Department of Philosophy
A Defense of Transracialism
In this paper, I take up the case of former NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) chapter head Rachel Dolezal and her attempted transition from a white to black racial identity. This case gained popularity at the same time that Caitlyn (formerly Bruce) Jenner graced the cover of Vanity Fair, signaling a growing acceptance of transgender identity. Yet criticisms of Dolezal for misrepresenting her true race indicate a widespread social perception that it is neither possible nor permissible to change one’s race the way it might be to change one’s sex. Against this view, I suggest that the considerations that render transgenderism acceptable apply to transracialism.