Sunday, November 19, 2017

DUTERTE EFFECT? | An American from New Orleans claims to be a Filipino


A transgender from New Orleans named Ja Du claims to be transracial and identifies himself as a Filipino.
Ja Du | Screengrab from Travis Kraft video

According to a report, Ja Du, who grew up loving both the Filipino food and culture, was born as Adam Wheeler. He loved the pinoy food and culture so much that apart from identifying himself as one, he even went to as far as driving a ‘purple motorized rickshaw Du called a Tuk Tuk (an Asian-derived vehicle used for public transit in the Philippines)’.

“Whenever I’m around the music, around the food, I feel like I’m in my own skin,” Du said to WTSP.

“I’d watch the history channel sometimes for hours, you know, whenever it came to that and, you know, nothing else intrigued me more but things about Filipino culture”, said the transracial American.

Transracial, a state of mind that means you are born one race but you identify yourself with another, is a small, but growing, community.

He told the Huffington Post, “I think things that made no sense to most people make sense to us on an individual level in almost every person, like a swelling feeling you feel when you listen to dramatic music” adding “It’s all sound and vibration but something in it relates to your soul on such a subconscious level that you connect with it, and [that’s] how I feel about the Filipino culture”.

On the other hand, many of the Filipino-American community are not pleased with what Du said, saying that she overlooks the hundreds of years of struggle Filipinos have endured, causing some to express outrage at Du.

An executive committee member of the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project, Ben de Guzman, told the Huffington Post that “For Filipinos, who don’t have the luxury of making the decision to identify as another race in a society where whiteness as a default places real constraints about how people of color can decide to move in the world, this smacks of white privilege in the worst way”, adding that some of Du’s references are not ‘authentic’.

Ben de Guzman said Filipinos usually refer to motorized rickshaws as “trisikels” not “Tuk Tuks” as the latter is a description used more commonly not by the Filipinos, but by the Taiwanese.

Jackie Fernandez, a Filipino-American journalist, said Du’s comments highlight the “thin line between cultural appreciation and appropriation being crossed” in a video commentary.

She said “Ja Du says he feels like himself when he’s around Filipino food and music and that is fabulous, but to then say you are that race is both unrealistic and problematic”.

Being Filipino means enduring racism, discrimination and micro-aggressions all the time”, the journalist continued.

Report says ‘Du hasn't come out to family members as transracial, believing they will laugh at the notion of a different ethnicity’.

The same mentioned that “I believe people will [take advantage] just like other people have taken advantage of their identity to get their way, but the difference between me and them...is that I don’t want that. I think that we all have the freedoms to pursue happiness in our own ways".

Source: Foxnews


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