The Honking Goose

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Is race a social construct and is it okay for people to self-identify?

This is a food-for-thought question.

five people with different physical characteristics

Is race a social construct? Is it okay for people to self-identify as a race that is not represented in their genetics?

The obvious example is the well-known case of Rachel Dolezal, a woman born to white parents, who chose to identify as black and even headed up the Spokane chapter of the NAACP.

There has been a lot of focus, in mainstream media lately, on the right of people to identify with a gender other than the one they were born into, or assigned, at birth. This discussion naturally leads us to think about other potential social constructs where people might chose to self-identify, such as race.

Is that a fair comparison? Will self-identification potentially lead to other issues that could threaten equal rights? Should we give people free rein to identify how they choose? How about when they are competing against others, for example, in the job market? What do you think?

13 comments on “Is race a social construct and is it okay for people to self-identify?

  1. thesociologicalmail
    November 2, 2017

    Self Identification can be dangerous. Rachel went to university posing as a black person, she then also went into employment posing as a black person. This distorted statistics, let alone it is fairly one-sided. Could a woman with a high level of melanin identify as white and not be ridiculed?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. frederick anderson
    July 13, 2017

    I’m in danger with this one, because my instinctive answers would certainly offend the prevailing weight of opinion. It does occur to me that those who claim gender issues seem incredibly noisy and demanding about it, as though their case has peculiar merits that demand special priveleges.
    I am always wary of determined self-publicists, and that is a trait that seems to go with the territory; and no, we can’t select our choice of ethnicity. There are big social disparities to consider, and if we ignore these we are guilty of fraud.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thehonkinggoose
      July 14, 2017

      My guess is that it is actually a small number of the total people with gender issues who are vocally seeking a public platform. But those who are, are certainly being given an enormous platform in the public sphere of discussion right.

      I’m all for equal rights for everyone and I certainly don’t care which bathroom they choose to use, I’d rather not know. I also don’t care if people want to live as a gender that doesn’t match their sex or change their own gender or sex. That is not my business, to each their own. I would prefer to not to discuss it. Everyone should have equal rights, end of story, can we please move on? That’s what I think.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. NicoLite Великий
    July 12, 2017

    Try and stop anyone from identifying as anything. I sometimes identify myself as an animal, and sometines even as a creature of legend. Actually I believe that if more people broke out of their caged identities, they’d be more empathetic towards the beings they identify as, and hate less

    Liked by 1 person

  4. joey
    July 8, 2017

    I wonder similarly. I do. I don’t have the answers though, which is why I keep wondering.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Midwestern Plant Girl
    July 8, 2017

    Sooner or later we will all be the same color. Then what will we argue about?

    Liked by 1 person

    • thehonkinggoose
      July 9, 2017

      No doubt we’ll find something. I agree though, the way things are headed, before too long most people will be a mix of many different ancestries.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. latskojerry
    July 8, 2017

    No, this is not the same as gender. We are what we are and don’t have any say in the matter other than to not make a big deal out of it one way or the other. Many people are not aware of who their ancestors are. I think that, if we teach our children that people are people, then the rest of it will just be an interesting curiosity. We can have pride in our ancestry without denigrating people from somewhere else.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thehonkinggoose
      July 9, 2017

      I agree, it’s not the same as gender. If there are similarities it would be more like getting a sex-change operation. Changing who one is physically and then identifying as that new category. Although I don’t think any physical changes would really be necessary for someone to self-identify as a different race.


  7. MrJohnson
    July 8, 2017

    I identify as a person with a disability. Give me money.

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on July 8, 2017 by in Culture and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .
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