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The Blacklash to #BlackGirlFollowTrain Is Peak White Feminism

A woman with long blond hair screams.

A new TikTok trend is helping Black creators find and support each other’s work—but some white women can’t handle it.

A new hashtag, #blackgirlfollowtrain, started as a way for Black women to boost their follower counts by making themselves more findable to other Black women. Black TikTok users have reported that TikTok pushes non-Black content, especially content created by white people, over content that’s actually relevant to them. The hashtag is a positive, celebratory, and—most crucially for what I’m about to tell you—harmless way for Black women to connect with each other and promote their content. It’s similar to countless other hashtags that creators have used to build their audiences.

On January 3rd, TikTok user Whitney Alese posted a video of a white woman denouncing the hashtag. In the video, the woman cries and says, “What if I got on there and said, ‘join the white girl train?’

@thewokemama

#greenscreenvideo YALL, some folks are falling apart at the seems?

♬ original sound – Whitney Alese

“Someone’s gotta stand up and say it,” the woman continues. “Stop the racism … stop segregating and alienating people because of skin color.”

Other white women have joined the backlash, complaining that a “white girl train” would be seen as racist.

It’s important to note, here, that the hashtag doesn’t prevent non-Black TikTok users from finding or following anyone. It doesn’t segregate users. It doesn’t prevent white people from creating their own hashtags. TikTok user Ari Jai even invites women women to “start [their] own shit” instead of attacking Black women.

Black TikTok users are now reporting that some accounts using the hashtag have been suspended, presumably due to white complaints.

One TikTok user, Empress Onyxx, compares the attacks to the Tulsa race massacre of 1921, when white mobs invaded the district of Tulsa known as “Black Wall Street” and killed up to 300 residents.

@empressonyxx

Black girl follow train & The Tulsa Massacre…my brain makes the most random connections #fyp #crochetdiva #blackgirlfollowtrain #leaveblackwomenalone #misogynoir

♬ original sound – Empress Onyxx

“These white women saw Black women creating something for themselves,” Black Onyxx says, “building something for themselves, something that did not include them, that they were not invited to, that they could not steal … and they did what historically white people have done. They attacked, in an attempt to destroy.”

Another user, Victoria Alexander, explains that the whole reason for the hashtag is that Black creators “don’t get the same PR” as white creators. The backlash from white women, she says, is a symptom of white feminism, in which white women try to solve the problem of racism “by ignoring it.”

White women, if you see a hashtag you don’t like on TikTok, there’s nothing stopping you from scrolling right past it! You want to make a “white girl train?” Go right ahead! (That’s a terrible idea but you’re free to act on it.) If you’re jealous of Black creators, work through it with your therapist! Trying to destroy Black communities doesn’t make you some kind of hero—it just makes you a gigantic racist.

(featured image: Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels.com)

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Julia Glassman (she/her) lives in Los Angeles, where she reads tarot and watches Marvel movies. You can check out more of her writing at linktr.ee/juliaglassman, or find her on Twitter at @juliaglassman.