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A Case for Racial Fluidity

Updated: Sep 26, 2020

The genetic differences between males and females is remarkable. Males have an X and Y chromosome, while females have two X chromosomes, one of which remains mostly inactive.

But not always according to a study titled, “X-inactivation profile reveals extensive variability in X-linked gene expression in females,” by Laura Carrel, Ph.D., assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, Penn State College of Medicine, and published in the journal Nature, March 17, 2005. A reader of the study offered a light-hearted comment suggesting that this might explain why men find women hard to understand. The X chromosome has a larger instruction manual (X chromosomes have over 1000 genes while the Y chromosome has just 45), and then you add another copy- well?

I wish it could be so simple. But the differences have just begun. When scientists study the 20,000 different genes in both men and women, they found 6500 genetic differences. These differences relate to body hair, muscle and fat compositions, the uptake of calcium and when, mammary glands, the ability to lactate, and why more men contract Parkinson’s disease than women. It’s all very complicated. The more stirring and tasting of our genetic stew we do, the biological differences between men and women remain undeniable.

Recently, a cis-gender individual with a national TV audience chastised his viewers for staging elaborate gender reveal parties (if you’re unfamiliar with what a gender reveal party is, click here). He suggested waiting until the child was old enough to ‘self identify’ as to which gender they were and then have a gender reveal party. Once identified, the proud parents could then name their little bundle with a sex appropriate name. Until then, call your little sweetheart anything but Dick or Sally and only let them play with gender-neutral toys and keep them away from the color blue and pink and old-school grandpa’s.

“And finally, in our time a beard is the one thing that a woman cannot do better than a man, or if she can her success is assured only in a circus.”

John Steinbeck

This funny, socially fashionable, and intelligent man likely formed his somewhat nuanced opinion from learned folks suggesting that gender is less formed by genetic, biological differences than by societal expectations. And hence- gender is a social construct. In other words, based on one’s genitalia, society constructs a set of rules to live by. Girls will act this way, and boys will act that way. That is the primary determinate of the gender of an individual.

Gender as a 'social construct' has its roots in feminism. Judith Butler, a social theorist and author of ‘Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity,’ is perhaps the leading protagonist that gender is fluid and more a function of social norms than biological differences. Her theories are widely read in academic circles and have gained traction beyond the campus, especially in the LGBTQ community, where she is an activist and an icon.

There is substantial solace in the theory that gender is a social construct. It offers a solid argument for our varied sexual orientations. It sympathetically attempts to normalize transgender dysphoria. It does this by subjugating biological genetics to virtually no role.

These gender theories also play well in our grievance culture today. It is near impossible to blame gender aberrations to biological genetics. Our genes are unique, inherited, and firmly fixed despite the imperfections. It is much easier to find sympathy for our culture's dysfunction and the injustice of societal expectations. Then we can blame whole systems and use words like ‘institutional’ and ‘systemic’ injustice when claiming our victim status.

It also plays well with those who pursue a universal utopian ideal — a collectivist world of homogeneity where there is an equality of outcome instead of equality of effort. This utopian dream is easier to imagine when genetic variability is discounted. Physical beauty and intelligence and athleticism, the stuff that genetics largely contributes to, can then be snubbed out to benefit those who think themselves average but more deserving. Then life might become a bit more just with one last exception- death. It, too, is complicated by our genetics.

Despite the genetic differences between men and women, we are more similar than not. That can also be said about the differences between the races where the genetic variables are fewer than between the sexes.

Today, an online search will send you mostly to sites that discourage the idea of genetic differences between the races. I suppose that is a politically sensitive position to take considering the times. But even the obvious such as skin pigmentation is controlled by one’s genetics. Everyone one of us has just two genes that control the degree of pigmentation and they’re called MFSD12 and SLC24A5 gene. Other differences include genetic variabilities for hair, a tendency toward certain diseases and resistance to others, etc.

A growing number of folks, possibly triggered into guilt by the sight of legitimate injustices or from the damage to the human psyche from living a lie, have fessed up to faking their racial identity — mostly young white women who have taken on a black woman persona and lived a less than authentic life. The most notorious was a white woman who claimed Native American ancestry. When she attempted to prove she was, the blood test proved she wasn’t, but by then, she had landed her plum job at an Ivy League school and became a US Senator before running for president.

With the exception of the Senator, it appears that these posers, fakers, racial identity appropriators are losing their jobs or resigning. They are being canceled. Why? If one can identify as a gender opposite of what the genitalia and genetic evidence suggest, why can we not choose which race we identify with? If your genes should not dictate your gender, then why should it dictate your race? That is the benefit of gender fluidity.

During her tearful mea-culpa and return to her original race, one of the contrite attempted to justify her behavior by writing, “perception is not reality” and “race is not flat” but a “social construct rife with contradictions.” Ah… so that’s how it works.

For those who argue gender is not and should not be a result of biological genetics, then neither should one’s racial identity. These gender theories can easily be adopted by those who put forth racial theories offering all the same benefits. Soon, those who wept in shame for their attempt to claim inclusion in another race will rise up, fist held high, and claim they were just ahead of their time.

I try to imagine taking out my yet-to-be-named grandson for a birthday ice cream cone. Should I ask him what team he’s going to play for?

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