Reader Interactions


  1. Khanak says

    I definitely think it’s racial fetishism. The fact that PoC (like me) have to deal with biases based on colour and race is absolutely horrible in itself, but the fact that these people use these characteristics at their whim and fancy without really thinking about it is sad.
    The colour of my skin makes me a target for ‘poor’ and ‘curry’ jokes. The colour of my skin makes me a target for violence in countries like the US and UK. The colour of my skin isn’t a tool for you to increase your engagement via likes and comments.
    I’m so glad you wrote about this, and as always, this is a wonderfully written post. Thank you, Laura!
    Khanak x

    • LauraJ says

      Thank you Khanak for reading! I was so shocked coming across the term blackfishing and what it meant.
      There has to be something said about those playing with race for their own advantage, ignoring those who deal with discrimination.
      It’s quite saddening to know racial issues are becoming worse in many ways, instead of better. x

  2. The Life of Jea says

    I’ve never heard the term blackfishing before, but I’ve defenitely seen the photos.

    People always think I exaggerate or make things up when I say it’s almost a crime to be pale in Sweden, but it’s the truth! My mum is about as pale as I am, and we constantly get looks. People will stare on the bus, shake their heads… We’re constantly told to go out in the sun, to get a tan (we actually can’t!), or at least to cover ourselves so others “doesn’t have to see that”. I’m ALWAYS asked to take the photo of everyone else, because my “pale skin will just ruin the photo”. Not even joking.
    I’ve been told to kill myself, I’ve had to run away fearing for my life when a man told me he was going to murder me and “cut me up” because I was so pale and that made me ugly… He was on drugs, that made things more scary! Every summer I’m called horrible things, one man sat in the grass screaming how he should come with me to the beach and drown me because that’s what you do to vermin. If you don’t have a tan in Sweden, you’re basically not worth anything (or they pity you thinking you have cancer…).

    Once in Copenhagen, a large party of tourists from (I think) China were amazed by my pale skins and asked to touch my arms, I let them, it was kind attention so =)
    And abroad I’m always asked if I’m scottish =)

    • LauraJ says

      Many Chinese women I use to put makeup on, would ask me to apply the lightest shade of foundation, though it rarely matched their skintone. One women even wanted me to find a colour that matched this white loose powder.

      It’s such a culture thing. There is beauty in every single shade, and I can’t believe people can be so casually racist or abusive regarding colour. I wrote this piece from the perspective of being mixed race because much of it is based on my own experience, but a couple of people did message me to say that they have had issues for being too pale or looking a certain way.
      I think you have beautiful skin and I’m glad you haven’t felt the need to go out and buy self tan etc, because people think that’s what you should do. There is not enough written about this.

      • The Life of Jea says

        It’s so different from country to country, looking at the explore page on instagram there are so many showing how they make themselves lighter or darker.
        I mean, I know poc has it a lot worse than me, I didn’t mean to make it a thing about pale ones having problems too, I hope it didn’t come off like that. I’m really sorry if it did!
        Since it was a swedish instagramer, it just came to mind how things are here. But the thing is, everyone HAS to be tanned/dark in Sweden, but then they go out and are racists because those that are actually darker “doesn’t count”. I’m always expected to agree with racists (according to them) because I’m the stereotypical white, blonde, blue eyes, tall… Like really? Now I’m good enough all of a sudden? No thanks…
        All those pages that talk about how mixed babies are the cutest are so creepy. I’ve seen so many sexual comments about infants…

        I tried a self tan once years and years ago, I looked very, very yellow…. never again!!

        • LauraJ says

          Your comment didn’t come across like that at all! Everyone has their own experiences and I think it’s important to share everything and talk openly, otherwise you’re not fully addressing the problem. So I’m glad you spoke about it. Someone can easily say to me, oh you haven’t experienced what I have, who are you to talk about this?
          The mixed race baby thing is so irritating! People have said to me, oh your kids will so be pretty because they’ll be mixed. And they say it as if I’m suppose to be flattered and say thank you! And people have said, imagine how pretty you’d be if you had green or blue eyes like your dad, with your tanned skin.
          I literally want to slap those people lol. Okay, I never slap, but I could scream at them for a good 5 minutes or so. 😀

          • The Life of Jea says

            Oh good =)
            It’s crazy how all those horrible comments people say doesn’t even surprise me anymore…
            Itäs just so horrible to say those things, I can’t understand how they don’t see it themselves!! How can they think they’re being kind?

          • LauraJ says

            I don’t think they are being kind. Saying to someone how they could look prettier with better features, just sounds like hate. Or negativity. I just think they are oblivious and don’t realise what they are actually saying.

  3. Sophia Anna says

    Absolutely love this! Instagram blackfishing…love the concept. Most definitely happens all the time. The paradox is, in reality, women with pale complexions often use spray tans and solariums to achieve a more ‘tanned’ look, opt for darker hair/braids/African styles to promote exoticism yet there’s still huge societal values on eurocentric ideals of beauty. Everyone wants darker skin, yet no one wants the cultural stigmatism, racial discrimination and non-white physical characteristics that go along with it. is another example of extreme black facing.

    • LauraJ says

      Thank you Sophia! That’s exactly it. People just pick and choose what features they want. As long as someone looks or holds mostly white features, their big lips or wider hips etc are celebrated.
      I wish people could accept and embrace every skin shade equally. I can’t see it happening for a very long time though.
      And that Instagram is shocking!! It’s kind of sad she feels the need to change herself so drastically. x

      • Sophia Anna says

        Absolutely. Hopefully as we become more progressive as a society, and biracial children aren’t seen as exotic wildflowers, but a celebrated part of the world, it won’t be so bad. I laughed at work yesterday thinking about your article, because a European woman with already lovely olive skin came in to buy ‘Ultra dark tanning lotion.’ Sigh.

        • LauraJ says

          It’s becoming hard to find people who are just happy with their skin colour the way it is. I think a huge issue is it’s a particular kind of mixed race people are obsessed with. Biracial people come in all different colours, but people like the olive skinned children with the white looking features. Hopefully with time, more looks will be accepted. x