Congratulations to Feminist Philosophers blogger Daniel Silvermint on being awarded 2nd place (the Strange Quark prize) in 3 Quarks Daily’s Philosophy Prize 2015 for his June post “On How We Talk About Passing.”
Here’s what 3QD’s John Collins had to say about the post:
Silvermint’s piece, occasioned by last summer’s Rachel Dolezal incident, avoids the thorny issue of why, exactly, self-identification might be taken to be authoritative in the case of gender though not race, and asks us instead to hesitate and reconsider what we are doing when we rush to police the trespass of socially constructed categories that are tracked by highly unreliable markers. There is a valuable discussion here of the varieties of passing, though I found myself unsure as to whether to accept Silvermint’s suggestion that we apply the concept even to cases where there is neither misidentification nor intent. Can, for example, a white cisgender man, who, through privilege has had the luxury of never giving these matters a moment’s thought, really be said to be “passing” as white and male? Silvermint comments that “a trans woman that passes isn’t a man pretending to be a woman – she is a woman”. I agree wholeheartedly with the main point there, but I’d be inclined to add that her being a woman means that she isn’t simply passing as a woman either. (Whether a trans person might be said to—or want to?—pass as cisgender is another matter.)
Read about the other winners here.