Why Does This Bother Me?

It’s easy to identify why it’s sad when people of color change their appearance to look more white. When Asians undergo plastic surgery to make their eyes bigger and their features more European. When people of color subject themselves to harmful chemicals to whiten their skin or straighten their hair. These things are sad because society has told people of color that whiteness is more beautiful than whatever they are, and they’ve so deeply internalized these messages that they change themselves to conform to these standards of beauty. It’s an ugly but understandable consequence of oppression.

But when a white person changes their appearance to look more like a person of color… I have a much harder time identifying why that makes me uncomfortable.

Xiahn, a 25-year-old Brazilian man, has generated some buzz lately for undergoing more than 10 plastic surgeries to look Korean. He was obsessed with Korean culture, he studied abroad there for a year, and there he decided that he wanted to have the surgeries.

All of this is disturbing to me, but I’ve had a hard time articulating exactly why.

Continue reading on the salt collective

3 thoughts on “Why Does This Bother Me?

  1. Interesting topic! From my point of view, when a POC tries to look more “white” no matter how extreme the alteration, they’ll still always be a POC. On the flip side, when a White person acts or looks a certain way that stems from a minority race, it’s like they get the “perks” of that culture, without the stigma. So in a way it can feel insulting that someone can do “abc” from my culture, but I’ll never be fully accepting by doing “xyz” from theirs.

  2. thoughtsofasbuxaddict: thanks for your insight! that’s super-interesting. i think you’re spot-on, and i think you just articulated what i was trying to say about white privilege much more clearly than i did. thank you for helping me see that more clearly!

  3. No problem! Your post definitely hits on a sentiment that I believe every minority who’s grown up in a predominately White area has felt. It’s that feeling of “Why is it widely accepted when you do something and it’s looked down upon if I did the very same thing?”. It’s not a topic that gets talked about a lot so I appreciate/relate to how you spoke on it!

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