Transracial Jesus

Transracial Jesus June 17, 2015

Jesus identifies as white

As a New Testament scholar who has blogged about Rachel Dolezal, racism, and the appearance of Jesus, I found this amusing – not least because the father who spills the beans is not Joseph, from whom Jesus would have inherited half of his Middle Eastern characteristics, but God.

It is from Don Asmussen’s Bad Reporter comic strip. HT Jerry Coyne.

There actually appears to be a religious dimension to the Rachel Dolezal case, with blogger Libby Anne suggesting that her parents broke the story to try to deflect attention from abuse accusations involving their family.


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  • John MacDonald

    Someone who was not born “black” has every right to say that “black” is his or her true racial identity in the same way that a transgender person can say that his or her true gender identity is the opposite of the one he or she was born with.

    • One problem with that in this case is that the sincerity of the claim to be “transracial” is pretty dubious in the case of Dolezal, since it is coming only after the exposure of a clear lie about what her actual ancestry was, a lie which might not be entirely unrelated to her wanting to hold a position in an advocacy group.

      Also I find it difficult to understand exactly what “transracial” is supposed to mean without it implying some pretty dubious ideas about race. The claim to feel as if one is a different gender is at least comprehensible, and the idea of a neurological or hormonal cause for that is pretty plausible. I don’t see how somebody can “feel black” rather than “feeling white”, since I don’t know what the difference between those two feelings is supposed to be.

      • John MacDonald

        She seemed honest enough about identifying with what she understood to be “Black Culture.” Did you see her interview on “The Today Show” ?

        • I’ve watched it since you replied, but it doesn’t really answer my questions. I can’t see any real difference between “identifying as black” and just liking and admiring black culture. She might genuinely like the idea of being black, and genuinely want to be a part of that culture, but that’s not the same as actually being black.

          • John MacDonald

            By analogy, a transgender person who was born male but identifies as female is called a woman – at least in polite society. She isn’t genetically female, but still female none the less. In the same way, the white woman under discussion considers herself black, so she is indeed black (even though she isn’t genetically black).
            At least that is what I think the liberal position would be on the matter anyway.

          • The distinction, as I see it, is that the difference between male and female is more than a matter of culture, while the difference between races is not. I can think of ways that a pale-skinned person might be a part of black culture (such as the adoption example I gave above), but that doesn’t seem to apply in the case of Dolezal. Once you take away appearance, ancestry and cultural history, what differences remain between black and white people?

            To put it another way: it’s perfectly reasonable to me to imagine putting a transgender woman in an MRI machine and finding some structure in the brain that is more like that in a cisgender woman than in a cisgender man. I can imagine there being some neurological or hormonal difference between males and females that might account for how a person could have a “female brain” in a male body, or vice-versa. But there’s no difference between a “black brain” and a “white brain”.

          • John MacDonald

            I think it’s primarily about identity, and only in a secondary fashion about culture and genetics. If it is part of my identity that I’m a woman, then I’m a woman. If it is part of my identity that I’m black, then I’m black. It’s whatever you believe about yourself that makes up your personal identity about who and what you are.

          • zigthenzag

            In theory I agree with you, but one problem with this is that a person could “be black” — enjoy the benefits of black culture — without enduring the hardships and trials of the black experience. Basically a matter of having one’s cake and eating it too. I don’t know how those in the African-American community would see the “trans-racial” idea but I imagine they would not think much of it.

          • John MacDonald

            Well, I think a good modern liberal point of view is to be Pro Choice, Pro gay marriage, and Pro whatever sanctifies the right of the individual to express whatever self-identity is in their hearts as long as they don’t harm others in doing so. I imagine someone in the African American community would agree with my point of view if they are liberal, and would be less likely to agree with me if they are conservative. I’m a secular humanist, so I tend to lean toward a liberal interpretation of human rights.

          • zigthenzag

            “I imagine someone in the African American community would agree with my point of view if they are liberal, and would be less likely to agree with me if they are conservative.” That seems rather simplistic. And you ignored my point, as you ignored it being made by others, that to be Black in America is to be part of an ethnic group that has endured centuries of hardship and discrimination. For a white person to be able to just decide to be black is going to rub some the wrong way, regardless of their political affiliation.

          • John MacDonald

            You are forgetting the transsexual analogy. Likewise with a White person claiming to be Black, to be a woman in America is to be part of a gender group that has endured centuries of hardship and discrimination. Does this mean women should be offended when a man wants to become a woman?

          • Trans women aren’t and were never men, though, just women who were assumed to be men based on their bodies – which is the whole definition of being transgender. Trans women generally do not experience the world in a same way as their non-trans male counterparts because of their gender dysphoria, and many of them in fact internalise cultural ideals about women and are personally affected by them. While they might still be shielded from overt discrimination while still presenting as male, upon transitioning and being seen as women, they would then also get treated the same way as other women, with the added risk of more discrimination and potential violence if someone were to discover they are trans.

            More and more of them are also transitioning earlier – some as young as 4 – and have thus lived practically all their lives as girls and women, making any difference negligible.

