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“Instagram Impostors: Twitter Exposes White Womens’ “N*ggerfishing’ Tactics”

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On election night, while the nation waited with bated breath over poll results, Twitter user, Dee (@yeahboutella) shared a series of Instagram screenshots on Twitter regarding their dismay and shock over a white woman outed for being white. Now you may be asking yourself how is someone is outed regarding race in 2018 and especially as white? Evidently, a Swedish white woman Emma Hallberg, who goes by the username @eemmahallberg on Instagram, was accused of sleeping with braids to give her hair a fuller and more textured look, spray tanning her skin until it was five or six shades darker, and using foundation to deepen the appearance of her skin.

These white women are physically altering themselves to look like mixed-raced women of African descent for social and monetary capital. Click To Tweet

Replies to Dee’s thread consisted of equally shocked Twitter users, and one tweet even featured a stark contrast between @eemmahallberg’s appearance in 2016 and 2018. Another tweet revealed a shot of her Youtube video showing the disparity between her darker foundation and her naturally fairer skin. Writer Wanna (@WannasWorld) who has masterfully framed Black women in the hood and their direct influence on fashion, asked her followers to add more women like Hallberg, who essentially cosplay racially ambiguous mixed-race women of African descent to showcase the Instagram phenomenon. Moreover, she brilliantly highlighted it as a “ni**erfishing epidemic.” Replies flooded Wanna’s tweet and even prompted accounts dedicated to exhibiting what can only be described as something along the lines of racist body dysmorphia.


So what is the issue here besides the complete absurdity of it all? Well, for one, there are multiple issues with this. Let’s look at the most obvious: these white women are physically altering themselves to look like mixed-raced women of African descent for social and monetary capital.

Due to the vigorous erasure of unambiguous Black women in mass media, the market for mixed-raced and racially ambiguous women has skyrocketed. To illustrate this point Black women’s representation drastically shifted from the Afrocentric look in the 1990s to what we have seen and continue to see in contemporary eras of the 2000s and 2010s, which is a more “universally appealing” look generally found in women who are not monoracially Black. The abundance of Black women who cannot be cosplayed by white women such: members of En Vogue, Blaque, Brownstone, SWV; Brandy, Lauryn Hill, Tatyana Ali, and Nia Long dwindled in preference to: Zendaya, Kehlani, Alexandra Shipp, Amandla Stenberg, Jhene Aiko, Cassie, Yara Shahidi, and Cardi B.

The high demand for women with features that are Black enough to provide the exoticism and white enough to appeal and provide accessibility to white women created the space for literal imposters — or ni**afishes. ‘The look,’ popularly known as ‘Instagram Baddie,’ relies on Black women as its foundation, but because Blackness fails white beauty standards it has to be adequately removed from Blackness to appeal to white women. The Instagram Baddie aesthetic for non-Black women results in more likes on social media which operates as social currency thus inadvertently; however, more times than not, intentionally garners recognition from beauty corporations invested in exploiting the insecurities of women for profit.

The high demand for women with features that are Black enough to provide the exoticism and white enough to appeal and provide accessibility to white women created the space for literal imposters — or ni**afishes. Click To Tweet

 

Brands reach out to non-Black Instagram baddies, at remarkably higher rates than the Black women whose looks create the foundation for the aesthetic. These corporations provide the “universally appealing” women with lucrative opportunities such as brand ambassadorships; all expense paid trips, advertising deals, and free products. The business becomes cyclical: white and non-Black women alter their appearance to become ‘Instagram Baddies,’ they gain social validation through likes which subsequently increases financial profits on both the woman and brands side, and it reinforces a beauty standard at the ironic exclusion of Black women.

Disappointingly, because the Black folks — en mass — continue to uphold and adhere to the racist one-drop rule, racially ambiguous mixed-race women are seen as Black although their sociopolitical and economic experiences are measurably different in comparison to Black women. The differences between the two groups of women is an iteration of the colonial three caste system in Southern Louisiana, a part of U.S. history that isn’t as widely interrogated as it should be although it set a precedent for colorism the United States.

