opinion

Kim Kardashian is guilty of blackfishing. But she's the face of a bigger problem.

I hate to love the unfolding of the Kardashian-Jenner dynasty, hate is a strong word so let’s assume I have used it to create a sense of contrast. 

I was intrigued and then slowly became addicted to the popular show Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Each season showed just how little I was achieving in life as their houses got bigger and dare I say it, so did their arses and lips. 

I throw little shade to this comment, it's rather a mere observation. However, I note my inferior feelings could not be put on Kim or her family members. 

Watch: Kim Kardashian's debut on Saturday Night Live. Post continues below.


Video via SNL.

Yes, I somewhat feel 'wronged' that a family can go against the grain or the memo as I call it and become filthy rich from it. 

Yes, I did feel some type of way but as a woman who researches trauma; I had to dig deeper with my discomfort and the first step was to step back and disconnect from the show.

The odd clickbait news article that would get me going down the Kardashian rabbit hole was usually to exploit and/or share a new relationship they were in or a business venture they had created. 

Most of the time, I have been in awe of what they have all created from what was either a media stunt or the blatant invasion of privacy that saw Kim’s sex tape plastered all over the internet. 

The Kardashian family without a doubt have been opportunists from the get-go.

The question is, 'Is Kim Kardashian guilty of Blackfishing?'

Firstly, what is Blackfishing? A term created in 2018 where Black culture appropriation in its extreme form is married with catfishing, effectively where non-black (mostly white) females present themselves in a racially ambiguous way. 

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But that debate and conversation goes deeper than this, and here are some reasons why.

Having relocated to Australia with my son and daughter (who is now a teenager) some eight years ago, I can assure you there was no ambiguity.

We could not and cannot turn off our race, there is no opposite of tanning to lighten our skin, nor would we ever want to. 

Image: Supplied. 

Relaxing and straightening our hair fast became an act of colonisation and torture so we stopped doing that when we knew better. 

According to the human manufacturing of race, we were and are Black as they come. 

Our presence typically brought about more than five second glances and stares, some kind, and some incredibly ignorant, and racist remarks and in some rare cases, fetishisation. 

I share this because the journey of being a Black woman, Black man, girl, boy, person does not hold the desire, fame and/or wealth that the Kardashian-Jenner dynasty benefit from time and time again without either feeling the pain from the Black struggle or indeed being a genuine ally for the course. 

This is what we can claim Kim and her family could be guilty of, however Kim is nothing but the porn and the vessel to make money once again from the Black race and culture without acknowledging the legacy of the trauma induced on this race for the very thing Kim et al are celebrated for and not paying homage as it should for the Black woman being the real influencer in her natural state. Real talk.

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I personally love when the culture I was blessed to be born into is displayed in society or adorned by other cultures, I love the impact and the influence it has long had in music, food, mannerisms, fashion and much more. 

What I do not like is the silence when we speak about race injustices and the heinous inequalities, or the ongoing impact of crimes committed long ago that still live on today. The Black female body has been ridiculed for centuries, the full lips and hips that birth nations was seen as a form of disfigurement, meanwhile in the Black community, it was and remains pure royalty.

However, when a white woman in the form of Kim Kardashian and her sisters modify their bodies (which is their business and right) to re-create the form of the Black woman? Then the world acknowledges it as beauty? That whole cycle must be interrogated, even from a social justice perspective.

I recall going into work with a new hairstyle as I do with my Black girl magic on the regular and someone made the comment that it looked like a Kim Kardashian hairstyle... the pause in my response felt like forever. 

It was a mix of sadness and anger (which is a valid emotion) because the herstory of braids and cornrows is rich and deep.

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During slavery, braids were used to communicate messages to others and sometimes even used to store grains of rice should they need to feed themselves and their children on long journeys. 

Our erased and painful history should then not be glorified in the embodiment of Kim Kardashian.

I appreciate that Kim is but one person trying to live her best life, but I would ask who the architects are behind 'Blackfishing' in all aspects of life and what it would look like to stop dancing around the elephant of 'new age racism' and deconstruct social powers that continue to tap dance on the wounds of a race that is still healing.

PS: Please note this is a short piece that cannot speak to every and anything about this matter. I (Yemi Penn) write this to share a different perspective.

Feature Image: Getty / Mamamia.

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