          • John MacDonald

            Many trans women fully believed they were men when they were younger, and never had an idea that they wanted to be women until they got older.

          • Sure, but it’s similar to how as many gay men fully believed they were straight, because they didn’t know better. There was a pretty eye opening thread a while back in which several trans women shared that they’d always assumed all men secretly wanted to be women, but that they just sucked it up and dealt with it; and they thought their gender dysphoria was thus a normal part of being a man.

      • R Vogel

        ‘…since I don’t know what the difference between those two feelings is supposed to be.’

        I would not question your own feeling, but I would think a large number of biracial people, who choose to identify one way or the other, would disagree. [Interesting piece I found through the Rhetoric Race & Religion blog http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rita-nakashima-brock-ph-d/caitlin-jenner-rachel-dol_b_7574522.html%5D

        ‘since it is coming only after the exposure of a clear lie about what her actual ancestry was’

        How many transgender people kept their birth sex or their transgenderism (is that correct?) secret because of fear of reprisal? Does that invalidate their experience?

        • The biracial phenomenon looks like something entirely different to me. I can understand, for example, how a white person raised by black parents, and growing up among mainly black peers, could reasonably consider themselves part of the black community or even think of themselves as being black. It’s simply a case of not looking like the average member of the community you grew up in. Or a person with mixed ancestry might think of themselves as part of the race of either parent, or a member of both races.

          These sort of considerations don’t seem to obviously apply to Dolezal; she’s not black by ancestry, or adoption, or the culture she was raised in. She seems to be claiming to just have some sort of internal sense of being black, separate from culture or ancestry, which implies some sort of inherent internal difference between black and white people that I don’t think exists.

          How many transgender people kept their birth sex or their transgenderism (is that correct?) secret because of fear of reprisal? Does that invalidate their experience?

          No, but the circumstances are generally pretty different to this case (as in, no obvious motivation for deception). There’s plenty of evidence that transgender people at least exist. and it’s a lot more comprehensible (to me at least) that they do exist; men and women are different enough that I can understand the idea of having the brain or mind of one gender while being anatomically the other.

          • R Vogel

            Thanks for the thoughtful response. Your second paragraph seems to contain a contradiction unless I am reading it incorrectly. Either there is a difference, attributed to ancestry, adoption or culture, or there is not. You seem to say it both ways here. If there is not a difference shouldn’t she be free to identify however she wants, if there is a difference where does that difference lie? Please correct me if I am misstating.

            I was confused by the ‘no obvious motivation for deception.’ To whom is this referring? I’m not sure I understood the point.

            If I can digress for a moment, I have been reading a lot of the literature about transgenderism and I am a bit confused, and, to be quite frank, slightly concerned about the direction some of the discussion is taking. As Elinor Burkett wrote in her NY Times piece ‘What Makes A Woman?’ feminists have been fighting for more than half a century to dispel the notion that men and women have any meaningful difference in their brains. As she noted, when Harvard University President made such a suggestion he was loudly criticized, when Caitlin Jenner says it everyone nods. It seems to me to be risking undoing decades of hard work by suddenly attributing gender to your brain biology. I personally don’t need any biological support to believe that people should have the right to present however they want and the sudden reference to biology, which strikes me as mainly an answer to conservative critics, seems dangerous and potentially regressive. If we suddenly morph back into a society that agrees men and women have different brains. what are the potential implications of such? Even for transgender people the implications are troubling. Should we test all transgender people for the biological conditions before we permit transition or alternate gender presentation? I doubt any of us want to go down that road.

          • Thanks for the thoughtful response. Your second paragraph seems to contain a contradiction unless I am reading it incorrectly. Either there is a difference, attributed to ancestry, adoption or culture, or there is not. You seem to say it both ways here. If there is not a difference shouldn’t she be free to identify however she wants, if there is a difference where does that difference lie? Please correct me if I am misstating.

            I’m saying that the differences seem to be limited to the ones I have mentioned, and that those differences do not seem to apply to Dolezal. Obviously she’s not black in terms of describing her ancestry. In terms of culture, I can think of ways in which someone of white appearance could be a part of African-American culture (e.g. the adoption example I gave), but I don’t think someone can simply choose to be a part of that culture without having been raised in it, since part of what defines that culture is the history of black people experiencing the disadvantages of being black without them having the option of choosing not to be seen as black by others.

            I’d recommend this article for describing the issue better than I can: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/godisnotarepublican/2015/06/i-love-being-black-rachel-dolezal-does-not/

            I was confused by the ‘no obvious motivation for deception.’ To whom is this referring? I’m not sure I understood the point.

            I meant that Dolezal wanting to keep a position in the NAACP provides a possible motivation for wanting others to think she is black, while most transgender people do not seem to have a motivation like that.

            On your last paragraph, I don’t agree with the position that there are no meaningful differences between male and female brains. I don’t think this necessarily has any undesirable implications, as long as gender differences are not turned into a prescriptive standard which everyone is expected to abide by regardless of personal inclination, and as long as variation within each gender is recognized. It also allows for transgenderism to be more easily explained (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causes_of_transsexualism#Biological-based_theories).

