ability to put oneself in the position of someone of a different race, especially when controversy arises. My personal experience, however, is that trans people seem to be way better than average at this. Let’s talk about that today because let’s face it, we’ll grasp at any straws to feel a little better about ourselves.

I’ll get the inevitable disclaimer over quickly. Lord knows if I don’t, there will be comments about isolated trans people who are real dingleberries when it comes to bigotry. Every demographic has members we all kind of wish identified as something else, but ignorance and prejudice know no boundaries. I’m also going to throw in the disclaimer that “race” itself doesn’t even truly exist, but instead is dubious classification system based on superficial external characteristics with extremely fuzzy boundaries. Nevertheless, people created this system and insist on treating it as if it’s real, so it exists by common consensus, much like we all agree that Jennifer Aniston is  good actress, even though she always plays ‘Rachel’.

In my time so far with both the local and global trans communities, I have not yet encountered any racial insensitivity. For the most part, race, religion, national origin, social status and education level do not seem to be factors by which people tend to differentiate themselves. While I have heard that the experience of being African-American and trans tends to be somewhat more difficult, the data generally supports this, so the discussion is simply about a real situation and not a point of divisiveness. Why is that?

My own theory, and you all knew I had one, is that when something so core as gender is under question in someone’s mind, the other ways in which we categorize ourselves seems pretty unimportant and fade into the background static. Living in Buffalo, I’ve come to notice that the large Italian population here has a habit of almost immediately working it into the conversation that they are Italian under the supposition that being named Rocco Scaloppini and wearing a ‘Viva Italia!’ tee shirt wasn’t enough. While there are trans people I have met who may be Italian, or even ethnic Tajik, which would be interesting because few outside central Asia have heard of them, no one has bothered to identify themselves as such. We have more important matters to discuss, like where someone else is having electrified needles shoved into their facial follicles and how much it hurts.

On the flip side of that, and reinforcing this concept, is that people who encounter us generally have no interest in our rich Tajik heritage. All they are interested in is what gender we are supposed to be and possibly some of the juicy details about what we are contemplating doing to ourselves down there. Like there aren’t enough YouTube videos on the subject. While we wish people would treat us ‘normally’, being asked ethnic, religious or other cultural based questions doesn’t seem to be high on our list of priorities. It seems like fluff and doesn’t seem to matter much.

I see it all as being a function of Maslow’s hierarchy pyramid, which is taught and immediately forgotten by everyone who took a social sciences class or was subjected to corporate management training. To sum it up, you have to take care of the big shit at the bottom first before really giving a flying canoodle about the stuff above until that is sorted out. In Maslow’s version, it’s your basic food, clothing, shelter, and iPhone, before moving up to ‘nice to have’s’ like love, friendship, more things that start with ‘i’, and spirituality, etc. On ours, gender is at the base and everything else is built on that, but seriously, who has the energy to really give a toss? Trying to put that foundation down is so onerous, many of us are comfortable living in a single level and think the view is just fine.

It would be interesting to know what the outcomes of racially charged trials like Zimmerman or OJ would have been had the chosen a color indifferent trans jury. We don’t care what your ethic/ cultural/ social/ religious identification is, unless it matters to you and you want to talk about it, and then we are happy to listen.

Now, just for fun, some comment themes I would imagine this would generate were this site regularly visited by trolls:

1. I’m inherently racist for even bringing this up because if I truly didn’t care, it would not have occurred to me.

2. I protesteth too loudly, covering for a malicious and hate filled heart.

3. Angry Italians, identifying themselves as such, who claim they never do that.

4. Ethnic Tajiks, just happy to finally get a shout out.

5. People attempting to convince that ethnicity does matter and why, falling back on the standard “everyone knows that [blank] really just want [something negative]”.

6. Something negative to balance out a bit of niceness regarding trans culture, such as our evil patriarchal conspiracy to subjugate women by volunteering to be treated like shit.

7. Advertisements for cheap, generic Viagra proving spammers really do have a sense of humor.

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About michellelianna

I'm a transgender woman now in the maintenance stages of transition having all the electrolysis and surgery one can reasonably be expected to undertake. While busy exploring my new world, I took to blogging about it with dubiously popular results. I don't have quite as much to say as I used to, but I'm not quite done yet either.

12 responses »

  1. burn him at the stake CCC

    Reply
  2. I think it is nearly impossible to be white in the USA and not be racist. The question is what do you do with it. I didn’t expect a white man to be convicted of murdering a black kid; particularly with the Florida law about self defense. It is still an outrage, look at CeCe McDonald’s case – just as outrageous but without the national rioting and fanfare.

