In a purple Tuk Tuk

Aw, come on, don’t be silly. The Daily News:

Ja Du recently sat down with WTSP to discuss his racial identity, telling the outlet that although he was born a white man named Adam, he feels Filipino. He now identifies as transracial.

“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 intrigues me more but things about Filipino culture.”

You mean he sat down to discuss his very common experience of finding another culture fascinating and congenial. What’s that got to do with “racial identity”? Not a lot.

Although Ja Du can’t change the way he presents outwardly, he’s embraced all aspects of his identity as it relates to the way he lives his life.

He can often be found driving around his native Tampa, Fla., in a purple Tuk Tuk, a three-wheeled vehicle often used as public transportation in the Philippines.

The Daily News is probably being just a little sarcastic here. You can drive around Tampa or Tulsa or Tacoma in a purple Tuk Tuk all you like, it will never make you literally Filipino. I like marmalade; that doesn’t make me a citizen of the UK.

I think it’s a great thing when people are attracted to distant cultures, especially Americans, who are so at risk of thinking the US is the only country that matters. I also think it’s a great thing when people enrich their lives and expand their horizons by using their imaginations a lot, including to imagine different lives for themselves. I just don’t confuse that with actually being something you’re not. I also don’t think “identifying as” is a magic phrase that transforms people into whatever they claim to identify as.

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