Let’s talk about racism in porn (and why it’s a shitty shade of segregation)

We all know racism lives on in our society. All you have to do is look at the controversy surrounding NFL players taking a knee. Or listen to Beyonce’s Formation. Anywhere and everywhere you look, racism can be seen. The #BlackLivesMatter movement started it and it’s taken on a life of it’s own. Personally, I cannot abide any style of racism or discrimination; segregation was settled in 1954 with Brown v The Board of Education of Topeka. Separate but equal is bullshit. That’s why we have seats on busses, integrated school systems, and abolished lunch counters. (okay that’s a lie. Lunch counters were abolished when “homecooked” food became unpopular.) So why, in 2017, are we still fighting the same fight again? And who the fuck let racism into my porn?

Raci- who?

On 22 November, the gay arm of the AVN (@GayVN on twitter) announced they would be hosting an award show in 2018. The last awards show from GayVN was in 2010 so perhaps they felt it was time. Whatever the reason, I soon started to see a flurry of congratulations flying back and forth among some of my favourite performers. I was honestly pleased for them; they work hard and deserve the recognition. Not to mention, if I’d had the opportunity to attend, who doesn’t love to get all dolled up? And then, a day or so later, one such performer that I admire, Hugh Hunter, posted something on his twitter wherein he “respectfully declined” the nomination because of the open racism and segregation.

A dick is a dick

To say the least, I was confused and a bit surprised. I admit to my own privileged ignorance when it comes to racism in the adult film industry; I noticed that there are precious few performers that aren’t buff, gorgeous, white, men. And of those performers that don’t fit that role, their opportunities are limited to being fetishized. Black performers are relegated to wife-stealing bulls whereas Asian performers are stereotyped for their tiny stature. Sadly, I can’t say that I was a huge champion of their cause before this award announcement. But moving forward, you can bet your Queen Bits’ panties that I’ll shine a bloody floodlight on it. Performers should be categorized by many things; ability to act, ability to stay hard, ability to make my panties implode when they start making out … wait, what were we talking about? Oh yeah … dicks.

Best … WHAT?

So, back to my outrage. When Hugh respectfully declined his nomination, he posted the below.

Take a minute and read that. I mean, yes by all means, go read the entire letter (it’s scathingly beautiful) … but just read that first line and let it sink in. Really sink in.

Best ethnic scene

So let me get this perfectly straight, because I wouldn’t want to be misunderstood. The Adult Video News brand, through it’s gay division thought having a best ethnic scene was acceptable. Like, they couldn’t just have a “Best Scene” and nominated the non-whites in with the whites but oh no! They felt the best course of action would be to segregate an already underserved and marginalized percentage of it’s performers. So whoever wins can say they got an award for being both (race) and (position) as opposed to just winning for that position. Asinine doesn’t even begin to explain how ridiculous that sounds when you read it out loud, right?

Eradicate racism

We cannot tolerate racism at any level. We should not allow racism and segregation to make any performer feel lesser than. Already, a few performers have joined Hugh Hunter in his refusal of the nomination and I hope more join in the fight. Judge a performer for their performance, regardless of whether they are white, black, ocre, dandelion yellow, or grey with indigo stripes. Please take a moment to tweet to @gayvn and add your voice to the fight.

Tag me in your Tweet and I’ll happily throw three free minutes at you. @RyanEKillian

2 Comments

  1. Dear Ryan,

    Thank you so much for posting this. This is an elephant in the room that I wish more people would see.

    Ethnically I am white but in many respects I was “lucky” enough to grow up poor because it meant I grew up in a neighborhood that actually had very good racial mixture. I would watch Soul Train with my surrogate Uncle “Leon” who lived a few houses down. My best friend who lived across the street was black. My best friend at junior high was black. The church I went to was racially mixed. Growing up poor doesn’t mean one is not racist, there were quite a few in the neighborhood who were, but it did give an opportunity to actually bond with people from different ethnicities see they aren’t really any different.

    What really though helped is that my younger brothers are black, racial mixture within the nuclear family itself opens many of us up.

    I cried about a month ago when one of my younger brother, now in his twenties, told me sometimes the way other black people behave makes him feel ashamed to be black. I cried because he isn’t the first I’ve heard say that, but I never hear someone white say it yet there are plenty of white people who behave the same way he is referring to – but it’s different when you are black because when a black person behaves in a bad way, the white majority uses it as an excuse to justify their racist opinions but when a white person behaves that way, their race is never blamed.

    Slightly switching topics here, the last year I have been working on a project that needs stock photographs of people. It is incredibly hard to find quality stock photographs that involve people who are not white.

    Within kink stock photographs, if you are looking specifically for bondage then Asian is easy to find or if you are looking specifically for “Ghetto Hoe” then Black are easy to find, but for classy stock photos showing the sensual beauty of a woman that aren’t a very specific fetish, the models are almost always white. This is not just in kink images, it is in general stock photography sites too.

    I asked in the forum of one company why that was, and a photographer answered. He said “We have to eat, so we shoot what sells. Companies do not buy a lot of photos where the model is not white.”

    There is still an incredible amount of racism in this country and the flawed perception that “white is better.”

    Willow Munroe, the LDW Enchantrix who I think only does Second Life stuff, her Tumblr feed she often posts very classy and beautiful photos of women who are not white and I appreciate that, I really do.

    I am making a conscious effort in my own projects to try and be ethnically diverse and by that I mean not use Asian for Bondage or Black for Cheap Hoe but use different images where the models are different ethnicities wherever I can regardless of the kink.

    And I desperately want to see all of adult entertainment go that way. I want to see the whole world go that way, but I don’t want to see adult entertainment wait for the rest of the world to do it now.

  2. Thank you Alice and thank you Ryan for posting this. There’s a lot people turn a blind eye to and if you so much as mention racism, people who have privilege and are ignorant of such, don’t want to hear anything about it. These are discussions that need to happen, about diversity, racism in the industry, and educating those who may not be aware of how that privilege can be damaging, however it can also be used to raise awareness.

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