    Reply
    • nobody you know

      The only place race entered into the Florida prosecution was the pressure to have the State’s attorney usurp the stage after local prosecutors decided there was insufficient evidence to support a prosecution. That pressure was brought by a demographic that just absolutely insisted that a Hispanic male that they claimed was white by virtue of his last name not being Hispanic in origin must have had nothing but animus in the firing of a single shot that culminated in a fatality. The pressure was ramrodded by the race-baiters extraordinaire, namely Sharpton and Jackson et al.

      But after clamoring for a trial and the due process it entails, they now decide that they cannot abide by the verdict of the jury system.

      Florida and McDonald are not even remotely comparable. The McDonald offense reports clearly indicated that McDonald CHOSE to cross the street to engage the individuals instead of seeking safer ground. In Florida, Zimmerman had retreated before being attacked and having to defend himself. That was what the evidence offered by the State ultimately proved to the finders of fact (that would be the jury).

      Florida is a case of a death that is unfortunate but is not a murder nor was it even manslaughter. The Trayvon supporters need to recognize that and get over themselves.

      Reply
      • Congratulations on successfully parroting all the racist talking points. Meanwhile, in the real world, if Martin had been anyone other than a black male we would have been talking about his right to defend himself against the gun wielding psycho that was chasing him, not the right of the gun wielding psycho to bait and murder.

        Reply
        • nobody you know

          Pro-tip: They are not ‘talking points’ when the commentary is based upon evidence offered to a jury in accordance with the Rules of Evidence for the jurisdiction in which the proceedings were conducted.

          Oh, and if Martin had not been black, nobody would have ever heard about Martin OR Zimmerman and there never would have been a prosecution because the original decision of local prosecutors would never have been second-guessed.

        • Good comment Auntie! The main takeaway from my point of view, and race totally aside, is that a 17 year old kid was followed and harassed by a stranger, reacted (I don’t know why this is surprising because I would also be scared if someone was following and harassing me in the dark, probably leading to me pepper spraying them) like a 17 year old kid, and died for it.

          Again, a 17 year old kid overreacted to someone he didn’t know who seemed to mean him harm. The race of either ultimately doesn’t matter. A grown man took advantage of a poorly thought out law, decided to play policeman and a child died.

          For all the defense-serving well painted portraits of Trayvon as a thug or a threat to society, he was not considered by law old enough to vote, serve in the military, sign a contract, rent a car, or in my state even buy a pack of sparklers. The reason for that is that he is considered a child and not necessarily of sound judgment. Because he reacted to a threatening situation like a 17 year old boy (or 28 year old man, or 42 year old woman) might, he died because someone armed and having little or no training felt the need to use deadly force in a situation he instigated.

          In any situation, regardless of race, where gross misjudgment and inappropriate reaction are displayed by both parties, who should be held accountable; the adult or the minor? Apparently the kid. Does this not seem like a problem?

        • You’re right “nobody”, if an all white southern jury said the black guy deserved to be murdered, it must be true. Just ask Medgar Evers.

  3. Awesome……..Just Awesome Share.I love it.Looking forward for more.Alex,Thanks.

    Reply
  4. I am your basic CD. As a big guy I do not harbor any thoughts that my presentation, no matter how neat, stylish and well put together it may be, will even ‘fool some of the people some of the time”.

    Some of my favorite ‘safe’ places to go are LGBT bars where I have been accepted as just another barfly. I have always enjoyed bar talk, regardless of my presentation. When hanging out and talking in bars, especially since I am not there looking to hook up or meet someone, I am comfortable getting involved on discussions on all topics, including politics and religion. I think that some of the patrons in the GLBT bars tend to be a bit surprised to have this friendly crossdresser make logical and cogent arguments from a right sided, libertarian, republican perspective. I support our Constitution, limited government, inalienable rights, endowed by our creator. I believe in religion and I question why there seems to be so much intolerance of religious people or libertarian politics by people who feel that because they are LGBT that they should follow a left leaning political party. It is fun to open their eyes and minds about political and religious issues. I surmise that my views are better accepted because I am dressed. Perhaps no one wants to offend a TG.

    I suspect that if I had the same conversations while presenting as a guy I would be viewed differently than when I am dressed. It is an interesting experience as people come equipped with preconceived expectations as to what someone may think based on their appearance.

    Pat

    Reply
  5. Can’t get behind you here michellelianna! There’s tonnes of racism in trans* scenes. I’ve perpetrated some of it – while thinking myself to be the good one. I think stuff like this adds to it by denying it. It’s real – trans* women of color have talked about it time and time again. It’s good to believe that one point of commonality, especially a point of oppression, draws us all together – but remember that this is exactly the thing that cissexual white women say when they claim that they can’t be racist because all women are united by a common oppression. That one’s bogus – so’s this!

    Reply

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