Blackfishing - pretending to be black - cultural appreciation or appropriation?

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AngeryPenguin
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"I've had no surgery, so I can't take off these lips. I can't remove my 'fake bum implants'."

Over the past month Aga Brzostowska has been labelled a "blackfish".

It's a term used for someone accused of pretending to be black or mixed-race on social media.

The suggestion Aga has been faking her race is news to her.

The 20-year-old University of Birmingham student told Radio 1 Newsbeat her skin is naturally "not pale". But she does admit to making it darker.

She says she's not suggesting "white privilege is not a thing" - but wants to tell her critics "the assumptions you're making are wrong".

Alicja is just one of a number of white Instagram influencers who've been accused of changing their features to make themselves look more like black women.

People have pointed in their pictures they have darker skin, fuller lips, bigger thighs and bums, and hairstyles that include curls and braids.

Sweden's Emma Hallberg, who has more than 260,000 Instagram followers, is the most infamous.

She had to defend herself after two photos of her went viral on social media.

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Blackfishing has been talked about a lot ever since writer Wanna Thompson's Twitter thread - which highlighted women accused of blackfishing - went viral last month.

Dara Thurmond, a nurse from New York who's been vocal about blackfishing, told Radio 1 Newsbeat that black people "just being ourselves" has "always been frowned upon".

She says her frustration comes when white women who appear to be posing as black don't know "the struggle that black women go through just to be accepted as who they are".

"Even now in certain work spaces, black women can't wear their natural hair out. They have to wear weave. They have to press their hair so that it's straight, because to wear an afro or to wear braids or to wear locks is seen as unclean or untidy - it's not professional."

She says women accused of blackfishing are being "unfair" to black women who are trying to make it as influencers and get product endorsements of their own.

"White girls if you want to pass as Black, how about using your platforms to address the injustices and discrimation actual Black people face. Don't just appropriate, Appreciate the people you are imitating #emmahallberg pic.twitter.com/gpmkvB0BZj" says Nero Gaines.

A name that's been mentioned in almost everything written online about blackfishing is Kardashian. It's because Kim, in particular, has been accused of appropriating black culture on several occasions down the years.

The "Kardashian effect" has also been blamed for an apparent rise in young people seeking cosmetic surgeries.

"We're coming into a time where you see a lot of black women really expressing themselves and stepping into their blackness, and owning it, and not being ashamed of it anymore. So it makes sense why it's happening - because I guess some people who are white-presenting feel like they're not the standard anymore. So now they're trying to do things to stay relevant and keep their popularity."

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/newsbeat-46427180

Is it right for white people to pretend to be black to gain advertisers and product placements? Is it just a form of appreciation of black culture, or is it just another manifestation of blackface?

Other examples:

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Are some pop idols influencing this?

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Last edited by AngeryPenguin; 2 years ago
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Andrew97
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Its a waste of time and pure stupidity.
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Good bloke
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(Original post by AngeryPenguin)
Is it just a form of appreciation of black culture, or is it just another manifestation of blackface?
None of the above. It is just another sign of how vain people can make enormous fools of themselves by the use of social media.
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username2524473
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I think it is ok. I'm not sure it is a big deal. Black culture is very much part of modern culture with hip hop, pop music and films very much embracing black culture and black aesthetic. Black culture is being celebrated in a lot of areas and this is great. White people wanting to emulate their black idols is a very normal thing as black culture is seen as cool and attractive. This is something we as a society have been working towards and is to be embraced. To tell white people to not want to emulate their black idols seems churlish and cultish and not understanding reality. At the same time, educating people about the difficulties black people still face in society is very important and it's important not to paint a black life as inherently glamourous and aspirational when a lot of work still needs to be done to ensure deeply rooted racist values that society still holds are challenged.
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DrMikeHuntHertz
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It is racist, only pretending to be white isn't though.
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Napp
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Seriously who gives a ****? Blacks, asians, indians etc. regularly try and make themselves white with skin bleaching chemicals and you dont see people getting their panties in a twist over that so why should it matter if white people darken their skin?
This whole "cultural appropriation" thing is nothing but a quaint little excuse to ***** and whine and cry racism where none exists. Not to mention that fact that dark skin isnt a culture.
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Johnny English
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Yet another "wow is me " type of post involving race .

Jesus wept ......what's this bloody obsession with racism all of the time . I haven't seen a coloured face in days but so what ?
If you spent less time fretting over pointless rubbish and concentrated more at something constructive then you would do yourself a favour .
People are sick and tired of reading about such twaddle . Get out of the Big city environment and get life ....buy a dog ...walk the penine way ...visit a working mens club in stoke ....go to a steam fair ...perhaps take in a summer fete and well dressing ....sample Morris dancing ....just try and integrate more with the locals ....you'll love it .
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username2524473
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(Original post by Johnny English)
Yet another "wow is me " type of post involving race .