Now, in the modern-age, racial ambiguity has afforded mixed-raced, and consequently white women, the privilege of trapezing a broader demographic. For whites and non-Black people of color Instagram baddies are ‘exotic,’ and to Blacks, these women are still seen as Black because there may be a little bit of Black in them, even when it turns out there isn’t any at all. This more expansive demographic translates to higher opportunities for marketability and monetary profit because diverse groups of people will consume the image of these women more favorably.

The preeminent non-Black women to ni**erfish in the contemporary era are the Kardashian-Jenners. They may not have been duped the public into believing that they are Black; however, they tap into Black women’s aesthetic for their marketability as well as steady proximity to Blackness by way of their male partners and high-profile Black women friends. It is not by chance that Kim and her family have dominated ‘urban’ blogs like Bossip and The Shade Room and have become household names among Black America in comparison to other non-Black and white celebrities like a Sofía Vergara or Jennifer Lawrence who are also positioned as standards of beauty.

Rapper and ex-boyfriend of the youngest of the Kardashian-Jenner klan, Kylie, recently spoke about the deliberate efforts the Kardashians make in co-opting Blackness. Regarding Kylie’s drastic shift from ordinary white girl to an Instagram baddie, he said, “you gotta look at the before and after. She always had a platform, and she was always destined to be what she was going to be regardless, but, when I stepped in, there was a lot of codes being taught.” By codes it can be inferred he means Black codes, presumably the way Black women pose in pictures, dress, and wear their hair and makeup. He followed up by saying “…it was like, you could do this, you should start this, you should start doing your hair like this, you should add that because you need black people to f— with you…” “…if you ain’t got Black people behind you, you ain’t got nothing.”

It was one thing for the Kardashian-Jenner family to satisfy the Black Male Gaze but by donning the entire custom of racial ambiguity and signaling cues of Blackness is how they fascinated the community as a whole. Their shape-shifting allowed them to not only sell their products to white women desperate to look more interesting, seen in the timing of Kylie’s lip kits and her lip filler debacle but also to Black women who also aspire to attain a look that receives widespread approval, particularly from Black men.

A hard truth in this trend is the complicity of Black people. As Tyga truthfully articulated, “…if you ain’t got Black people behind you, you ain’t got nothing.” There has to be a substantial investment in racially ambiguous mixed-race women and an affirmation of their Blackness even when it is not being asked for by them in order for them to pull the con off.

For Black men, their internalize anti-Black racism is projected through implicit and explicit violence against Black women. They shame and vilify Black features and characteristics on Black women with colorism and featurism yet praise and seek out white and non-Black women who have transformed themselves into caricatures of Black women. Moreover, because they are still men, the act of women contorting themselves to appease them is an added ego-boost. Partnering and creating progeny with these women ultimately fulfill their white male penis envy and erases the parts (or entirety) of Blackness they wish did not exist in themselves.  

For Black women, their participation in the elevation of these women is a more woeful tale. Because they desire to be desired by Black men they follow whom they see appealing to Black men. Because patriarchal domination transcends sexual orientation, the desire is not solely based in cisheteronormativity but rather the general oppression of women. Their added media erasure — which has not yet happened to Black men — creates a void in healthy self-esteem building. Thus, allowing for any representation no matter how fictitious to serve their need to be seen and affirmed. Capitalism, racism, and patriarchy become the driving forces that create the environment for Black women become reliable and loyal consumers for racially ambiguous mixed-raced women and now white women who advance their erasure and sell their image back to them.

So, yes the ni**erfishing trend is ridiculous, and the name — coming from a Black woman — may make you let out a hearty chuckle, but the implications are dire. Not only have mixed-race women replaced Black women in spaces designated for them thanks to the one-drop rule but because of their easily mimicable features, white women and non-Black can now take up space and opportunities that were already hard for Black women to access and now make it all but impossible for Black women to do so. More importantly, outside of the monetary and social capital, the diet blackface only further complicates an already complex sense of self among Black women. Unlike women like Hallberg, Black women’s race-based body dysmorphia has not and is not met with light-hearted Twitter jokes or compassion but instead vitriolic shaming and silencing. Since social capital, in this case, is controlled by users of social media platforms, shifting your following and likes to unambiguous Black women is an excellent starting point to remedy the damage caused by ‘ni**afishes.’

