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Abuse Porn and White Sexual Terror

By       Message Thomas Anderson       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink

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Trigger warning: this article describes extreme humiliation, racist and misogynist sexual violence.

"The negro has suffered far more from the commission of this crime against the women of his race by white men than the white race has ever suffered through his crimes...What becomes a crime deserving capital punishment when the tables are turned is a matter of small moment when the negro woman is the accusing party."

With words like these, Ida B. Wells pierced the smoke and fog of racist lies and justifications with truth -- white men were raping black women with impunity while most black men accused of raping white women were innocent. Over a century later, we have not outlived the cultural dynamics that defined the order of sexual terror against black folks in this country. This legacy of racist sexual violence forces deep questions that determine our culture today -- is rape always rape? Do black women matter? Do sex workers matter?

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Racist Abuse Porn

Aside from police murders and other visible instances of the violence of white supremacy, there are outrages that the media persistently refuse to address. The issue at hand is internet pornography and the specific type of porn is not child porn, not bestiality, not simulated, consensual rape-fantasy scenes or even snuff films. The porn that must be discussed could be called "abuse porn," "hate porn," or as I would argue, "rape porn." The creators of the websites Ghetto Gaggers, Facef*cking (formerly Facial Abuse), Latina Throats (formerly Latina Abuse), and Black on Black Crime, as all can see, describe their own content as "abuse" and "crime." They proudly describe what they are doing as "destroying" the women who are coerced or convinced to endure hours of intense cruelty. While Facial Abuse and Black on Black Crime show men attacking women of the same ethnicity, the other films combine openly hateful misogyny with racial humiliation that is truly creative in its cruelty.

These websites, collectively called "Ghetto Doorway," boast of being the most extreme "porn" content on the internet, and have been operating and making profit on real sexual abuse and racist degradation for over 10 years.

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These films are difficult or traumatic for many people to watch, but the sad truth is that they are nothing but our own culture's karmic waste. This type of "entertainment" came directly out of our own history and cultural legacy. From my perspective as a white man, for what it's worth, these films are a double atrocity. Pornographers, such as Max Hardcore, have brazenly committed such acts in commercial porn and have faced imprisonment. Within the context of our cultural history, there are few more painful historical traumas to provoke than the reign of terror white men enforced against black women for hundreds of years, both during and after slavery.

The men who commit these acts are aware of their own participation in this history, as shown by their hateful comments on film, texts on their websites, and their advertisement. The anonymous people who have seen these films know it too. One platform for outrage and discussion about abuse porn has been on message boards, in comments sections on porn videos -- places where one expects (and often finds) anonymous comments of the most depraved and hateful kind. The rape apologists and racist commenters are definitely out there in force, but one also often finds outraged comments about how these films are just plain rape, that they are acting out the brutality of enslavement on black women or that the white men perpetrating this must be stopped. It speaks volumes that these free porn video comments sections often contain more ethical responsiveness and determination for justice than nearly all media outlets have mustered in confronting abuse porn.

I have looked hard to find people speaking out about this issue on the internet and have found very few outside of Youtube, message boards and porn video comments sections. The people who have spoken out online are to be commended, as they have been facing the truth while the rest of the media ignores the depths of degradation that are becoming "normal." There are a number of others, especially concerned black folks, who have made thoughtful and helpful videos on Youtube that explain a lot about what this porn is doing to people and to their cultural dignity.

White radical academics like Gail Dines and Robert Jensen have done a great deal to expose porn culture and have written about extreme abuse in porn, revealing that more degrading content is continually being normalized. Where they lose a lot of readers is in their view that nearly all straight porn is irredeemably toxic. The danger in their anti-porn positions is that while gaining perspective on the widespread misogyny and objectification common to most porn culture, they lose the ability to separate out what is truly egregious and unacceptable from relatively acceptable content in porn today.

On the other side of the spectrum, many who respond to abuse porn completely abandon solidarity with these women and dehumanize them, thus allowing the unbearable abuse to be acceptable. This seems to be one of the secondary consequences of some men seeing these atrocities -- it becomes psychologically possible to witness that suffering if the survivor can be written off as unworthy of consent or too stupid to deserve support. Many commenters blame the women on film for their own abuse. Another common response to this racist porn seems to be to criticize black women in general for not speaking out and organizing a movement against websites like Ghetto Gaggers and Black on Black Crime. This backlash against black women is widespread on the internet and must be challenged in order to understand the situation from the perspective of liberation rather than of domination.

First of all, agreements signed under conditions of manipulation, coercion and poverty are not genuine statements of consent. Despite any prior agreement, consent is granted moment to moment and any use of force to resist consent is sexual assault. Anyone who has seen these films for a few minutes has probably witnessed this assault.

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Second, it is safe to assume that the majority of people who are even aware of this abuse are men and it is primarily the silence of most of these men that has allowed this horror to stretch on for more than a decade. The responsibility for action lies not on all black women, most of whom probably do not know this material exists, but with the millions of men who know exactly what happens in these films.

Third, black women have been leading struggles against white sexual terror like this for over a century. To blame black women as a whole for not stopping an insidious, hidden problem like racist porn is to ignore the perpetrators -- racist white men committing atrocious acts. Men who are quick to blame the women involved must remember that their own solidarity and integrity, not victim-blaming, can stop the degradation. White men who are aware of this abuse, like the present writer, are most responsible for ending the centuries of white male entitlement over the bodies of women of color -- not those women themselves.

Black Women Resist Rape as Racist Terror

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Thomas Anderson is a writer and researcher who lives near the Chesapeake Bay. He writes primarily about patriarchy, racism, and capitalism and is the creator of abuseisnotporn.org.

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Abuse Porn and White Sexual Terror