            The position that there are no meaningful gender differences in the brain would have the disadvantage of reducing transgenderism to a fairly superficial personal preference, which I think would be inaccurate. It would also have a few worrying societal implications; for example the gender ratio of prisoners would have to be seen as an enormous injustice towards men, rather than an expected consequence of sexual dimorphism.

          • R Vogel

            “…but I don’t think someone can simply choose to be a part of that culture without having been raised in it, since part of what defines that culture is the history of black people experiencing the disadvantages of being black without them having the option of choosing not to be seen as black by others.”

            This is where it gets interesting – why is being a woman any different? Elinor Burkett makes the very same argument in her NYT piece(http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/07/opinion/sunday/what-makes-a-woman.html?_r=2). I assume there are cases of bi-racial people raised as white who didn’t find out they are bi-racial until later – if they have not had the experience of being disadvantaged as a black person should they not be considered black? When those disadvantages are finally a thing of the past (and it can’t come too soon), does ‘blackness’ cease to exist?

            “On your last paragraph, I don’t agree with the position that there are no meaningful differences between male and female brains”

            I honestly don’t know the answer, but at least one neuroscientist, referenced in the Burkett article, seems to say otherwise [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/10684179/Men-and-women-do-not-have-different-brains-claims-neuroscientist.html].

            ‘reducing transgenderism to a fairly superficial personal preference’

            And this is where I feel the most concern. If there is no root biological cause, we think that people’s identity formation are superficial? I find that troubling. People spend a lifetime forging their identity, I have a hard time writing that off as supericial. Ask just about anyone who, as an adult, deconverted from their religion. The process of deconstructing and reconstructing their identity is difficult and painful, anything but superficial. I have no problem with the position that some people, for whatever reason, may forge an identity whose gender is different than their biological sex. I don’t need the whys in order to love and support them. I frankly also don’t have a problem if their identity is a different ‘race’ (I hate this term but don’t know what the alternative would be – if you know please help me out). Obviously it becomes a problem in both instances if people are not able or willing to be honest about who they are.

            Perhaps it doesn’t have to be said, but identity is obviously different than costume. Much of the criticism of Dolezal seems to revolve around whether or not she wore blackness as a costume. And I completely agree – playing women or playing black and running back to your privilege whenever it suits you is not the same thing. I don’t know Dolezal and so I can’t make the call if that is what she was dong, so I try to avoid defending her personally. I am more interested in the broader conversation.

            Thanks for the enlightening discussion. It’s a pretty great time to be alive, watching so many of our cherished constructions, that have been used to oppress and victimize people for centuries come down. Perhaps in that light we cannot really have this conversation about race until we deal with the still present systemic racism that pervades our culture (Grumpy Old-Man O’Reilly notwithstanding).

          • I assume there are cases of bi-racial people raised as white who didn’t find out they are bi-racial until later – if they have not had the experience of being disadvantaged as a black person should they not be considered black? When those disadvantages are finally a thing of the past (and it can’t come too soon), does ‘blackness’ cease to exist?

            The cultural meaning of blackness would at least change a lot, just as it has already changed over the past decades and centuries. The biracial person in your example is one demonstration of the variable cultural meaning of being black, and there’s probably a lot of people who would think of him as white (especially in majority-black parts of the world). But while the cultural idea of who is black and who is not can be different, it’s never purely a matter of self-identification unrelated to how someone is seen by others.

            Perhaps it doesn’t have to be said, but identity is obviously different than costume.

            That seems to be the issue to me as well. Dolezal’s case seems to be one of costume rather than identity, because none of the things relevant to having a black identity seem to apply to her.

            A biological basis for transgenderism provides an explanation of how someone can be a woman in some sort of objective sense, while still being anatomically male. If there is no biological component, and no difference between male and female brains or between cisgender and transgender brains, then transgenderism starts to look like either a lie or some kind of delusion, in which a man wants to be a woman (or vice-versa) despite not being one in any real sense.

            Identity might be important, but it is still “superficial” in the sense of not reflecting some kind of inherent immutable difference. We can recognize that different national identities for example may be important to people, while still being superficial in this sense. It wouldn’t make much sense if I said that I was a Frenchman trapped in an Englishman’s body, because English and French people are not different in any way relevant to the claim. Dolezal’s claim looks like that to me, whereas claiming to be transgender looks like something entirely different.

          • The problem is that when people think about the differences between male and female brains, they think about stereotypically sexist things like men being better at maths and women being more emotional and whatnot. Which isn’t true, because much of those are heavily influenced by culture and for instance don’t hold true in non-Western settings (e.g. lots of female scientists in China). Others – like emotions – are more hormonally influenced.

            Whereas when it comes to brain sex differences in trans people, we’re talking more about stuff like white matter to grey matter ratios, or sex differences in areas of the brain related to body perception, or the efficacy of androgen receptors in the brain (which have been shown to be weaker for trans women). Those differences aren’t the things that make women good at talking and men good at driving, but rather the things that might make someone with a female brain think: “wtf is this penis doing here?”

