Have You Heard of Blackfishing? Let's Talk About It

If you aren’t hip to this weird racist beauty trend that has been happening lately, there seems to be many beauty influencers on Youtube and Instagram that are using darker color makeup, traditionally black hairstyles and creating other “black” feature, in order to make themselves seem or appear “black”.

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Even Ariana Grande has been accused of participating in this trend. Many people have notice her skin is drastically darker than its original color. It doesn’t help that she seems to be quickly speeding down that lane of “white girl using hip hop for profit” with her new song “7 Rings” in which she stole imagery from rapper 2 Chainz and a sample from Soulja Boi, whom only got credited on the song, when She was publicly called out on twitter.

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I have had many messages from people asking me my thoughts on this trend and I really only have three things to say about it.

We Know Why This Is Happening.

Blackness has always been popular, black people have not. And this is why we, people of color, make such a fuss about cultural appropriation. It’s not just was wanting to hoard our cultures for ourselves, It is the fact that white people want to take the parts of black they like while simultaneously getting rid of black people. Same applies to every other ethnic group y’all love to appropriate. It’s cultural genocide. I’ve never seen Ariana or these other beauty influencers out on the front lines fighting or advocating for black people’s rights. Have you? Of course you haven’t. They never do.

Call It What It Is—It’s Blackface

I really REALLY hate this new term “blackfishing”. This trend was actually originally coined as "“niggerfishing” (which I hate even more) by someone on twitter. I’m really tired of people coming up with cute hashtag terms to describe blatantly racist behavior. This is blackface, call it blackface. Do you know why there is a such an uproar, worldwide when someone is called out for blackface? Because we have over 400 years of racial history and context to back it up. People know what means and why it’s disgustingly racist. When y’all create these cute, hastagable terms for racist acts that have been happening for centuries— a) no one knows what the hell you’re talking about, b) no one takes it seriously because there is no context or history attached to “blackfishing” to prove why it’s a problem. No need to call a duck a sophisticated chicken, it’s a duck. Call it what it is.

When Tanning Becomes Problematic

The most common response I see to this blackfishing conversation is people stating that it’s just tanning? Tanning in itself is rooted in being problematic. Tanning was originally based in classism. Only the rich who had money and time to travel to places with warm climate to tan on the beach. Today, with tanning machines, pretty much anyone can get in on the tanning trend and some folks take it too far. One really could ask why there is an obsession at all with needing to change your skin color. I also think there is a vast difference between a natural tan you get from the sun and that from a tanning bed. The sun isn’t going to give white people a “black” tan, fake tans do. Look if y’all for whatever reason, want to go out and get your little tans on the beach, fine, but when you’re going to the point of drastically changing your skin color, that is a problem. It’s racism and blackface.

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Just be a white girl. Damn y’all.

I Finally Watched 'Three Identical Strangers' Documentary and...Yikes

I heard about the “Three Identical Strangers” documentary about the same time everyone else did, and I promptly avoided it like I do most media stories about adoptions. All I knew is that it was a fucked up story about adopted triplets and I knew it would make me angry. So I didn’t watch it when it was released.

However, I kept hearing great reviews from people and so when earlier this week, it popped up on my Hulu feed, I decided to give it a look. I can always shut it off like I did that terrible “Abducted In Plain Sight” documentary. I ended up being pulled in by to documentary and when it took a turn, whew chilllayyyy, I was stressed.

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For those of you who don’t know what it’s about (spoilers ahead), the film interviews adopted triplets and their adoptive families. The triplets were separated at birth and adopted into different families. The families and brothers had no idea about each other. The boys, David, Eddy and Bobby eventually reunite by accident in college. Two of them found out about each other, it became national news with their photo everywhere and the third sees the photo and boom everyone is reunited and having a great time. While the boys were worldwide news doing tv shows and media circuits, the parents started to get suspicious and wanted some answers from the agency. They were all adopted by the same agency, so the parents visit the agency to start asking questions, they didn’t get anywhere. Eventually, a reporter who was covering the story about the triplets reunification, started digging and came across a study that separated twins and placed them in different homes, so they could conduct experiments. And from there, you can probably piece together what happened. Turns out, yes this was done intentionally, they were purposefully placed in three different homes, one high class, middle class and lower class, and specifically homes that also had an older adopted sister in order to study what exactly? Well we never really find out a clear answer. All three boys struggled with mental health issues throughout their lives (which many speculate was the subject of this study) and eventually Eddy committed suicide. The documentary follows the other two boys on their quest to figure out what the hell this study is for and why. But they never get answers, the study is locked and not to be released until 2060 something or other. In the end notes of the film, we’re informed that after this documentaries release, the remaining boys were actually granted access to the study but it didn’t really answer any questions.

