[Vision2020] Racial, sexual identities aren't 'sudden' things

Gary Crabtree moscowlocksmith at gmail.com
Sat Jul 11 15:02:36 PDT 2015

​Mr. Campbell's letter is at odds with all the basic biology that I was
A mammal with the presence of a Y chromosome and a functional SRY gene is
male. Period. Adding in additional chromosomes beyond the usual 46 is a
birth defect of greater or lessor significance and does not affect sex in
any way. To say that "We could decide that just one Y makes a female, or we
could decide something else." is gibberish.


On Fri, Jul 10, 2015 at 4:09 AM, Moscow Cares <moscowcares at moscow.com>

> It's a simple matter of . . . "Free to be you and me."
> Courtesy of today's (July 10, 2015) Moscow-Pullman Daily News with thanks
> and appreciation to  Joe Campbell.
> --------------------------------------
> His View: Racial, sexual identities aren't 'sudden' things
> *Joe Campbell*
> I'm thankful that Bill Ward (Town Crier, July 1) took his family to Our
> Whole Lives, taught through the Unitarian Universalist Church, where issues
> of gender and sex were discussed. Whether or not you are a supporter,
> recent news stories about Rachel Dolezal, Caitlyn Jenner and the U.S.
> Supreme Court decision on gay marriage provide great opportunities for
> public discussions about race, gender and sex.
> Ward claims among the things he learned at OWL was that "in today's
> society people can be any gender they identify as." Perhaps, but this does
> not imply one can "suddenly identify as a woman" in order to "reap the
> benefits" of Ladies Night, as Ward suggests. Jenner is not pretending to be
> a woman in order to get free drinks. She's undergone various medical
> procedures and is now living as a woman. There is a commitment on Jenner's
> part that is lacking in Ward's example. Gender identity is more than faking
> it.
> I understand Ward's frustration because we've all been taught that sex is
> biological. Historically gender has been distinguished from sex. Gender has
> to do with social factors, like self-identification: how you perceive
> yourself and how you want to be perceived by others. Contemporary scholars
> often reject the gender/sex distinction, yet even sex is complicated. If
> sex has a biological basis, what is it? There are at least two answers:
> chromosomes and genitalia. Unfortunately, they don't always line up since
> there are XX "males" and XY "females." In addition, there are other
> categories than just these four. Just focusing on chromosomes, there are
> several options: XX, XY, X, XYY, XXYY, XXX, XXXX, and XXXXX. Sex has a
> biological component, but there is nothing in nature itself that tells us
> where to draw the line between male and female. We could decide that just
> one Y makes a female, or we could decide something else.
> Or we could focus on genitalia, which is equally complex.
> Some argue that sex, like gender, is a social construct because our social
> decisions and practices play a role in what counts as whether someone is
> male or female.
> Saying that sex and gender are social constructs does not mean that
> anything goes. Language meaning is a social construct, but that doesn't
> mean you get to decide what words mean. Language meaning is not a natural,
> biological category, nor is it subject to momentary, individual whims.
> Ward jumps from the issue of Jenner's gender to Dolezal's race and
> concludes there is not "any difference in the two situations." Even if we
> agree that race, like gender, is a social construct, they are socially
> constructed in distinct ways.
> Gender was never a biological category. Race is different, since for most
> of its history, it was regarded as a paradigmatic biological category. Is
> race purely biological? I don't want to get bogged down with the details,
> but consider that we tend to think that if someone is even 1 percent black
> or Native American, then he or she is black or Native American. There is
> nothing about biology alone that dictates this decision. That doesn't mean
> that biology plays no role.
> Does saying that race is a social construct imply Dolezal is black? Not
> necessarily. It depends on which social constructionist view of race one
> holds. Most contemporary philosophers give more weight to social factors
> over self-identification when it comes to race, so many say she is not
> black.
> On the other hand, Dolezal contends that she is black. Does that make her
> guilty of deception or fraud, as Ward suggests? Not necessarily. She might
> think race is more like gender than sex, more an aspect of individual than
> social identity. I think she is wrong about that, but that doesn't mean she
> is guilty of deception or fraud. As George Costanza says: "If you believe
> it, it isn't a lie."
> --------------------------------------
> Before we criticize people for their sense of fulfillment and happiness,
> perhaps we should . . .
> *"Take a Walk on the Wild Side"*
> http://www.tomandrodna.com/Songs/Walk_On_the_Wild_Side.mp3
> Seeya 'round town, Moscow, because . . .
> "Moscow Cares"
> http://www.MoscowCares.com <http://www.moscowcares.com/>
> Tom Hansen
> Moscow, Idaho
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