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Interracial Porn, Fetish & Politics

Resolving sexuality with activism

by j. brotherlove

People have always been sexually aroused by acts that are considered dangerous, degrading or simply unpleasant. As black gay men continue to debate the legitimacy of bareback (condom-less) porn videos one thing is clear; reconciling images we find sexually stimulating with the politics of responsibility is a tricky proposition.

But unprotected with HIV/AIDS as a backdrop is one extreme, a kinky fetish perhaps. What happens when we mix race with sexual desire and kink like in the following picture?

str8hell

Erotic vs. Disturbing

When Roids And Rants posted pics from porn site Straight Hell some visitors found the images of a black man being bound and dominated by two white men "disturbing" among other things. I wasn’t driven to start a protest, but I had a definite "uh-oh" moment, siding with the ninth comment at R&R:

"[…] these photos in particular, which involve ropes (read: lynching) and professional white men in suits who seem to be reveling in tying up a man of color, who doesn’t seem at all satisfied with what’s going on, make me uncomfortable."

I’m not proposing these images shouldn’t exist. Porn provides a way to satisfy kinky sensibilities without the viewer having to actively participate. But I do think we should consider the implications when we create or consume them.

In this case, Straight Hell presents videos of supposed straight men tricked into having gay sex, a popular fetish for gay men. Titillation aside, the majority of people involved in these types of "reality porn videos" are actually paid actors. But does that change the effect or impact?

Kink vs. Activism

How is this type of video different from the proliferation of heterosexual, black/white gang bang videos? What’s more disturbing, the racial makeup or the fetish factor? More importantly, can we indulge in this behavior while still fighting for the rights of women, interracial couples and other marginalized individuals?

In White Maiden, Black Brutes: the Erotic Politics of My Porn Collection (Part I), Larry Lyons, a black "a skinny, queer, Ivy League PhD candidate" admitted:

"I am drawn almost exclusively to DVDs featuring white women being penetrated by [several] well endowed black men."

Larry questions if it’s possible to justify his enjoyment of the genre and still remain a feminist. I have similar concerns about myself. However, the issue isn’t black and white (no pun intended).

Herukhuti of Black Funk regularly challenges perceptions of sex and identity. His recently published Conjuring Black Funk: Notes on Culture, Sexuality and Spirituality, Vol. 1 is a collection of academic and frank critiques of black sexuality, including kink.

Like most of us involved in this discussion, I am offering more questions than answers. But they’re important questions acknowledging we are complex, sexual beings.

tagged:
pub: 11/14/2007 | previous entry | next entry | feedback x 17 | subscribe
1. Jeff

Interesting stuff, however, I do wonder if there is really that big a market for this sort of “kinky” interracial porn, since, I have seldom seen any interracial any porn where the white guys are even dominant, mostly odd, thin looking cats who bottom out.

Really Jeff? I’ve seen all kinds of setups.

The black man as the aggressor in the scenes is easier for me to accept. But I admit that it plays into the black man as the “buck” stereotype.

Although it’s one most black men are more comfortable with (along with the big dick stereotype) it doesn’t make it less problematic.

Really interesting post. I was just reading something else along these lines yesterday… you might find this article interesting.

4. Anitra

Thanks for writing this, j! There’s something wriggling around in my brain and I probably should’ve waited until I could articulate better to post a comment. But oh well.

Almost all interracial flicks bother me. I would say that it’s the white male/black female scenes that bother me most, but upon thinking about it, it’s really any set-up that leaves a bad taste in my mouth. And I know it’s partly because I can’t separate the “entertainment” from real-life social/racial dynamics. It doesn’t appeal to me, but even if it did, it would feel wrong to like it.

This statement stood out to me: “…professional white men in suits who seem to be reveling in tying up a man of color, who doesn’t seem at all satisfied with what’s going on.” Emphasis on the not seeming at all satisfied part. I think with porn and kink are all tied up with issues of consent and…intent, which is what I think becomes difficult for us. Half the time in any porn, the players (esp. women, people of color) seem unhappy or distressed about being there.