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So, that’s where we are left, with more questions than answers. This is a very well done documentary. I very much liked that it was all a first hand account of the adoptees and their families. While the subject is obviously terrible and terrifying, I think it is an important topic that needs to be discussed more. I do not think this is something of the past. I 100% believe this type of thing still happens today. More importantly, I think it’s vital to shatter this image of adoption that currently exists. This idea that adoption is all rainbows and butterflies. A place where everything is perfect, happy, ethical and everyone farts rainbows. Most of us involved in adoption already know, this image is a lie. The current adoption industry is very dark and unethical. There are too many loopholes in the system that allows for things like this study to be legal. There are no checks and balances in adoption, so these agencies can get away with doing pretty much whatever they want for whatever reason. There is a reason why the adoption/foster industry is closely linked to human trafficking. 60% of all child sex trafficking victims have histories in the child welfare system. That is WAY TOO HIGH PEOPLE!

Anyways, my point is, this story is bonkers, but it’s an important one that needed to be told. This isn’t a one off situation folks, this type of unethical decisions are being made every day in the adoption industry and we need to start paying attention.

Some Things White People Can Do That People of Color Cannot

In my experience one of the biggest barriers we have when discussing racism with white folks today, is that because of their privilege, they do not really understand what racism looks like in 2019. There’s a reason why responses are always things like “I didn’t own slaves” or “racism was so long ago”. Most white people who “don’t get it” think that racism is equal to slavery. While slavery was used as a form of racism, that isn’t the only form racism comes in. It seems that, because white people don’t see us physically in pain or suffering, that they don’t think racism is a real factor anymore.

While racism started a simple act of “white are better than everyone else” it’s not that simple anymore. That concept was carefully implemented into society as a norm and has been festering for centuries to the point that that simple concept, has become a social standard ingrained into our societies. So I was trying to figure out a way to explain what racism looks like today, and I couldn’t find an easy way to explain it. But then while driving to work, I was thinking about this Ed Buck story where two dead black men have turned up at his house in two years and police are just like “oh maybe we should look into that after I’m done eating this sandwich…” and it got me thinking about allllllll the things white people can do without being questioned, while the rest of us would’ve be murdered.

And with that, I give you “Things white people can do, that people of color can’t do without being arrested and/or murdered (because those are pretty much the same things for us)”. Title pending.

Eating/opening Food In The Store Without Being accused of theft…even though it is literally theft.

As both a black person and someone who has worked many years in retail, seeing white people do this, pisses me off to no end. How much entitlement do you have that you just open whatever you want without buying it (which is literally theft), and it’s just assumed that you will pay for it? Meanwhile, people of color are stopped, harassed and even killed when we DON’T steal anything and even after we pay. If that ain’t a shining example of white privilege, I don’t know what is.

Talking back and/or assaulting police officers without being murdered.

I hope I don’t need explain to you the many many incidents of police brutality against black people that is still happening today. We’re getting murdered for sitting in our backyard. Meanwhile, white people can physically assaulted police officers and they just giggle and slap some handcuffs on like this is an SNL skit.

Being arrested alive and peacefully after murdering children and/or being a terrorist.

Yup, I’m going there. Somehow when white people (men specifically) finish shooting up schools or bombing a church, and get arrested, it’s peacefully. It’s amazing how police can calmly and reasonably arrest a terrorist who murdered a bunch of people but shoot a 12 year olds like Tamir Rice for having a bb gun.

The majority of EVERYTHING is catered to you. Books, movies, tv shows, stores, jobs, clothes, #MeToo, women’s march, feminism etc..

