(NBC News) — Since before she hit double digits, Alisa, 15, said she has felt a special connection with Japan. The high school student, who asked to be anonymous for fear of being doxxed online, was born in Ukraine and lives in Maryland, but she now goes by the Japanese name Miyuki and listens to “subliminals” that promise she will wake up and be Japanese. So far, she believes that by listening to YouTube videos with lo-fi music and photos of East Asian facial features while she sleeps, her vision has cleared, her eyelids have become smaller and her hair is just a bit darker.
Practitioners of what they call “race change to another,” or RCTA, purport to be able to manifest physical changes in their appearance and even their genetics to become a different race. They tune in to subliminal videos that claim can give them an “East Asian appearance” or “Korean DNA.”
But experts underscore that it is simply impossible to change your race.
“It’s just belief,” said Jamie Cohen, an assistant professor of cultural and media studies at Queens College, City University of New York. “It doesn’t ever really work, because it’s not doing anything, but they have convinced themselves that it works because there’s other people who have convinced themselves, as well.”