Oli London, the Rachel Dolezal of South Korean pop culture, doubles down on transracial claims while showing off their new surgery-enhanced eyes
Oli London has doubled down on their claims that they are Korean.
Saying they are now transracial, London showed the results of surgery meant to give them "Korean eyes."
An expert told Insider that transracialism is a concept most minorities would find offensive.
Oli London is doubling down on assertions that they are transracial, saying once again that they identify as Korean.
London, who is British-born and ethnically white, said this week that they "transitioned" races while showing off their new, surgically enhanced "Korean eyes."
"Now finally, I feel Korean," said London. "I identify with the Korean community. Maybe they will accept me more now because I have the look. Maybe people will think I'm actually Korean, which would make me really happy."
London, who goes by they/them pronouns, announced on June 24 that they "identify as Korean." Amid social media backlash, they doubled down on those claims in a follow-up Twitter video on June 29.
This is not the first time London has made controversial claims. On multiple occasions in 2018 and 2019, they claimed they looked identical to KPop star Park Jimin of BTS fame. Last year, London "married" a cardboard cutout of the star in a Vegas publicity stunt.
They have a TikTok following of over 427,000 people and gained notoriety after appearing on Barcroft TV's "Hooked on the Look" series in 2018 and E!'s "Botched" series in 2019, where they discussed the expensive and painful surgeries they had undergone in an attempt to resemble Park.
-Oli London (@OliLondonTV) June 28, 2021
In the latest video, London said they opted for another round of cosmetic surgeries because they wanted to make Park, their ultimate idol, proud.
"I want him to be proud, I'm sure he'll be proud that I look exactly like him now. I have his eyes. I finally have Jimin's Korean eyes and they're so, so beautiful," gushed London in the Twitter video, adding that they couldn't wait to see the "final results" after the swelling from the surgery subsides.
Expert says the concept of transracialism is offensive
London's claims that they are transracial may remind some of Rachel Dolezal, a woman born to white parents who said in 2015 that she "identifies as black." Two years after that announcement, Dolezal continued to make those claims, telling news outlet TODAY in a March 2017 video interview that she is "part of the pan-African diaspora."
Likening being transracial to being transgender oversimplifies what being transgender means, said Kevin Cokley, a professor in the department of educational psychology and the department of African and African American diaspora studies at the University of Texas-Austin.
"Most social scientists agree that race is a social construct and not a biologically coherent or valid concept. I can see how some might use the 'race as a social construct' idea to try to argue that transracialism is a real racial identity," Cokley told Insider. "There are several problems with this thinking, not the least of which is the fact that being Korean is an ethnicity and nationality, not a race."
He added that one's lived experience should be considered as an important component of one's identity.
"In this case, Oli London does not have the lived experience of being Korean (simply identifying with the culture is not the same) and does not have Korean ancestry. An additional problem with this thinking is that it does not consider whether the community or so-called race that the individual identifies with accepts them as a member of the community," Cokley said.
"Simply put, would Koreans consider Oli to be Korean? I think it is safe to say that they probably would not. So Oli London calling themselves a transracial Korean does not make them Korean, no matter how much they insist," Cokley said.
London did not immediately reply to Insider's request for comment for this story.
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