Injustice, discrimination, prejudice and racism are issues that permeate the entirety of the Black existence. The healthcare system, housing, academia and law enforcement are just peaks at the innumerable societal constructs that meet Black People with hate.
If all forms of oppression intersect, Black individuals appear at every corner.
Sexuality is one corner on which we stand.
Sex work, BDSM, pornography and the study of sexuality (therapy) are perpetual examples of places where Black People receive a disproportionate amount of safety, respect, representation and visibility. Every Black Person who chooses one of these fields, either willingly as a career or as a means to survive, must first endure the wake of white bodies inhabiting them…just to be seen and heard.
- Sex work
- In strip clubs, Black workers are discriminated against by management, customers and co-workers.
- Studies have shown that Black sex workers at the street level are profiled as dangerous and are often targets for police.
- Black Trans women are harassed, arrested and victims of violence and homicide at alarming rates much higher than their white counterparts.
- On sites like OnlyFans, Black people are seldom represented in the same way white people are and receive a bigger spotlight and therefore more access to revenue.
- Conventions are mostly run by white individuals with Black people seldom being in positions of power, therefore lacking personnel who share our experiences and concerns.
- BDSM communities are mostly comprised of white people. Black people must actually labor to find a community that looks like them. When we can’t find community, we must weigh our desires against possible trauma in regards to consciously reenacting slavery.
- Pornography often divides us by skin, body parts and race which encourages fetishization and objectification.
- The roots of Black People in pornography today can be traced back to the auction blocks of slavery and colonialism where our bodies were objectified and put on display. We were othered as a result. For example, the sexuality of black women was seen as “savage” or “wild”. This imagery continues to pervade porn today. (Go read about Sara Baartman or “Hottentot Venus”)
- The study of sexuality/mental health
- In 2015, a study found that just 4% of therapists are Black.
- Black People have issues and experiences unique to their existence. Black people have to constantly put effort into finding Black sex therapists and mental health professionals who understand what it is like to be black.
In order to truly combat racism, we must view it as a system that exists for the sole benefit of white supremacy. Racism does not only exist as isolated incidents or as the result of a “few bad apples”. It was taught, passed down and spread far and wide through historical conquest and colonial subjugation. As long as white people do nothing to educate themselves and subsequently rally against racial injustice, they are active contributors to this system. It is not the duty of Black People to do further labor in educating others about the atrocities this country was built on.
This is work you must be dedicated to on an ongoing basis, lest we become nothing more than a trending topic to you. It’s nice that so many white individuals have chosen to stand up now…
…but will you continue to stand after the hashtags fade?