Jesus wept ......what's this bloody obsession with racism all of the time . I haven't seen a coloured face in days but so what ?
If you spent less time fretting over pointless rubbish and concentrated more at something constructive then you would do yourself a favour .
People are sick and tired of reading about such twaddle . Get out of the Big city environment and get life ....buy a dog ...walk the penine way ...visit a working mens club in stoke ....go to a steam fair ...perhaps take in a summer fete and well dressing ....sample Morris dancing ....just try and integrate more with the locals ....you'll love it .
maybe the locals should integrate with the minorities? come to our festivals, eat our food, learn our lamguage
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Andrew97
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(Original post by punkdilla)
maybe the locals should integrate with the minorities? come to our festivals, eat our food, learn our lamguage
That’s cultural appropriation love...
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username2524473
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(Original post by Andrew97)
That’s cultural appropriation love...
...no it's not
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(Original post by punkdilla)
...no it's not
When I end a post in ..... it means I’m not being serious,


Cultural appropriation doesn’t exist,
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username2524473
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(Original post by Andrew97)
When I end a post in ..... it means I’m not being serious,


Cultural appropriation doesn’t exist,
yes you're right, racism does however,

the point still stands, why don't you guys come to our festivals, eat our food, learn our languages, why is the onus always on the minorities to integrate with the majority.
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Andrew97
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(Original post by punkdilla)
yes you're right, racism does however,

the point still stands, why don't you guys come to our festivals, eat our food, learn our languages, why is the onus always on the minorities to integrate with the majority.
Because in most cases the minority are in the country of the majority. It’s not our job to change our ways for people coming to live here. (There are many different minority’s, you can’t expect the English population to learn all these different languages)
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username2524473
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(Original post by Andrew97)
Because in most cases the minority are in the country of the majority. It’s not our job to change our ways for people coming to live here. (There are many different minority’s, you can’t expect the English population to learn all these different languages)
we are here legally and it is our country just as much as your country. this is not your country we live here together. if you want integration you gotta stop thinking you own this land and get that chip off your shoulder laddy
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(Original post by punkdilla)
we are here legally and it is our country just as much as your country. this is not your country we live here together. if you want integration you gotta stop thinking you I am this land and get that chip off your shoulder laddy
Where did I say anything about illegality?

Chip of my shoulder? If think you are the one with the chip.
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(Original post by punkdilla)
why is the onus always on the minorities to integrate with the majority.
That is what integration is: the newcomers learning the ways of those who are already there and assimilating into the new culture.

You must have gone to the new place for a reason, and it certainly wasn't to take your old culture with you and induce the locals to live as you used to live. This is especially true if you have come in from a failed or failing state, or if you are an economic migrant trying to better yourself. If you want those around you to live as you used to live then the best place to do that is where you came from.

Obviously your new neighbours may be interested in learning about aspects of immigrants' old cultures, but expecting them to conform to them in any way is a big no-no. This applies just as much to expatriate Britons, of course.

I use the word 'you' very generally, of course.
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username2524473
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(Original post by Andrew97)
Where did I say anything about illegality?

Chip of my shoulder? If think you are the one with the chip.
yes lad, chip on your shoulder. when the minority demand equality, it seems like discrimination against the majority. but it's not. its just a new uncomfortable feeling that is the feeling of being treated equally by society. come to Eid bruv. have conversations with the locals. exchange ideas. you're invited.
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(Original post by Good bloke)
That is what integration is: the newcomers learning the ways of those who are already there and assimilating into the new culture.

You must have gone to the new place for a reason, and it certainly wasn't to take your old culture with you and induce the locals to live as you used to live. This is especially true if you have come in from a failed or failing state, or if you are an economic migrant trying to better yourself. If you want those around you to live as you used to live then the best place to do that is where you came from.

Obviously your new neighbours may be interested in learning about aspects of immigrants' old cultures, but expecting them to conform to them in any way is a big no-no. This applies just as much to expatriate Britons, of course.

I use the word 'you' very generally, of course.
PRSOM
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Andrew97
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(Original post by punkdilla)
yes lad, chip on your shoulder. when the minority demand equality, it seems like discrimination against the majority. but it's not. its just a new uncomfortable feeling that is the feeling of being treated equally by society. come to Eid bruv. have conversations with the locals. exchange ideas. you're invited.
Everybody in the U.K. is treated equally so not sure why you are bringing that up,

I have no interest in going to eid.
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username1738683
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Wouldn't get away with it these days, would he? Mind you, I never got round to asking a black person if they found him funny.
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