A man in Tampa, Florida who was born white says that he is “transracial” and now considers himself a Filipino.
Ja Du told WTSP in a Monday interview that he was born as a white male named Adam but now identifies with the other race instead.
“Whenever I’m around the music, around the food, I feel like I’m in my own skin,” he said of Filipino culture.
“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,” Du added.
Du also noted that he understands some might question his intentions or accuse him of cultural appropriation.
“I believe people will [take advantage] just like other people have taken advantage of their identity to get their way, but the different between me and them, Garin, is that I don’t want that,” he told WTSP’s Garin Flowers.
“I think that we all have the freedoms to pursue happiness in our own ways,” continued Du, who also identifies as transsexual and is considering changing his gender as well.
WTSP reported that it encountered Du through a Facebook group for so-called “transracial” people.
The term “transracial” has traditionally described someone (or a couple) from a certain race adopting a baby from another one.
The phrase is now becoming associated, however, with those who identify with another ethnicity or race besides their current one.
“Transracial” became a widely-known word after the former president of the Spokane, Washington chapter of the NAACP made national headlines in 2015.
Rachel Dolezal admitted in November 2015 that she was “biologically born white” but identified as black instead.
Critics argued that Dolezal appropriated black culture, while supporters countered her racial identity was genuine while not being rooted in ancestry or biology.