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For The Culture

Caucasian Christian Colonizer Cole LaBrant Catching Criticism for Using Adopted Child as Ottoman for Privileged Daughter

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In today’s segment of Typical White Nonsense, we return to none other than Alabama for the latest act of insensitivity. YouTuber Cole LaBrant uploaded a controversial video of his adopted cousin, a Black boy nicknamed Peanut, being used as a footstool to lift his daughters up to the swings. Although the video has been deleted, it was captured by the entirety of Black Twitter, who assembled to quickly mete out justice.

Having recently trended because of the poor decision to pass one of the nation’s strictest abortion bills, Alabamians have another reason to hide their faces in shame. Youtuber Cole LaBrant, who runs a family channel with his wife and children, shared a video of his Black adopted cousin being used a footstool to his Twitter account. Expecting the video to be received as a warm gesture, Cole quickly realized that a Black boy being pressed into the dirt by the heel of two white girls isn’t exactly the visual we need in 2019.

Although Cole has been racing to clean up his mess, evidence of the misdeed has already made international waves. Catching the immediate ire of Black Twitter, the culture has already rallied and uncovered disgusting liked tweets. An outspoken Christian, Cole has apparently taken “make your enemies a footstool” quite literally as he celebrated the behavior of”Peanut”. Despite there being multiple able-bodied adults in the vicinity, that poor child is the one to “aid” his cousins, who in my opinion didn’t even need his help.

Along with drawing comparisons to behaviors exhibited during slavery, Cole’s actions have prompted a discussion for the argument against transracial adoption. When Black babies end up in white homes, are deprived of the knowledge of their cultural history, and are subjected to treatment like that, it’s the perfect storm for birthing an Uncle Ruckus. They endure psychological abuses and internalize hatred for all that so many of us hold dear. They develop disdain for the elements of Black culture they missed and eventually grow to use the language of the oppressor to justify their prejudices and distance themselves from the community. The fear of “Peanut” facing such a fate has spawned calls for his removal from a potentially dangerous environment.

Has Black Twitter gotten CPS on the line yet?

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Kim Kardashian’s Kredit Belongs to Black Female Attorneys, Activists

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Behind every Kardashian is a Black woman who truly did the work! Yesterday, we reported that Kim Kardashian would be featured in a two-hour documentary chronicling her justice crusade. Now, an attorney and criminal reform advocate a part of the team that REALLY led the efforts has spoken up.

Kim Kardashian arrived at the table when dessert was being served and was given credit for the full meal! The true team of people who put the work in to secure the freedom of Alice Marie Johnson along with the other 16 life sentences, is made predominantly of black women and men.

Fed up with the misinformation people have been spreading on social media, Texas attorney and activist Brittany K. Barnett decided to clear the air. Through two organizations called The Decarceration Collective and the Buried Alive Project, Brittany and her partner, MiAngel Cody, were the driving forces behind the success Kim Kardashian has claimed. Commenting on the silent struggles she has faced, Barnett says she is “coming out of the shadows” and is no longer shying away from their magic in all of its melanin glory.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BuAWwMYDTEi/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

As a co-founder of Buried Alive, Brittany K. Barnett has been invested in the pro bono presentation of federal prison inmates. Changing the lives of nonviolent drug offenders, Brittany has worked to secure the freedom of countless victims of the American justice system. Having experienced firsthand the atrocities mass incarceration inflicts upon families, Brittany has worked tirelessly to free her clients, 37 in total. So when it comes to what exactly Kim Kardashian provided, in short, it was “support”.

https://twitter.com/KimKardashian/status/1124379995143426048

 

 

The use of Kim’s platform was integral in securing funding and spreading the word but the work was done by those behind the non-profits. While Brittany does not harbor any ill-will toward Kim, she is conflicted by reports that Kim led the way. Expressing her frustration, Brittany stated:

Kim has always been very clear in her role. It’s the media that spins it around — not Kim. We do not care how the media is portraying it — that’s what the media does. Who cares. We need Kim’s support and the support of anyone else who wants to join this fight. We love that she is using her platform to raise awareness. We ain’t trying to be famous, we trying to get our people free. Period.”

 

Brittany credits Kim for “linking arms” with them in support when other foundations declined requests for funds. However, TWO black women lawyers are responsible for the 90-day effort to release 17 incarcerated individuals.

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Dear Tiffany Haddish

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