Move over Rachel Dolezal, there’s a new “transracial” in town!
Adam Wheeler, who now goes as Ja Du, considers himself to be from the Philippines and drives around in a Tuk Tuk in Tampa – a vehicle used for public transit in the country.
‘Whenever I’m around the music, around the food, I feel like I’m in my own skin,’ he 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.’
‘Ja Du’ has embraced most aspects of the adopted culture that he is attempting to adopt as his own. ‘My family knows about my transsexuality but they don’t know anything about this,’ said Ja Du who did not elaborate.
Ja Du has even created a Facebook page and community for other people who believe that they are not the race that they have lived with.
When pressed about cultural appropriation, or the adopting of other cultures and claiming them as their own, he replied: ‘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.’
Psychologist Dr. Stacey Scheckner wants to make sure that the intention behind the choice to be a different race is a genuine one but she feels it’s okay if it doesn’t bring harm.
‘If someone feels that they feel at home with a certain religion, a certain race, a certain culture, I think that if that’s who they really feel inside life is about finding out who you are. The more knowledge you have of yourself, the happier you can be,’ she said. ‘And, as long as it’s not hurting yourself or anyone else, I don’t see a problem with that.’
Rachel Dolezal was an infamous case in the transracial discussion as of late. She was the former president of the Spokane, Washington, chapter of NAACP but when it was revealed that she was a white woman, she was forced to step down.
She had been altering her hair and darkening her skin with makeup to present herself as a blacker woman.