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People Are Not Props

On my search for a new binder *trans things*, I came across both& apparel. I clicked their About page to learn more about the company and I was met with the following image.

both& apparel’s about page.

I was excited to see someone that looked similar to me and left the page to see what I could add to my cart. As I continued browsing I had more questions and decided to return to the About page only to scroll down and see this image.

both& apparel’s about page.

I was confused and reminded of where I had seen this before. Black people and other people who are not White are often used as props in business. This foolery, Black-fishing and ethnic-fishing, take away from other businesses and harm many. Blackfishing describes the phenomenon of non-Black public figures using different methods to change their looks, behaviors, and language to appear Black. As we move forward into a more digital based relationship between companies, brands and consumers, brands have jumped on the chance to Blackfish as well.

The danger of digital blackface
Dr. Janice Gassam Asare (She/Her) recently shared a similar experience happening to her when purchasing hair extensions.

Exploiting, misdirecting, and lying in order to present your business as Black owned is wrong. Black people and other people who are not White are not props. As a brand, if you are using certain faces to promote your brand while White faces are actually at the helm, stop. I won’t even waste my time on the individuals who do this.

One of my favorite posts from the Darkest Hue on Blackfishing.

Thank you for reading through! I try to write here weekly but I write on my Ko-Fi page daily. For more stories like this and insightful conversations, join one of the membership tiers. Learn more about me and my work at the link below.

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