Never been a lack of representation for white people. Everything is made for and about white people, even non white things. And still, anything that is made for people of color, there are always white people crying that it’s not for them and using “reverse racism” to justify their flawed logic.

I know these might seem small to some or maybe don’t apply to you, but you can’t deny it is true. It is the thousands of small thing integrated into our social norms that cause racism today. It’s not just shackles and physical hate crimes, it is all the things implemented into our society to ensure mistreatment and setback for people who are not white. Think about the ways in which your privilege, white or otherwise has allowed you coast through life ahead of those who are disadvantaged. How are you using your privilege to help?

Let’s Talk About DNA Testing For Adoptees

Thanks to technology and capitalism, we now have the ability to pay $100+ to send out spit to strangers and have them tell us everything about our past and sometimes, future. It’s an invention that can be very helpful to a lot of people like my fellow adoptees. For other it may just be for fun or maybe horrifying like these racists who keep doing them and being shocked to find out they got some black in them (wonder how that happened).

All jokes aside though, it actually has proved to be something very useful for adoptees. As anyone involved with adoption know, getting complete and/or accurate records of pretty much anything in adoption, is laughable. Most of us don’t have proper records of of our family history. Some of us don’t get the luxury of reconnecting with birth families or having a family history lesson from them. A lot of adoptees are out here trying to piece together our family heritage and stories on our own and DNA testing has helped to provide some answers. That being said, there is a concern around the morality of DNA testing adoptees, particularly those who are young. This debate has been happening for some time in the adoption community. The concern lies around if parents should get testing for their adoptees or should they wait until their adoptee is an adult and can choose on their own. I see some pros and cons to both sides of this discussion and wanted to share some thoughts.

Protecting The Adoptee’s Story

As an adoptee myself, I am an advocate of letting adoptees tell their own story. In order to do that, they need to be in control of how they discover themselves as well. I always tell parents to not go behind their adoptee’s back and try to connect with birth families, or establish relationships with birth families without adoptee’s consent. It's not their place, at the end of the day, they aren’t the ones who are going to be hurt if that relationship fails or doesn’t provide the closure needed. I kind of feel the same way about DNA testing. It does feel like an invasion of privacy of an adoptee or really anyone, to just take their DNA and start looking into their past. If the adoptee is not old enough to fully understand the results or what they can dig up, then it could be more hurtful that positive.

Waiting Too Long Could Affect The Results

On the other side of the argument, I can also see how if you wait 18+ years to do the testing, or any other form of searching for information—the results may be harder to find. The one thing positive thing is that the DNA isn’t going anywhere, it’ll always be there to test. However, if you wait too long relatives could have passed or have moved, or whatever else may happen.

What Is The Intent?

There are many reasons you might want a DNA test. I did mine with 23 & Me last year and I didn’t do it to find family. I am already reconnected with my birth family. I was actually more interested in the health profile and a bit curious what the ethnic results would look like. I feel a little more okay with it if you are doing it for health reasons. I think a lot of us would benefit from knowing more about our family health history. I’m 27 and never had a single bit of information about what kind of health issues run in my family. Who knows what may pop up. However at the same time, morally, I just still have a weird feeling about taking someone else’s DNA without true consent.

Privacy Issues

There as been a lot of concern about these DNA testing companies sharing your profiles and information. Recently it was made known that the police are able to access DNA profiles from these sites, and that has spooked some people. They actually caught the Golden State Killer by doing this. There is a concern about children’s (and everyone else’s) DNA information being able to be accessed. I personally, don’t really care. Yes, it can be an invasion of privacy, but also, I’m not planning on murdering anyone and if you want to clone me you’ll be severely disappointed. However, I understand the concern that many have and that is something to think about.

So What Should You Do?

I don’t really have a exact answer for you. I see both sides of the argument, I think there can be some advantages if you can get the information early on but I also think there’s something a bit wrong with taking people’s DNA before they can consent to it and fully understand what comes along with that. So I would tell you to think about what you’re real end goal is here. Are you just curious? Is it for a serious health concern? Are you trying to track down family members? Think about it for a minute before making an impulse decision and at the very least, I would wait until adoptees are old enough to have a coherent conversation about it.


