Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
On the contrary, reading your diary made it clear from the outset that the very same issues come up with gender.  In fact, you put your finger in one of your earlier comments about racial exclusion on a conundrum which I (perhaps oversimplifying) I thought might have a parallel in gender exclusion:

The white woman who self-identifies as black trying to enter a "colored only" group seems to me to pose the same difficult case as the man who self-identifies as female trying to enter a "women only" group.  Here I tread in very unfamiliar territory, and as such may completely be mistaken, but my understanding is that there are people who while physiologically of one sex/gender, feel themselves "deep inside" to actually be of the other gender, to have been "born the wrong sex" so to speak.  (I have to admit, this is based on nothing more than what I have read/seen in popular media, books, movies, documentaries, etc. and as such may be sorely mistaken.)

If there are such men who feel themselves to be women and women who feel themselves to be men, then who are others to exclude saying that they are not who they say they are?  Similarly, if a white person says they are black, or a black person says they are white, who are others to exclude them saying that they are not who they say they are?

This problem is too difficult for me, and though it may be a cop-out in the face of this complexity, I tend to think that these categories -- "male", "female", "black", "white", "latino", "european", "french", "anglo", etc. -- are merely words that have some contextually determined pragmatic value, but do not have any objective or absolute meaning or denotation.  And so, while they are no doubt often very useful, in fact, almost necessary, their meanings must be kept in perspective and context, and understood and "negotiated" on a case by case basis.  I believe Ananya shares this notion of racial and ethnic groups, but I am not sure: unfortunately, we did not discuss this very difficult and important point.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Mon Jul 23rd, 2007 at 05:31:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Others have rated this comment as follows:


Occasional Series