A new term hitting social media showcases a disturbing trend among white women who portray themselves as black by cherry-picking features to highlight in photos. It's called "blackfishing" — a riff on "catfishing," where a person pretends to be someone on social media that they are not in real life — and it has a lot of people talking.
In November, a thread on Twitter brought attention to the problem. Twitter user @WannaWorld asked people to share examples of "all of the white girls cosplaying as black women on Instagram." The post took off, with over 23,000 retweets, and the conversation began.
Can we start a thread and post all of the white girls cosplaying as black women on Instagram? Let’s air them out because this is ALARMING.— Wanna (@Wanna)1541556201.0
There was an overwhelming response to the call.
@WannasWorld I literally thought this girl I was following was some light skin black girl but turns out... https://t.co/7oX3luc8Cy— Kitcha Fit-Fit Stan (@Kitcha Fit-Fit Stan)1541553452.0
Twitter user @yeahboutella was among the first to bring up the topic.
This tweet from @yeahboutella started this discussion. I’m truly disgusted. https://t.co/mZF7nNnAxX— Wanna (@Wanna)1541556302.0
@WannasWorld Not white but yea its rampant in asia too 😂 https://t.co/NkcHgnuaju— вєℓρнєgσя (@вєℓρнєgσя)1541705521.0
@WannasWorld Going to drop this here bcos biiiiiitchhhhhhhhhhhhhh https://t.co/u2XPRdj63X— Mackenzie (@Mackenzie)1541684120.0
@WannasWorld Jesy Nelson https://t.co/eAxj1MeO6B— Thank You Roman (@Thank You Roman)1541632994.0
@WannasWorld @chemtrailcutie White girl : yeah I have black friends https://t.co/x93CiittIp— megan (@megan)1541636220.0
@WannasWorld Im speechless https://t.co/sKuI1NMgXP— thank u, next (@thank u, next)1541633328.0
Some felt they had pinpointed the source.
@WannasWorld Y’all forgetting this individual? https://t.co/j8ZeTH1oJM— J🇫🇷 (@J🇫🇷)1541709832.0
@WannasWorld I’m blaming this on Kylie Jenner! They all saw her go from a pale Basic Becky to Ms. Brown Exotical an… https://t.co/fbvltupLUB— Myear (@Myear)1541631395.0
@WannasWorld @NiaaaM_ Hol up hol up hol up I said hol up y'all forgot the one who started it all https://t.co/MQZGTopOQm— HappyTogether (@HappyTogether)1541645025.0
People weighed in on why this is so problematic and not simply a case of "too much tanner."
stop fucking "Blackfishing" its was good until yo ass get stopped by the police or you get followed in a store. We are not a FUCKING TREND!!— Ash✊🏾 (@Ash✊🏾)1543983192.0
Wtf is this? She even changed her name form Aga to Alicja and claims she’s “not white white”. Honey, if both your p… https://t.co/0R9HcMdYps— JJ 👑🐝💙 (@JJ 👑🐝💙)1544015252.0
The women accused of "blackfishing" are denying that was their intention.
But black women had issues with these excuses.
People are calling out white women on Instagram for "blackfishing," or pretending to be black online. Two black inf… https://t.co/iue7xJrKhi— AJ+ (@AJ+)1542699360.0
@ajplus Dear “BlackFishers”: https://t.co/p6dpdi3Ji3— David Watts (@David Watts)1544035576.0
@Stay_In_Coma @ajplus That's the problem isn't it? Pretending to be black for profit while not having to deal with our problems.— Cassandra💞 (@Cassandra💞)1544048745.0
@ajplus That ain’t no dang tan— Ariana Minaj ☁️ (@Ariana Minaj ☁️)1544037247.0
@ajplus As per usual: some white people want the perks of being a person of color (whatever those might be), but th… https://t.co/xusiMTeBCW— Dr Otaku (@Dr Otaku)1544026535.0
@ajplus Well, I'll tell u what I think... it's disgusting. It's all good 4 them until they get stopped by police, t… https://t.co/REwSmgy7kW— #InductJanet (@#InductJanet)1544062234.0
@ajplus For the “oMg WhY iS tHiS wRoNg” ppl doing this crap: If you had to talk to cops abt an incident involving… https://t.co/YC7gVTYPvO— dreams of enceladus (@dreams of enceladus)1544046621.0
@ajplus it’s disgusting they steal everything we do and then blame us for whats wrong with america or say we steal… https://t.co/kTpJY5mKcS— αяιαиα (@αяιαиα)1544039663.0
There was also this perspective.
What none of these blackfishing piece have mentioned is how it's also influenced by the changing beauty standards t… https://t.co/RmisN4CDQ3— post malaise 💀 (@post malaise 💀)1544010411.0
I was going to write something on it but it didn't pan out. I'm surprised though that numerous articles have failed… https://t.co/COjLtmLxzk— post malaise 💀 (@post malaise 💀)1544010501.0
I spoke to an academic who said the globalisation of beauty has actually made the ideal even more unattainable beca… https://t.co/d9tGj8G7iK— post malaise 💀 (@post malaise 💀)1544010560.0
And rather than the advent of big asses and thighs being a liberator, it's just made it more difficult because you'… https://t.co/9bt6Dc5WMd— post malaise 💀 (@post malaise 💀)1544010665.0
Facially it's even more difficult: you need big eyes, a eurocentric nose, big lips, really sharp cheekbones, a light tan etc.— post malaise 💀 (@post malaise 💀)1544010770.0
This is a conversation that will no doubt continue for some time.