If progressives believe gender is fluid, then why not race?

OPINION | Why liberals are making a contradictory argument on race.


Philosophy professor Rebecca Tuvel touched off a firestorm of controversy this week with her paper “In Defense of Transracialism,” published in the feminist journal Hypatia.

In it, Professor Tuvel argues that we ought to support those who identify with a racial group other than the one into which they were born just as we support transgender people.

Outrage ensued, and Hypatia has, in less than a day’s time, apologized for publishing the article, enumerating several spurious problems with it.

Classical liberals should care about the questions addressed in Tuvel’s paper — as well as the overwrought, hyperbolic response to it — because they implicate our fundamental concern with respecting the individual’s right to direct her own life and live it consistent with her own values.

The left seems no longer to care about such liberal values, its breathless reaction to Tuvel’s really rather innocuous paper exhibiting the usual authoritarian “shut it down” approach to disagreement.

Philosopher Nora Berenstain, for example, asserts that Tuvel, through the article, “enacts violence and perpetuates harm in numerous ways,” using such hideously exceptionable phrases as “male genitalia” and “biological sex.”