I don’t know where I’m going with this. I’ll shut up now. LOL

Great link Amber!

Anitra, the problem you have with interracial porn is common. But I have to admit that any sex scene where one of the participants doesn’t appear to be enjoying themselves turns me off.

6. Anitra
“But I have to admit that any sex scene where one of the participants doesn’t appear to be enjoying themselves turns me off.”

Ditto!

7. Christopher David
“I always have a problem with interracial porn primarily because of its stereotypical overtones. And while I understand stereotypes are the meat and potatoes of pornography, my frustrations still lingers.”

Kink is kink, and I applaud all who engage. However, when kink borders of violation, I am offended. Rape is not sexy. White supremacy is not sexy. At least, I probably should add, not to me. So when these behaviors are acted out (poorly) on film it sends a clear message that it is okay to harbor (and feed) these emotions/feelings. And that, just ain’t cool.

Like mama used to say, “It’s all fun and games until somebody gets hurt…”

So is it not okay to have the feelings, or just to act on them? That starts to get a little too Thought Police for my comfort.

The image is disturbing! Questions aside, it is disturbing. I don’t know what to say anymore.

Disturbing image, yes. But no more disturbing than the group of black guys gang banging the young white guy, and playing into the “savage black buck” stereotype.

The porn industry is not controlled by us and the images we see come from the values, beliefs and fears of a majority white culture that has never seen us as full human beings.

I find that image as disturbing as those “Mandingo parties” featured in that article that made its rounds around the blogosphere a few months ago. But, I hate to say this, if everyone is a consenting adult, then…they should be able to do as they wish, as much as we might hate it. Thats just one price we pay for living in America, lol.
L

12. jstheather

I agree with Bernie, though I’d add that in some cases some of “us” do control the means of production for porn, and do put some of this stuff out there, so we should be discussing this as well. I’ll echo too the idea that if it’s consensual and the participants are of sane mind and adults, they can do what they want to do. The underlying white supremacy, racism, ethnocentrism, classism, colorism, sexual violence, misogyny, homophobia and whatever else is part of the discursive stew remain disturbing, since they play out real time every day of our lives, with often tragic results, and need to be critiqued and called out.

I think that’s why I purposely avoid a lot of the “interracial” porn that’s out there, though depending on who’s creating the porn, porn that features people of color isn’t much better. Personally, I can’t stand a lot of the porn that features Asian men that’s done stateside because it’s so fucking obvious that it’s not meant for me to see, what with all the Orientalist crap everywhere. Whenever I see gay Asian porn that’s created in Japan, Taiwan, etc., without that expectation, the porn is so much hotter (if I can get over the fact that most of the time the screaming gets a bit monotonous).

I guess the whole concept of “consent” is also very loaded. Consent could just mean that they’re getting paid a decent amount of money and are just going through the motions; but if (on the very off-chance) that everyone involved is really into the scene and into each other, then that _should_ transcend what race they are. Personally, I’ve yet to really see it.

14. Kevin

My problem with the above images is that to me it seemed more about humilation and pain rather then sexual enjoyment.

Still, in the end, it all boils down to personal choice and consent. If adults are willing to engage in these activites and enjoy it, well…what’s left to say really.

My problem with the picture is of the noose. In light of all the hate crimes and drama surrounding the noose, I cannot understand why the producers would want to use that image. Thanks for the informative article.

Someone can correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t believe these are videos filmed in the United States.

Not to suggest that this kind of “porn” isn’t produced in the U.S. for commercial or underground purposes - but the people on the website seem European, South African or something - not American.

Regardless, the website is gross.

I can honestly say that it disturbs me to see images like this.

I have had sex with white guys before but only because I wanted to to satisfy a fantasy.

I saw a video on Xtube a few weeks ago where a house full of white guys had gotten together to watch two Black men having sex with one another. As horny as I was, I felt extreme discomfort knowing that those men were pleasure puppets to the room full of white guys.

I was angry and hurt and disappointed all at the same time.

We [Black men] are soooo beautiful. When will we realize ourself worth.