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Do You Know What Kwanzaa Is All About?

Kwanzaa is one of those holidays that we all have heard about, but most of us don’t actually know what it celebrates. Well, while I was deciding what to do for my last youtube video before the holidays, I decided to do some research.

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Randall's Treatment Of Deja's Mother Is Unacceptable

I know I've ranted about 'This Is Us' a lot and I swear I'll stop eventually, but today is not that day.

As award season is upon us, nominations and wins have been announced, and like every year, we still have the first black ___ in history to do something in entertainment. With all the new nominations coming out, the somewhat recent win of our beloved Sterling K. Brown winning Best Actor in a TV series at the Golden Globes last year, making him the first African American man to do so, has resurfaced and making it’s rounds on the internet-webs.

Great. Fantastic, love Sterling’s fine self. My beef ain’t with him, it’s with his character, Randall.

Along with this resurfacing, one of his scene’s in particular has also resurfaced to praise and labels of “iconic”.

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Look, yeah it's great acting and whatever but the way Randall treated Deja's biological mother, and frankly all other non relative black people in the show, is disgusting and out of line.

One of my biggest problems with Randall’s character is that he is one of the black people who “made it” and in turn, looks down his nose at all other black people who are not rich and don’t have the same privileges as he does. We see this happening a lot in the current season of the show. During his very random and terrible decision to run for city council. Randall shows up in all these poor black neighborhoods and expects everyone to bow down to him because he is black. The residents push back quite a bit, calling him out on his rich man privileges and for thinking he “gets it” when in fact he has never dealt with living in poverty and really has no idea what it is like to struggle financially.

At first I was like “yeah tv show, call out his shit” but then the show seems to justify his actions by reiterating that he is black and “doing the right thing”. I can’t tell where the writers are going with this storyline of Randall, and I’m not sure if we’re supposed to like him or not. I would love to root for a black transracial adoptee in a show, but almost everything he does is pure trash.

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Which leads me to the episode(s) in Season 2, where we learn Deja’s backstory and meet her mother. If you have forgotten or didn’t watch—Basically Deja ended in foster care by accident. Her and her mother live in poverty, her mom, a single black mother trying to make ends meet, works long hours, resulting in Deja often being left alone. One of these days, Deja accidently cuts her hand while trying to open a can of food, tries to get a hold of her mother who is at work, but is unable to. So, needing help, she goes to the hospital. Of course they take one look at the cut and child services is called to step in. They take her away from her mother and she ends up being shuffled around to different foster homes until she ends up with Randall’s family.

Now we can argue all day long about if this was the right step to take her away. In my opinion it was not, but the fact of the matter is, this IS a reality for many people of color. To me, this does not make her a terrible mother. At least not the point that Randall treats her. Randall treats this woman like she is an abusive criminal who beat Deja every day of her life. Deja did not want to leave her mother, she wasn’t down with being with Randall’s family, she understood her mother’s situation but of course, because Randall is rich and black, he thinks he is the high almighty god of all black people and everyone who is poor, is beneath him. The scene that everyone has been praising, he berates this woman for being poor. You, Randall, signed up to foster children and as much as you may get attached, that still is not your child and you have zero right to go attack her biological mother who has legal rights to her child, simply because you don’t like the fact that she is a poor single working mother. He literally tried to steal a child from her mother and y’all want me to praise that. Fuck all of that noise, Randall was out of line.

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Y’all been praising him for talking about his “black queen” while at the same time he is literally bashing another black woman for not being rich and struggling to take care of her daughter. Randall projects his own issues with transracial adoption onto other black people instead of going to therapy or doing whatever he needs to do to work through his own issues. Not once in these three seasons has he done anything to work through his own problems, and his wife, Beth, has pointed this out many times. Instead he chooses to attack other black people like we are the source of his adoption issues, and that just ain’t it bruh. He completely abandons the black community during his campaign and goes to the asian community for support rather than actually listening to the very valid criticism the black community gave him because…the blacks just don’t get it, I guess?

Sorry, not sorry but Randall’s treatment of other black people in this show, particularly black women is unacceptable and disgusting.