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Can you Change your Race?

Wednesday July 1st 2015

On the 9th June, Caitlyn Jenner became the first trans-woman to feature on the cover of Vanity Fair as she announced her transition from the male body she was born in under the name of Bruce.
On the 16h June, race equality activist, Rachel Dolezal, announced that she identified as black, despite being born white, after her parents accused her of 'pretending to be black a day earlier, prompting her resignation as President of the Spokane branch of civil liberties group, the NAACP.
Despite Dolezal receiving a much more hostile reception than Jenner, in part due to media reports that she had lied about being black as opposed to openly announcing her transition, the affair has still raised some fundamental questions about racial identity.
If we accept that someone born as a man can change their sex on the grounds that they identify as a woman simply born into the wrong body, can we not accept that someone born white can change their race on the grounds they identify as a black person born into the wrong family?
The results
What we seek to measure in our public debates is not so much who won and who lost, but who changed the most minds and why.
We do this by taking a vote before the debate, to ask people where they personally stand on the issue, and one after to find out how many people changed their mind because of the arguments made by the speakers.
The arguments
The panel was divided between two speakers in favour of the motion (the proposition) and two speakers against it (the opposition). Each speaker was given 5 minutes to make their case and respond to the arguments of their opponents before taking questions from the floor. Below is a summary of their core arguments.
The audience
After hearing from the speakers, it was time to see what the audience thought. Here are a selection of the questions and comments they put to the panel.
Where do you stand?
Whether you attended the debate yourself or not, now you've had a chance to tell us where you stand on this issue. If you can change your sex, can you change your race? We will announce the results tomorrow on our facebook group and on our twitter feed.
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