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‘Transracial’ man spurs debate on being Filipino

/ 03:42 PM November 14, 2017

Image: Screen grab via 10News WSTP

An American man raised more than a few eyebrows after he claimed to identify as a Filipino despite being born and raised as a white man in Florida.

On his Facebook support page, Ja Du, formerly known as Adam, says race is a “social construct.”

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The Florida native likens the transracialism movement to that of transgenders; he also identifies as transsexual.

He told 10News WTSP that he feels Filipino because he is “intrigued” with what he has watched in the History Channel. Cultural aspects like Filipino food and music make him feel “like I’m in my own skin.”

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Rightists have jumped on this as an opportunity to shoot down those who belong to the transgender community.

However, many find the man’s claims problematic.

Ja Du stated he has assimilated Filipino culture with a name change and driving a tuk-tuk (rickshaw)—but neither are Filipino to begin with.

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The term “tuk-tuk” is used in Thailand; in the Philippines, the equivalent is a tricycle.

On his name change, a Twitter user noted he should have chosen something like “Jun-Jun.”

Image: Screen grab via Twitter

Proof of his identity could perhaps be through an exam, suggested another:

Image: Screen grab via Twitter

On a more serious note, a netizen pointed out that he was still asserting his white privilege—despite his Facebook page claiming that he wanted to “undo white men.”

Image: Screen grab via Twitter

“You cannot be a race when you don’t go through the oppression and hardship that comes with it,” wrote the Twitter user.

Others further illustrated that being Filipino—or identifying as any other race for that matter—was much more than being interested in a culture.

Image: Screen grab via Twitter

According to the website Liv Science, race and ethnicity have different definitions. Race refers to the physical attributes based on genetics, such as skin color.

Ethnicity refers to the “culture of people in a given geographic region, including their language, heritage, religion, and customs. To be a member of an ethnic group is to conform to some or all of those practices.”

“Transracials” who have gone public have thus far been Caucasian at birth.

A high-profile case is that of Rachel Dolezal who drew criticism when she changed her white skin to brown and turned her blonde hair into black curls. She maintains that she identifies as African-American. /ra

RELATED STORY:

‘Black’ African-American activist quits group over race issue

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