The term “Blackfishing” might not be as well known, but it shares a similar meaning to catfish - it refers to someone who uses things like hairstyling and makeup to create and enhance certain features to make it appear as if they have black heritage or are racially ambiguous.The term was coined by journalist Wanna Thompson after she saw a Twitter discussion about white women cosplaying as black women.Blackfishing is an issue because it allows a person to pick and choose the “cool” parts of being black, without facing any of the discrimination that black people do.Thompson said: “Black is cool, unless you’re actually black.”Johanna Yaovi, the founder of the Curl Talk Project, told The Guardian: “It’s about picking and choosing common black traits and characteristics for one’s benefit, while we continue to face discrimination on a day to day basis.“As black women, we are constantly fighting for clear, authentic representation and diversity and then have to face individuals who do blackfishing, individuals who therefore look ambiguous enough for brands to use them as emblems for diversity.”Speaking to the Independent, writer Stephanie Yeboah described blackfishing as “a type of blackface”.
Asian-fishing is a term used to describe people who try to pass as east-Asian. This is seen mostly through makeup or photo editing, where the eyes in particular are intentionally made to look slanted or as having monolids. This is not a question of whether winged eyeliner is now off-limits or of gate-keeping Asian fashion styles, but of non-east Asians intentionally altering the way they look for their own aesthetic purposes.
Oli London is a British TV personality who rose to fame after having plastic surgery to look Korean, and when asked by an east-Asian reporter if they understood why that might be sensitive to Asian people, they said, “it’s 2020, everyone’s entitled to embrace different cultures” and that their K-pop star look is “because have an appreciation for that culture.”