          • R Vogel

            Watching the interview with Caitlin and reading accounts of other transgender people I have rarely heard them simplify their experience to just their genitals. From my survey of the literature, access and time permitting, I think there is still a lot of work to do to make that the full story. I am a bit concerned about making it the whole story since in the end I don’t care why someone identifies one way or the other – I just assume it is their right to do so. In fact, the way you formulated the above sounds more like BIID than transgenderism. My impression from first hand accounts is that for many the desire to remove the penis, or construct one, is driven by the desire to present as the alternate gender rather than the other way around. In the end I am very concerned about pigeon-holing it one way or the other. I can’t see how that can lead anywhere good. If the biology is considered the cause, then could it be treated as a medical condition? Michael Bailey wants to attribute MTF transgenderism to autogynephilia (See Warren Throckmorton’s interview on June 11 and 12) and brought up a case where a ‘course of leuprolide’ was used as treatment and ‘His desire to change sex virtually vanished.’ (For the record Michael Bailey comes off as a class A dickweed). This seems to be the dangerous and wrong-headed direction this discussion could take. I understand the desire to counter the conservative arguments with biology, something that seems more concrete that identity creation, but I fear that opens up a large range of unintended consequences.

          • I’m trans myself (FTM) and think both approaches are needed together – body dysphoria in trans people likely has similar neurological causes as BIID, i.e. a mismatched brain/body map, leading to psychological dissonance and distress, and things like young trans girls trying to castrate themselves even before learning the differences between most boys and girls. So I usually bring that up to explain why trans people often aren’t just comfortable presenting as and being accepted as our identified genders without medical intervention, and many of us would still desire hormones and/or surgery even in a perfectly trans-accepting world; there’s at least s good amount of evidence that trans brains are primed in the womb for a certain sex hormone mix, and function best in that hormonal environment. I know it was the case for me that going on testosterone felt like some weird chaos and mental fog in my brain suddenly cleared up and was replaced by this sense of calm and quiet; and it’s not a placebo effect because it starts fading when my T levels drop before each shot.

            And more recently, the biological argument is the best one against claims of why people can’t be transracial in that case. But I agree with your reservations and the potential consequences of just focusing on that angle, which is why it’s just as important to focus on the identity part of it.

            Meh, autogynephilia as a motivation for transition has long been debunked, not least because a lot of cis women would also qualify as autogynephilic under Bailey’s criteria, as a few studies proved.

          • R Vogel

            Thanks for you perspective. It is very helpful. I don’t disagree that we should study and understand the neurological causes, since it is germane to helping people understand what they may be going through and hopefully help to reduce the alarming rate of suicide and other self-destructive behaviors among transgender youth. My concern is using it as the justification for love and acceptance. It seems to me in an effort counter conservative arguments focusing on biology we risk going to far over that line. They may be getting the biology wrong in some cases (perhaps all, I think we still need to study more), but the germ of the issue for me is not biological it is ethical. Love, to me, should be the grounding principle.

            Bailey’s claims seem over-reaching and sloppy, from the little I have read. Hard to take what he says seriously, especially with his flip attitude and willingness to pronounce diagnoses on people he has never met. I invoke him as an example of what I think the potentially problematic consequences of grounding the argument solely in the biological, not to give and credence to his position. Those with a bias against transgender people are going to latch onto to arguments like this to try and counter the biological case. If climate change deniers and ID proponents have taught us anything it is that scientific literacy alone is not enough to settle certain issues in wider culture.

    • nobody

      Yes, it has the right to say it. But that doesn’t make it less insane for denying the biological evidence to the contrary.

    • Mark

      I disagree. In my understanding, black people have gone through a lifetime of discrimination, which white people have not, and so cannot fully understand or appreciate. A person like Rachel Dolezal may wish to be black, and may “identify” with black culture; but, having been born and raised as an obviously white girl, even being raised with adopted black siblings, she can’t just “decide” she’s black.

      • John MacDonald

        That would be like saying a man can’t just “decide” one day that he is really a woman because he hasn’t lived his life experiencing the discrimination women experience. Do you see the flaw in your logic?

        • But that’s not actually what happens with trans people: it’s not a decision, let alone one made in one day. A trans woman has always been a trans woman even before coming out, and even before she might have figured out her identity. There are numerous scientific supports for a physiological cause of transgenderism; whereas race does not exist on the biological level and is often dependent on social influences. (e.g. Irish people and Eastern Europeans used to be considered not white, until social categories changed.)

          • Michael Wilson

            What about some one that decided as Dozel did, to declare as a man or woman? Would they not be allowed to be accepted as what they say they feel they are? If Bozel said she aways felt black, would that change your opinion?

          • Yes, though that hypothetical is rare and/or impossible when it comes to white kids who identify as black, given the way culture currently works. But it would for instance be a lot more understandable if Dolezal had grown up in a predominantly black environment, raised by black parents (I’m not sure if this happens – I know a while back, white orphans were never given to black parents), etc. That’s what the term ‘transracial’ originally referred to: kids raised by adoptive parents of a different race, where they thus came to identify with their parents’ rather than their own race. But that’s not what’s happening with Dolezal, who in effect decided that black culture was cool and wanted to be part of it.

