July 21st, 2012



I came across the term "transethnicity" in a ... fairly hostile post, actually.  My first thought, before I looked at the post, was "Oh, so that has a name, good term for it."  Of course it's possible for someone to feel misplaced with regards to any aspect of their body -- transgender is probably the best known, but there's also species dysphoria among Otherkin, and so forth.

I've seen transethnicity most in people of mixed heritage, where the visually prevailing racial traits clash with the individual's internal identity and/or cultural upbringing.  Make no mistake: this can be just as devastating and potentially fatal as any other disconnect.  It's not okay to make fun of.  The fact that some people practice cultural misappropriation in ways that look vaguely similar does not make this problem any less real or harmful, just as people's occasional mocking crossovers do not make the transgender thing any less so.

It shows up in some instances more than others, partly for cultural reasons and partly for genetic ones.  Some traits are just more persistent than others.  One of the more memorable examples I remember is from an Australian documentary about the indigenous people there, in which a man described himself as, "I'm a blackfella in a whitefella's body."  And he was; you could just barely see the aboriginal ancestry he had, but there was more of it in his family tree than really showed.  For some reason that's fairly common; the Australian features seem to fade quickly when mixed with other gene pools, whereas some others like African are more persistent.  It's popped up in other references.  That bothers some of the mixed-race descendants.  Then there are cultural factors like the African-American tussle over whether someone is "black enough."  There are several Native American prophecies about people being reincarnated from tribal to other cultures, sometimes European but other times global in scope, with their original tribal affinity intact.   That hasn't seemed to lessen the hate-on much at all.  The issue of "passing" appears in most if not all mixed-race contexts.  Many hints or bolder statements about this sort of thing appear in various branches of ethnic literature, mostly by mixed-race writers.  So people can be of any appearance, and feel that it doesn't fit who they really are.

From what I've seen, tolerance of transethnicity approaches zero, much like transgender.  People will defend those lines literally to the death.  Which is stupid, because race doesn't even have as much biological backing as sex does; most of it is essentially cosmetic and doesn't correlate with major population division factors.  Go figure.  But in any case: if someone feels that their soul and their body don't match up, that tends to be damaging.  Making it worse by picking on them is not a decent thing to do, nor does it particularly help settle the troubled waters of race relations.  It's just a nasty mess that hardly anyone has put any effort into figuring out how to relieve.

[EDIT 7/22/12]  Happily my audience seems to be saner on this topic than other folks discussing it.  (You are so awesome.)  Here is a post that has spun off into another blog:
"Once Again" by marina_bonomi


Crowdfunding Creative Jam

The Crowdfunding Creative Jam is open on Dreamwidth and LiveJournal.  The July theme is "women in sensible armor." Please drop by and leave prompts, or claim prompts for your inspiration.  I've got plenty of poetic series that fit this, if you want to use those.

What I've Written

"An Eyeful of Fire" -- a paranormal private detective, in her wheelchair and body armor, against a djinn.  Place your bets.

Buying Characters

So Dreamworks is buying a bunch of cartoon characters.  Cool.  I hope they do great things with that stuff.

But it gave me a new idea for Fun Things To Do With Entirely Too Much Money.  Buy some awesome character(s) and then release the material to the public domain.  Here, everybody, go make new stuff we'll all enjoy, without fear of lawsuit.  Then maybe challenge some of the major holders to release a character or two.

Poem: "Dead Soldiers on Parade"

This poem belongs to the series One God's Story of Mid-Life Crisis, which you can explore further on the Serial Poetry page.  It came out of discussions following the first poem, "Good Help Is Hard To Find."  It has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette.

Warning: This series deals with Shaeth, former God of Evil; and his new friend Trobby, a drunk.  Their problem-solving skills are thus not up to conventional standards, but they're trying real hard, so be patient with them while they flail their way toward functionality.

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Wildlife at Fieldhaven

The birds are still using the dish of water that I set out.  Also today I saw three kestrels wheeling and diving above our yard, calling klee-klee-klee  at each other.  There were a couple dozen eastern tailed-blue butterflies puddling in the damp mud where I poured water this morning.  I'm pleased to see the critters appreciating my efforts.