"Blackfishing" and Why It Needs to Die

An age-old tradition of America has re-emerged: Blackface. Blackface was a very common practice when the media first emerged, and African-American people were not well represented on television until the sixties. It is extremely offensive because it begins with traveling minstrel shows in the south that intentionally mocked African-American people.

With our current racial climate when Caucasian women intentionally darken their skin, the backlash would be inevitable. Blackfishing by my definition is when Caucasian women intentionally wear makeup too dark or darkly self-tan. They will also alter their hair to appear more ethnic. Some women don't see this as a problem, but as a black woman, it is very unsettling seeing the before and after makeup photos. For as long as black women have been in America, we were never the pictured standard of beauty. Now that it's 2018, and black women are starting to love themselves more, the public consensus is starting to appreciate black features, but on white women. Racially ambiguous women and lighter skinned black women with fuller figures and lips are 'exotic' and this is the look that has become the new standard of beauty. Instagram models have gained a lot of popularity and with the black girl magic trend gaining popularity the 'glowing melanin look' has actually become a look.

 

Darker skin should not be considered a look because of how heavily darker skinned people have been criticized in the media. People are having a hard time finding a problem with this, but a black girl cannot randomly lighten her skin to appear whiter. Caucasian women have a number or self-tanners and tanning salons and can alter their complexion easily. However, a black woman cannot appear lighter unless undergoing dangerous skin lightening. These women also change their hairstyles to more ethnic looks. Sometimes braids or locs, often curly appearing in a curlier texture than what is considered the norm for Caucasian women. This can be especially angering for black women because when the hairstyle is on a white woman they are openly praised, called edgy and adventurous; however, if a black woman wears the same styles, that were designed for her hair, it is seen as unprofessional and inappropriate. Many Instagram models with large followings have been seen darkening their photos and donning more urban attire for the sake of brand deals. Blackfishing/Blackface needs to stop immediately.