Ja Du is part of a small, but growing community of confused individuals who consider themselves as belonging to another race, despite being born white. Only whites have been known to call themselves “transracial”.
The individual says he has always enjoyed Filipino food, events and 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 you know whenever it came to that and you know nothing else intrigued me more but things about Filipino culture.”
Another example of a “transracial” person is Rachel Dolezal. Dolezal was born white, but identified as black and disguised herself as a black person to increase her chances of finding employment at a university as an affirmative action candidate.
By being “black” she was even elected as president of the Spokane, Washington, chapter of the NAACP, an organisation for the advancement of blacks.
She appeared on an episode of Dr. Phil, an American daytime reality TV show, promoting the term “transracial”.
On Facebook, Ja Du has joined one of such groups, many boasting dozens of members.
Dr. Stacey Scheckner, a licensed psychologist with a PhD, says she has not had a client who wanted to change their race but has worked with many clients wanting to change their body in some way.
“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.”
Ja Du hasn’t told his family of his Filipino transformation yet because he believes they will laugh at the notion of changing your ethnicity.
He also happens to be transsexual and is considering changing his gender as well.
Certain benefits, jobs and scholarships are race-based and favour non-whites. A quick Google search for ethnic scholarships, indicated that a Filipino scholarship was actually the second option available.
Some non-white critics say Ja Du’s case is one of “cultural appropriation”. He acknowledged the problem that non-whites have with his fake racial identity.
“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,” he said.