          • John MacDonald

            Some trans women only realize their true gender later in life.

          • Yep. But that doesn’t make it a decision, like for gay people who didn’t realise they were gay until much later, because they just didn’t know homosexuality was a thing and assumed that everyone felt the way they did.

          • John MacDonald

            I’m not sure what you mean by ” because they just didn’t know homosexuality was a thing and assumed that everyone felt the way they did.” Could you please restate in order to clarify what you mean?

          • I know of quite a lot of gay people (especially the older ones) who grew up unaware that people could be gay, and thus assumed that any attractions they felt to the same sex were something that everyone experienced but chose not to fulfill – in order to reproduce and continue the species. Some other gay men assumed that they were just particularly respectful of women, which is why they didn’t sexualise them, and that the desire for male intimacy was just a more amplified version of what led other men to seek out friendships with each other. It’s often only later in life with more information that they realise that this *isn’t* what most men feel.

            One of my friends thought he was straight for 30 years, and had relationships with women – because that’s what he saw other guys doing – that just didn’t work out, not knowing that his platonic love but lack of sexual attraction to them was not what other guys experienced.

          • John MacDonald

            Now I understand what you meant. Thanks. I guess now more than ever the culture is making an attempt to create understanding and awareness about same sex relationships. For instance, elementary schools are using picture books (like “Daddy, Papa, and Me,” see http://www.amazon.com/Daddy-Papa-Me-Lesl%C3%A9a-Newman/dp/1582462623/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1435110199&sr=8-1&keywords=two+dads+children%27s+book ) to promote understanding about same-sex relationships and families.

          • John MacDonald

            I would disagree. Homosexuality is often just an offhanded decision based on new feelings. Men that have never had a gay thought in their life go to prison and have homosexual experiences, and come out of prison either gay or bisexual. Females that never had a gay thought will get drunk at a club and make out with a female friend – coming out of the experience bisexual or gay. Talk shows like Jerry Springer often have on straight guests who find out they are there to meet someone who has a gay crush on them, just to discover they are open to the idea. Homosexuality in 2015 is so varied and individualized in inception and experience that it’s hard to make generalizations about it.

          • I’d put that in the minority of gay people. Prison homosexual rape/sex is often born out of desperation and sexual frustration rather than genuine or complete attraction; but once it happens, gay sex can thus get associated with sexual arousal and lead the person to seeking out more such experiences. But it likely remains on a purely sexual level, rather than include romantic and emotional attraction like it does for gay people who have been gay all their lives.

            Meanwhile, lots of people are bisexual but don’t know it, either out of repression or just not bothering, and drunken experiences could awaken them to that part of themselves.

            Yet other people might be genuinely straight but not repulsed by the idea of gay sex – it just doesn’t naturally appeal to them – but might be willing to do it if it makes another person happy, because it doesn’t particularly bother them either way. It’s like how lots of gay people manage to enter heterosexual relationships and have sex, usually out of social pressure, but just don’t get much enjoyment out of it as they would with sex with someone they’re actually attracted to.

            Heterosexuality doesn’t include an inherent aversion to the same sex, after all, just a lack of attraction (and vice versa). The aversion is often culturally influenced. I’m gay, but if a random woman decided to strip naked and have sex with me I don’t think I’d particularly care, assuming a hypothetical world where I was into casual sex, and hygiene/health concerns aside. I wouldn’t be into it because women do nothing for me, but I wouldn’t be repulsed either, and if it made her happy, then so be it – it would just be doing something nice for someone, and wouldn’t mean I was no longer gay.

          • John MacDonald

            I don’t think we are going to come to a meeting of the minds. I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree. lol

        • Mark

          No, I really don’t. I suppose a white person raised by black parents in a black culture might come close to understanding what it was like to live daily as a black person. And a white person such as Rachel Dolezal might identify with blacks. But she was not black, and could not know what it was like – is like – to be black, because she was a blonde headed white girl, raised as white by white parents. I don’t see the ability to port racial issues one for one to gender issues.

          Here’s my bottom line on this: Rachel Dolezal had the luxury of being able to pretend she was black as long as she wanted to do that. On any given day, she could give it up, and be white, for better or worse. Real black people don’t have that option.

          • Michael Wilson

            I feel there are two things here, Dolezal’s biology and her ethnicity. Biologically she does not have significant genetic relation to a African immigrants or distinctly African features. She does spend most of her time with blacks, Americans of sub-saharan african decent and has genuinely black children. She has been accepted as part of the black community in Portland. She is black the way Snookie is “guido” but at the end of the day she has to recognize she isn’t really black.

  • The cartoon implies a false dichotomy between “Middle Eastern” and “White”, which makes it unfunny. Most Middle Easterners are White. Most Middle Easterners in the U.S. mark themselves as White on the Census.

    • mcbalz

      Good point. But in this cartoon, God makes the distinction Himself, so it must have merit, no?

    • Jonathan Bernier

      Yeah. Try telling that to any Middle Eastern person who has gone through US customs.

      • Like Netanyahu?

