We’ve always known that the Kardashians have a passion for fashion. Now, Khloe is taking that to new heights.
Together with friends and her sister, Kim, Khloe dressed as part of the Bratz squad. Bratz is a brand of dolls that are more caricatured and culturally contemporary, targeting younger Millennials. Um, younger than Khloe.
If you know what Bratz dolls look like and you know how Khloe very regularly styles herself, you can see where this is going.
Once again, people are calling out Khloe and accusing her of blackfishing — styling herself in a “racially ambiguous” way in order to appear biracial or Black.
Make no mistake: Khloe Kardashian’s picture-perfect Halloween look absolutely resembled a Bratz doll.
But from the color that she made her skin to the styling of her lips, nose, cheeks, and eyes … maybe this wasn’t the best choice.
As Khloe posted the pics to Instagram, the accusations of blackfishing came pouring in.
(Yes, we’ll do a breakdown on what this all means)
“Here she go once again cosplaying as a black woman,” accused one commenter.
“Awwww she’s mixed this week,” another wrote facetiously.
“Girl what were you thinking,” another Instagram user asked.
“Stop it w the blackface already,” a commenter demanded.
Yet another follower simply remarked: “Blackfishing much!!!”
“They wanna be black,” wrote another commenter, observing that this applies to Khloe but also to her fellow Bratz cosplayers.
“I usually support [Khloe],” began one nuanced fan, “but this is blackface and not an attractive look. It’s disturbing.”
Another wrote: “…… you couldn’t have done this without the darkening of your skin to a point it’s almost blackface.”
“Y’all are not black,” another commenter flat-out instructed. “This is inappropriate.”
“I am not offended easily but even this is crazyyyy,” wrote an Instagram user.
One commenter confessed: “Girl I thought this was a random black woman.”
“Nope, pretending to be a black or brown woman aint it,” another wrote in a stern tone.
“I actually thought this was a black woman,” admitted another. “What the hell.”
While some of those may have confused blackface for blackfishing, the message was pretty clear.
“Khloe has had several skin cancer scares so she can’t go out and tan,” noted a commenter. “She probably added some tanners as a result . She gets so much criticism for everything, Iet the girl be”
“Y’all know her real pops OJ right,” wrote another. “She black.”
It is true that Khloe has had very real skin cancer scares. But it is not true that OJ Simpson is her father; Khloe is a white woman of Armenian descent.
Well? Is it blackfishing or not? What even is blackfishing?
Halloween is for everyone! And while some costumes will always be in poor taste, that’s pretty closely limited to real-life evil (Nazi imagery, that sort of thing).
Many costumes involve makeup — it’s part of transforming your look. Clothing, props, accessories, and makeup all play a role.
But sometimes, looks cross the line. And even if they’re not blackface, they can be insulting and appropriative.
For generations, blackface has been a way for people to signal their mockery of Black people.
This racist symbol dates back nearly 200 years, to 1830. From then on, it became a hateful way to mock and humiliate Black people.
Sometimes, people paint their face black or a dark brown without knowing that they are wearing a racist symbol. Their intentions do not rob the symbol of its harmful meaning. And, frankly, there are very few excuses for not knowing that.
But what about blackfishing?
Blackfishing is different, because — on its surface — it sounds like the polar opposite of blackface.
Because blackfishing is when someone adopts a “racially ambiguous” styling that seems to imply that they are biracial or Black.
The fact that people try this for a wider audience and for social clout almost sounds like a sign of social progress. And maybe it is? But it’s also just … very bad.
This has been an epidemic among influencers, particularly on Instagram and Snapchat.
Blackfishing usually involves using tan makeup, spray tan, or actual tanning. It also involves styling yourself in a certain way — from your hair to your lips to your eyes to your clothing — to suggest Black heritage.
Most who do so might not realize that the term applies to them. But this deeply weird practice essentially means donning another race, another heritage, as a mask for long enough to snap some photos … and then washing off the makeup and continuing to experience white privilege while actual Black people continue to face systemic racism.
No, it’s not “just tanning”
In many — even most — instances of blackfishing, we’re talking about very temporary things like makeup or spray tan. The white influencer finishes cosplaying as a person of color, then literally washes their hands of it.
If Khloe simply had a tan, then the blackfishing complaints would not hold water. As it is … she is one of the first people to come to mind for many people.
Her stans can defend her all that they like. But at the end of the day, Khloe has two Black children and a number of Black relatives. One day, she might have to stop and think about how they, and millions of others with skin like theirs, might feel about this practice.