© WTSP
Ja Du, born a white male named Adam, now considers himself a Filipino.

He even drives what he calls a Tuk Tuk, an Asian-derived vehicle used for public transit in the Philippines.

Ja Du is part of a small but growing number of people who call themselves transracial. The term once referred only to someone (or a couple) of a one race adopting a child of another, but now it's becoming associated with someone born of one race who identifies with another.


Comment: It should also be associated with people who may have a few screws loose.


Ja Du says he grew up enjoying Filipino food, events and the overall culture.

"Whenever I'm around the music, around the food, I feel like I'm in my own skin," he said.

"I'd watch the History Channel, sometimes for hours ... nothing else intrigued me more but things about Filipino culture."

The term transracial started to become more widely known after the much-publicized story of Rachel Dolezal. Dolezal, born white, identified as black and portrayed herself as such. She was even the president of the Spokane, Wash., chapter of the NAACP.


Comment: It's perfectly healthy to like other cultures, but this is obsession bordering on, if not crossing the line into, personality disorder.


Now, Facebook groups dubbed transracial are popping up with dozens of members.


Comment: Because people all over the place are losing their grip on reality.


A psychologist weighs in

Tampa-based psychologist Stacey Schreckner said she had not encountered a client wanting to change their race. She has, however, worked with clients who otherwise desired different physical features.

"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," she said. "The more knowledge you have of yourself, the happier you can be."


Comment: The last bit is true, but only so long as self-knowledge extends beyond the mere self-awareness of one's likes and dislikes and into the critical understanding of what, how, and why one thinks the way they do.


She continued: "And, as long as it's not hurting yourself or anyone else, I don't see a problem with that."


Comment: The problem is the precedent that it sets and how it fits into the wider trend of making things that should be abhorrent, such as pedophilia or legally dictating what another person can or cannot think or speak, totally acceptable.


Ja Du hasn't told his family yet because he believes they will laugh at the notion of changing your ethnicity. And while Dolezal received much criticism, Scheckner believes everyone should be more understanding.


Comment: Rightfully so.


"If that's who they are and they want to celebrate it and enjoy it, then you have to think: What harm is it doing? All they want to do is throw themselves into that culture and celebrate it," she said.


Comment: "Transracial" people aren't just trying to celebrate another culture. They're also wanting to ignore and deny their own biological and genetic history.


"I think before we get offended, we need to take a step back and think about what is the harm."


Comment: Well, if we let this man say he's a woman and that trans person say they're a different race, where do we draw the line? What if a convicted criminal doesn't "identify" as such, do we let them continue on committing crimes? What about a white man that "identifies" as a black woman, can we still accuse him of white privilege?


But, with someone making such drastic changes, Scheckner does think they should speak to a professional.

"I work with a lot, in my 15 years, a lot of transgender people" she said. "Before the doctors that I send them to do any type of physical changes to their body, they go through a long process with me and actually most the people, they are not upset about it because they want to make sure that they're doing the right thing."

That brings up another major change with Ja Du. He is also transsexual and is considering changing his gender as well. He has spoken to his mom and family about that.

Ja Du knows some may question intentions or accuse him of cultural appropriation. This can be a problem, he said, but says he's not trying to take advantage of anything.

"I don't want that," he said. "I think that we all have the freedoms to pursue happiness in our own ways."