        • Michael Wilson

          Only bad Jews are white. : (

          • Michael Wilson

            Yeah, I think alot, if not most people this cartoon lampoons think middlee easterners are white. I always have. Perhaps not Klansmen or leftist.

        • Jonathan Bernier

          Right. Because a head of state’s experience is comparable to that of most persons, especially the head of state of one of the country in question’s closest allies. But let’s say that your skin is a little darker than Netanyahu’s, your name happens to be Muhammad rather than Benjamin, and your passport is Egyptian rather than Israeli. Somehow I suspect that you might not get as good a treatment as Netanyahu.

          • Gary

            Right. I’ve seen that leaving the Tel Aviv airport. The Israeli security grills everybody unmercifully. Even me, being white, and carrying a U.S. official government red passport. However, on one of my exits, I really felt sorry for a woman and kids, in front of me, who were obviously (I assume) Arab. They were separated out, and REALLY grilled for a long time. I am not saying it might not be necessary, but Israeli’s security grilling makes U.S. Security look like a walk in the park. I guarantee that Americans would not tolerate the Israeli airport security process. Especially the ethnic emphasis in Israel. There would be law suits up the kazoo if it happened that way here. Jesus would have a hell-of-a-time today getting through Israeli security.

          • Then I don’t know. I was never a Muslim.

        • Mark

          Maybe it should have read “I identify as white European.” That’s how most of the early portraits of Jesus I saw depicted him.

    • nobody

      Actually they are not white : middle-easterns are semites while europeans are caucasians / whites.

      • What if the middle-easterner in question is Persian, rather than Semitic? What about Turks? Should a European Jew be considered Semitic, or white, or both? I’m not sure it’s possible to define such hard-and-fast rules on this.

      • 1. Blumenbach considered his Caucasian race to include North Africa and the land stretching to the Ganges.
        2. Caucasians (e.g., Abreks, Armenians, Georgians) are more closely related to MEers than to Euros.

        3. The genetics is also clear that MEers are pretty closely related to Euros (especially Greeks, southern Italians, and southern Spaniards).
        Clearly, there’s some difference, but it’s not as large as that between, say, East Asians and Native Americans (or ancestral North and ancestral South Indians).

        • nobody

          1. Blumenbach, the name says it all.
          2. That’s an generic denomination, it doesn’t relate geographically. But yes, those that live in the Caucasus region do relate more closely to MEers than Europeans.
          3. Wrong, they are their own independent race – the similarities are caused by the crossbreeding caused by millennia of common history and population transfer.
          Actually the difference between the pure breeds like Arabs from the Emirates and Germans is even larger than that between, say, East Asians and Native Americans (or ancestral North and ancestral South Indians).

          • Your #3 sounds wrong. East Asians and Native Americans have had zero contact for a solid 13 thousand years.

          • Michael Wilson

            Harding, your right, every recent work I’ve read finds that most of the genetic make up of modern Europeans is from near eastern colonial farmers, people from Turkey, Iran, and Syria-Palestinian. We shared common ancestors less than 8000 years ago. Do you think some alien has a collection if pure breed Arabs as pets? I guess if you need them to be a separate race, o.k. but you can’t expect others to just follow your subjective whims.

          • For Southern Europeans, yes, “most” (if I remember correctly). For Northern Europeans, “most” of their ancestry is not from Middle Easterners farmers.
            http://www.unz.com/gnxp/allowing-the-dead-to-speak/

            With all that said, if one assumes that the West Eurasian admixture in
            EEF was from European hunter-gatherers, then it is clearly obvious that most of the ancestry of modern Europeans can date to the Pleistocene (i.e., EEF + Yamnaya likely means more than half the ancestry is WHG-like if you look back 10,000 years). But, this proportion obscures the fact that massive migrations and population turnovers have occurred, so that a simple model of expansion out of Ice Age refuges no longer holds.

          • ccws

            “Blumenbach, the name says it all.” That comment says it all.

          • nobody

            Yes, it does, it says i’m not your average brainwashed sheep.

      • Michael Wilson

        Semite is a language group, racially no different from non semetic speakers in the mid east. Caucasian covers most people from Iceland to India, and from a genetic stand point virtually indistinguishable from Mongoloids, or East Asian Race.

        • nobody

          It’s quite amazing how you can be wrong on all your points when the evidence to the contrary is just a click away, on Wikipedia and its sources. It’s like you don’t want to know the truth.

          • Michael Wilson

            Yes, I encourage any one interested to look it up. From the entry, Semitic people, “In historical race classifications, the Semitic peoples are considered to be of Caucasoid type, not dissimilar in appearance to the neighbouring Indo-European, Northwest Caucasian, Berber and Kartvelian-speaking peoples of the region.[34]https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semitic_people

          • nobody

            Have you noticed the big warning announcement at the top of the page? Now guess why it’s there. Maybe it might have something to do with that quote, which is contradicted by everything else in that article, like the fact that the semitic language group belongs to the Afroasiatic family and not related in any way with the Indo-European one?

