Step aside, Rachel Dolezal: a white man whose birth name is Adam is now living as Ja Du after supposedly awakening to the fact that he is a transracial Filipino who feels most at home when he is surrounded by the culture of the Southeast Asian nation.
“Whenever I’m around the music, around the food, I feel like I’m in my own skin,” Ja Du told WTSP. “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.”
Sure enough, Ja Du can often be spotted in his hometown of Tampa, Florida, driving a purple Tuk Tuk, a motorized rickshaw that is often driven in urban parts of the Philippines. Despite the unusual choice of transportation, though, Ja Du has not come out to his family as transracial out of the fear that they may not take him seriously.
Ja Du has the full support of psychologist Stacey Sheckner, who told the outlet that people who feel drawn to another culture or religion should not feel ashamed to act on those impulses.
“If someone feels that they feel at home with a certain religion, a certain race, a certain culture, I think that if that’s who they really feel inside, life is about finding out who you are,” she said. “The more knowledge you have of yourself, the happier you can be. And, as long as it’s not hurting yourself or anyone else, I don’t see a problem with that.”
Ja Du insists that his transformation is not about appropriating culture or exploiting the system, but about becoming his true self.
“I believe that people will [take advantage] just like other people have been taken advantage of their identity to get their way, but… I don’t want that,” he said. “I think that we all have the freedoms to pursue happiness in our own ways.”