White university student ‘received death threats’ after pretending to be black
A white university student has claimed she received death threats after being accused of ‘blackfishing’ on social media.
20-year-old Aga Brzostowska, who is known online as Alicja, says she was subjected to the online threats after being ‘outed’ on Instagram for ‘pretending to be black’.
The backlash was sparked after a photograph of her aged 13 went viral, with critics pointing out how different she looks now in comparison.
She claims she later received a tirade of abuse from trolls, including some allegedly telling her to ‘kill herself’.
The term blackfishing was coined by Canadian writer Wanna Thompson, who called out the practise on Twitter.
She said: "Can we start a thread and post all of the white girls cosplaying as black women on Instagram?"
Her post saw over 1,000 responses from Twitter users, posting pictures of women they believed were women of colour, only to find out they were white.
Critics accused the women of cultural appropriation and accused them of undermining the adversity that black people have faced and are still facing now.
Photos on Alicja’s Instagram account featured on the Twitter thread seemingly showed changes to her appearance over the years – including darker skin, full lips and curvy thighs and hips.
Alicja, who moved to the UK from Poland as a baby, was interviewed by the BBC and said that she had always been olive skinned and uses fake tan.
She also said that her lips had not been surgically enhanced and that her thicker thighs were a result of hard work in the gym.
She said: "I’ve had no surgery, so I can’t take off these lips.
"I can’t remove my ‘fake bum implants’. I’m not going to stop going to the gym to grow my thighs."
She added: "I’m not white white, I might be Polish but I’m not white white.
"I’m not saying I don’t fake tan and I just wake up brown.
"Occasionally I do tan but I don’t do it in a malicious way to look black.
"I don’t think about it.
"With things like tanning, I don’t think I’ve done anything in a malicious way."
Since the controversy began, Alicja claims she has received over 200 direct messages on Instagram, with some telling her to kill herself.
She said: "I can’t help the fact that I look a certain way.
"I’m olive skin-toned and when I tan I might go a shade or two darker but it’s not dark dark."
Alicja has now turned off comments on one of her Instagram pictures where she is sporting braids, she said was getting her lots of hate.
She said: "Everyone was mad because they thought I didn’t understand the culture.
"They thought I just got them because I’m an influencer.
"I got braids because I was supporting my friend’s little sister’s business."
She added: "I’m not saying colourism doesn’t exist and it’s not right to use it for financial gain.
"I’m not saying white privilege doesn’t exist but I’m just here to say that the assumptions you’re making about me aren’t true."
Last month a Swedish model, Emma Hallberg, 19, was also accused of "pretending to be black to get followers" but responded by saying: "Yes I’m white and I’ve never claimed to be anything else.
"And by the way, there are no ‘before’ pictures, the pictures that have spread are just two different pictures taken on two different seasons of the year."
Wanna Thompson, the writer who started the viral Twitter thread, went on BBC Radio 4’s Women’s Hour to discuss blackfishing.
She said: "When you see that people who benefit from white privilege that are able to get both sides of the coin, it’s very troubling."
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