Sunday, April 10, 2011

"Betraying" Your Race

In Thursday's class we talked about Charles Mill's book, "Blackness Visible" and the "Oreo" case study. We talked about the various ways to determine one's race. We spoke about first, Bodily Appearance in terms of how someone looks on the outside for example hair, skin color, etc. We also talked about the last way of determining a race through self-identification, which meant how someone described oneself. In class we got into somewhat of a debate between one who is African American and says that they are white and a transgender. In the case study of the African American who tells people that he or she is white, people spoke out saying that in a way this was going against and "betraying" their African American race. In a case of a woman trying to be a man, there is something biological attached so one would say that this is a different issue. How are these situations similar or different? We socially have attached a racial signifier of being black to a African American trying who claims they are white, and we do the same to a woman who says that she wants to be a man. In a way the situation of the woman wanting to be a man wouldn't be the same because she wouldn't really be upsetting the female population of the world? What are your thoughts on the comparisons of these two situations?


  1. We talked about it in class, I think that race is such a stronger topic and has been constantly made aware of by society, that the Oreo case upsets a lot more people than a woman trying to be a man. I don't necessarily think that someone who chooses to be white or hand out with majority of white people is betraying their race, but I have been surrounded by diversity my whole life, in other cases, black is all is known and I think that many people do see it as betrayal. No one owes their race anything and I think this is a lesson that blacks still haven't learned.

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  3. I think another problem with admitting that one can, in a sense, betray their race is that it implies the anthropological notion of race. If the main claim concerning race betrayal is that they are losing their connection to their ancestors, then that implies an anthropological connection. Is this the main claim made by those who think one can betray a race?


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