A British social media personality who identifies as a Korean says everyone has the right to choose their race.
31-year-old Oli from London is a non-binary influencer who uses they/them pronouns and identifies as a Korean after spending over $150,000 on 15 plastic surgeries.
Oli first made headlines back in 2018 when they revealed their massive budget for transformations to look like Korean pop star Jimin.
Now, the young influencer once again sparked a heated debate after speaking out and insisting people have the right to choose whatever race they prefer.
“We all have the right to choose how we identify and choose who we want to be. I’m Korean and people need to accept that,” Oli says.
Explaining their point of view, Oli added: “I used to live in Korean for one year, I love the history, the culture and the people.
“I’ve put myself through a lot of pain, I’ve had a lot of surgery procedures to have more of a Korean aesthetic. I spent a lot of time learning the language, learning how to cook Korean foods.”
On Channel 4’s Would You Rather? documentary, however, the 31-year-old clashed with a Black woman who insisted such a thing as ‘transracial’ doesn’t exist.
“I can’t sit up here and say, ‘Oh, I’m suddenly a white person.’ If you as a white person can sit up and say, ‘Oh I can be black or I can be Korean’ and I can’t swap and benefit from the privilege you benefit from, then it’s clearly not an equal exchange,” the unnamed woman fought back after Oli said people don’t have the right to take away their happiness of being a Korean.
“Whiteness in this country has been set up in a way, how I interact with the police, how I interact with the medical system, can result with me dying.
“Cultural appropriation essentially dictates people who are ethnic minority, whatever they do isn’t really of value. You don’t deserve to be associated with something you created because a white person has either renamed it or used it for profit. You are not a Korean man. No matter how much surgery you do or of the aesthetic you adopt.”
She went on to call the influencer a “white savior” as she said they are trying to adopt the culture of a minority for their own gains.
Oli, however, refused to back down.
After much deliberation, the influencer hit back saying they are helping people around the world by showing them it is possible to “embrace other cultures.”
“It’s great to be multicultural and diverse. But for me I’m appreciating other cultures and it could break down other barriers,” Oli said.
Responding to Oli, the woman then suggested “we haven’t made progress as a society enough that we can say we can be transracial without causing harm or without permission.”
“There is a way to engage with a culture without dismissing their lived experiences. I engage with Korean culture but I will always be a Black woman,” she concluded.
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