Why is 'transracial' trending on Twitter? Internet erupts in fury over bizarre 'transphobic trolls'
A bizarre trend with the hashtag #transracial has surfaced on Twitter in the recent few hours, with trolls adding weightage to it with offensive tweets and reactions. At a time when America is experiencing the socio-political revolution around the Black Lives Matter movement, race is already a sensitive topic.
Internet trolls, many of whom are reportedly white supremacists, have taken this opportunity to float the controversial trend and assert racist comments and words around it. Another controversial aspect is that some users are correlating transracial with transgender identity, which in itself stands to undermine the struggles of the transgender community.
What is transracial?
Historically, ‘transracial’ was the term used to refer to parents who adopted a child belonging to a different race than them. However, a new usage of the term first made headlines in 2015, when Nkechi Amare Diallo (formerly Rachel Dolezal), a white woman by birth, self-assumed her racial identity as Black. At that time, she was the acting president of the Spokane chapter of NAACP.
Her strange decision was not welcomed warmly by most, as people called out her ‘dishonesty about her race’. Born to white parents, Dolezal was not Black if her genetic ancestry is to be considered. Later, the ‘transracial’ identity was picked up by several individuals, most of whom were women and men of white ancestry, who self-identified as Black. German model Martina Big went to the extent of administering tanning injections to herself to darken her skin and hair and thereby identify as a Black woman.
There are examples of individuals assuming other races like African-American musician Korla Pandit, who was born as John Roland Redd but portrayed himself as an Indian. There is also an isolated instance of Treasure, a Black teenage woman, who appeared on Dr. Phil and claimed that she was white because of the whitish pigmentation of several of her body parts.
Controversy around the term
The primary controversy around the ‘transracial’ term as pointed out by ethnicity experts is that race is not defined simply by one’s skin complexion. Many have pointed out the unique socio-cultural experiences that one has to imbibe from birth to be identified as Black.
Transracial parents have also expressed their disapproval of the new usage of the term, calling it an appropriation of the same.
Another long-standing controversy has been the comparison of transracial with transgender. While it can be argued that both are life choices that should be respected, it must be understood that transgender identities often start with genetic or physiological identification and tend to involve societal struggle. However, transracial identities almost always are not known to involve similar circumstances. But, there are still many factors to be considered and in certain cases, transracial persons do deserve to be accepted and welcomed into their new community.
Here are some of the most eye-grabbing tweets around the #transracial hashtag found on the internet today: An user blatantly accused transracials of being "transphobic trolls". "After not actually that much research, I can confirm that #transracial is just a bunch of transphobic trolls. Thank you for your time."
After not actually that much research, I can confirm that #transracial is just a bunch of transphobic trolls. Thank you for your time. pic.twitter.com/48mQZiAJsW— aight then (@Bot92951715) January 14, 2021
One user issued a clarification behind the trending hashtag. "The #transracial tag is trending bc a troll acct is using stolen shopped pics of a makeup artist on Instagram. PLEASE do not attack them or their shop, they literally have nothing to do with this." Meanwhile, a Black user tweeted, "I did it guys! If finally white Where is my privileges now #transracial."
Tw// racism , transphobia— Human Dog (@PapaJackX0X0) January 14, 2021
The #transracial tag is trending bc a troll acct is using stolen shopped pics of a makeup artist on Instagram. PLEASE do not attack them or their shop, they literally have nothing to do with this. pic.twitter.com/9nVpaGF9XP
I did it guys! If finally white Where is my privileges now #transracial pic.twitter.com/0nvvOnpIej— Cardi (@vCardii) January 14, 2021