Gen Z’s Latest Trend of RCTA: Race Change to Asian

Credit: Korean Culture and Information Service, KOGL Type 1, via Wikimedia Commons Global News

The new trend of RCTA (race change to Asian) among teenagers and on tiktok – how did it all start, how do people do about it, and what does it mean in the psychologic level?

You may have seen them on your social media feed: young people who claim to have changed their race to Asian through a combination of surgery, makeup, language learning, and cultural immersion. They call themselves RCTA, or race change to Asian, and they are part of a growing phenomenon that has sparked controversy and debate. But how did this trend start, and what does it say about the people who participate in it?

The origins of RCTA are not clear, but some trace it back to the popularity of Korean pop music, or K-pop, which has attracted millions of fans around the world. Some of these fans, mostly from Western countries, became so obsessed with the music and the idols that they wanted to look like them and adopt their lifestyle. They started to undergo cosmetic procedures, such as eyelid surgery, nose reshaping, jawline reduction, and skin whitening, to achieve a more Asian appearance. They also learned Korean or other Asian languages, changed their names, wore traditional clothing, and followed Asian customs and etiquette.

However, not everyone was impressed by their transformation. Many people accused them of cultural appropriation, fetishization, racism, and self-hatred. They argued that RCTA was a form of mockery and disrespect to the diverse and rich histories and identities of Asian people. They also pointed out the hypocrisy and privilege of RCTA, who could choose to switch their race at will, while real Asians faced discrimination and violence in many parts of the world.

But what drives these people to change their race so drastically? According to some psychologists, RCTA could be a sign of identity crisis, low self-esteem, social anxiety, or cultural alienation. They suggest that these people may be seeking acceptance, belonging, or validation from a group that they perceive as more attractive, successful, or powerful than their own. They may also be trying to escape from their own problems or conflicts by adopting a new identity. However, this is a complex issue and more research is needed to understand the motivations and consequences of RCTA.

Featured Photo: Korean Culture and Information Service, KOGL Type 1, via Wikimedia Commons


  1. JB JB says:

    Isn’t K-pop already cultural appropriation of Black culture? A lot of the songs are written by Black artists, but no credit is given.

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