          • YasserH

            Iraqi here

          • YasserH

            I’m from Iraq (both parents, grand parents, grand grand…) and I find your claim of Semites being a separate race to be ignorant. I easily pass as eastern-European (where I’m currently living) and I’m only told apart by my accent.
            I think you’ll need to understand the differences between linguistics, geography and genetics.

          • nobody

            As an Eastern-European let me tell you that you don’t fool anyone – we can recognize arabs and turks a mile away. And let’s not go into the smell that somehow always surround syou.

          • YasserH

            Actually I wouldn’t want to fool anyone. I wear my badge proudly and enjoy being recognized for what I am – the ancient legends of my nation are taken as facts by most and fictitious characters of these legends are considered gods by most. I however don’t get recognized by appearance (or scent) even by the dead-brained like yourself 🙂

          • nobody

            Yea, keep deluding yourself, you don’t have anything other to be proud of anyway.

          • YasserH

            Let’s be clear about something: I do not want to fool or delude anybody (including myself). I won’t go out of my way to prove my own value to a random ‘nobody’. I however would like to emphasize the point that genetics, language and geography are not interchangeable!
            Charlize Theron is African, and Lucy Liu is a native speaker of a west Germanic language – so your hypothesis doesn’t hold!
            Have a nice day and good luck with your superiority complex. Hope it earns you a good plumbing job in England 🙂

          • Jonathan Bernier

            I don’t always down vote, but when I do it’s for racist nonsense.

          • ccws

            Same here.

          • charlesburchfield

            trolls too! Just flagged this donut hole whom jesus died for.

          • Michael Wilson

            Language doesn’t need to follow genes like morphology does. Many Negros now speak an indo-european language. Further some Caucasians don’t speak an indo European language, like Basque and Etruscans.

          • ccws

            “This page has some issues” -> “This article or section may contain parts that are misleading. (March 2015)” A sure sign that the Edit Wars™ were here…

          • ccws

            Wikipedia? Really? Even this guy knows better than to believe anything you read there, especially on a controversial subject like race. The same goes for its “sources,” since subjects like this are always prime bait for edit wars.

    • David S.

      Yes, back in the 19th century, Arabs convinced the US government to consider them White, something that was important to them for reasons obvious to anyone who knows anything about the history of the 19th century United States. That doesn’t mean that most Americans consider Osama bin Laden white.

      • But what of Christian Arabs? They assimilated well into White American society. Muslim Arabs don’t really stand apart, either, especially if they’re not wearing any Islamic or Arab nationalist type symbols or clothing.

        • David S.

          Doesn’t matter, or perhaps makes it even more inappropriate. Taking the “good guys” from an ethnic group and making them “white” is about the most racist thing you can do.

          • You sure?

          • Jonathan Bernier

            Absolutely. Basically, one is saying, “Well, yeah, those Arabs over there, they’re good, because they aren’t really Arab at all.” And that seems more than a little offensive.

  • Gakusei Don

    Perhaps a more pertinent example: “Embattled Jesus: ‘I identify as God’!”

  • Mooskey

    There seems to be a fear that whites will somehow “defect” to the black race in greater numbers in time. Since this country was founded upon racial principles, so much would be disrupted.

    How do you divide and conquer politically when demographics are unreliable? Can you imagine if Hispanics now felt Asian or Jews preferred to be Hindus? Who do you court during a political run for office and how could it be done?

    Class distinctions are an option but not nearly as effective as race distinctions. We all should have embraced being made in the image of God then nothing else would have mattered. Too late I suppose.

  • David Ashton

    I think we can leave various “liberals”, “anti-racists” and “persons of color” to agonizingly twist and turn in their own ridiculous ways about this “rights and wrongs” Dolezal storm in teacup, while the rest of us go, unconcerned, about our lawful occasions.

    Was Jesus “white”, “black” or “khaki”, and does it matter much? Personally I doubt if he was a West African or an East Asian, an Inuit or a Congo Forest Person. Some ancient Jews and some modern Nazis thought his real Dad was a Roman soldier, and if he didn’t have a biological father he must have got his male chromosome added specially by God the Father – or is it now God the Mother? S/he seems to have been in touch with her/his feminine side (pacifism &c). “Jesus wept” (John 11.35) – apologies to Nobel Prizewinners – and when s/he GOT REALLY CROSS in a flap like a mother hen, s/he stormed off (Matthew 23.37)!

    Anyway, what does it all matter what some 1st century “progressive” mendicant preacher in the ancient Middle East did or did not say, even if he actually existed? Secular “England” is likely to become more Muslim than “Christian” thanks to your own multifaith global mass-immigration enthusiasms. But then does it matter whether or not you put some “religious” icing on the rapidly diminishing welfare cake? After all, there is no messianic banquet in the sky to reward you, is there?

    Any more terrorists or transgenders for tea, vicar?

    • charlesburchfield

      sharing what you think, much?
      Also what brings you to blog on a progressive christian channel? W respect
      Are you seeking a little bit of fresh air under that bell jar?

      • David Ashton

        1. My comment reflects what I think.
        2. I came to this channel via a link of interest in NT study and the philosophy of religion.
        3. I blog on various channels where I usually get proper answers rather than ignorant personal abuse.
        4. I had supposed this site might be connected with the Progressive Christians to which our previous local Anglican parish “priest” belonged, a “non-theist” with “left-wing” political opinions.

        • charlesburchfield

          Playing troll games is a form of TMT(terror managment theory) I think.

          • David Ashton

            Is it trolling to ask on a Christian website if it greatly matters what the “race” or “color” of the “Son of God” actually was, or what the “gender” was or now is of God? Is it “terror” management to do a little bit of teasing about the agonizing theological knots in which PC sections of some 21st century western churches are currently tying themselves, which are of little interest to the rest of the world, except for the odd sad smile? Apart from fundamentalists, scholars from the colleges have themselves largely wrecked the credibility of the NT, and cannot demonstrate why we should take seriously any supposed “ethics” from a disputed Jesus without independent justification on their own merits, which must stand up to criticism from atheists as diverse as Nietzsche and Rand.

            On the main question raised here about the “Middle Eastern” (= also Caucasian) Jesus, I would say first that since his actual appearance is not detailed in the canonical gospels, different peoples paint or sculpt his image in their own, from the Byzantine Pantocrator to the Chinese Holy Family. The Nordic features of Europe, for centuries the heart of Christendom, represented the nobility and beauty which the “wicked white man” long thought appropriate for the highest form of admiration and worship (cf. Luke 2.52). Of course, there have been attempts more recently to depict him as ugly, or small (Cupitt), or an ugly little cripple (Magee). In translating the Four Gospels, Rieu had the impression of a man of commanding and charismatic presence, with piercing eyes and long legs. Blue eyes were not uncommon in the Palestine of the day (Stauffer). Even his hair may not have been black but as fair as might be expected of a “son” of the blond hero David. Prat’s “Jesus Christ” (1950) has a good analysis of his portrait history.

            Nordic elements entered the Middle East in the course of the Indo-European migrations in the second millennium BCE (Lundman). Their traits were quite likely in Galilee and its environs in the first century CE (Grundmann). Nearly half the modern Samaritans are blond (Huxley & Haddon). The “marginal” Jew’s so-called “Aryan” appearance might well have been right, after all.

          • charlesburchfield

            Proof of jesus existance is not the same thing as a real relationship w a person who exists. Have you any issues of addiction, abuse, abandonment, betrayal, inner stigma?
            These are not going to be solved w rhetoric or an academic degree. A man aquainted w grief will understand.

          • David Ashton

            I have tried to post an answer but this question has not appeared on the website. I have had none of these issues. I still feel grief about the death of my parents, of my grammar school and (owing to Afro-Asian colonization) of my home town; and regret the decadence of my country and of the church; also grief over a close relative whose immense adult promise was wrecked by an unusual incurable illness during childhood.

          • charlesburchfield

            First thing is I hope you will forgive my rudeness. I am a bit too quick to be judgemental on the web bc it’s easy to be anonymous & I have been following & commenting on blogs for a few years & seen a lot of trolls.
            I too grieve abt loss of parents, hometown, decadence of church & nation. I have suffered betrayal, abandonment & trauma fr early chilhood fr sexual abuse & I have witnessed violence being done to sister & her children fr her alcoholic husband. I didn’t find god in church. I’m an alcoholic in recovery in AA. I work a 12 step program. I experienced a miracle of not craving to drink & have constant contact w higher power that keeps me sober.
            (& serene most of the time!)
            All this to say I don’t think it matters if you call god jesus. Something that is very real to me & I rely upon to stay spiritually fit has helped me get a new life & I am grateful. I am a marginal person w lot’s of mental & physical probs. I’ve had lots of losses. I live in a nation where it’s becomming ever more dangerous to be what I am bc of social stigma & prejudice yet i’m enjoying my life & am not afraid. I think god is the god of the marginals. I sure don’t find him in middleclass churches & they don’t want me.

          • David Ashton

            Thank you, and very good wishes. My diabetes medication rules out alcohol, but oddly enough I have almost entirely lost any taste for it, though it was never an addiction. Again, good wishes.

          • charlesburchfield

            thank you for your good wishes. i have diabetes too. )=

          • David Ashton

            My responses to he question of the ethnicity of Jesus and other matters, if they do has appear, can be found on the Disqus archive.

          • Are you saying you wrote a comment here but it has not appeared? I do not see it in the spam folder.

          • David Ashton

            It did appear eventually (on the ethnic appearance of Jesus), and thank you. I do respect your editorial right to cut out abuse, prolixity and irrelevance. I have posted another brief reply to charlesburchfield’s direct question to me personally (above) that has not appeared at this time of writing 21.35 PM GMT.

          • I don’t moderate comments, and so if a comment does not appear, it may be some sort of glitch. Sometimes it helps to clear one’s browser cache, in case there is some faulty file among those that Disqus uses in its commenting system.

  • Rob

    seriously what does Jesus’s ethnicity matter?-_- Any biological inheritance came from his only human parent aka his mother the Virgin Mary. she was semetic, a group of caucasian peoples from the middle east. Jesus’s appearence isnt what matters about Him its who He is and what He did for the world.