Sex & Race

When it comes to sexual preferences, most people have certain characteristics that they prefer to others. But where does it stop becoming a preference and become a fetish?


(Trigger warning: racism, sexualised racist violence)

There are certain “compliments” that Black women are used to hearing but are nonetheless uncomfortable with. For example, emphasising how exciting a date was because of my skin colour (“I’ve never had a thing with a Black woman”), the fetishization of some of my body parts (“I love your big lips”), or expecting an exceptionally high libido. It’s important to recognise that racism is hidden behind all of these seemingly “nice” compliments.

The connection between sex, race, and porn 

The arbitrary distinctions of people based on skin colour, religious belief and ethnic origin have deep historical roots. An easy example is the myth that certain racial groups are hypersexual and animalistic, a narrative used to justify the sexual coercion and exploitation of Black women during times of slavery.

Today, racist representations persist in the porn industry. What’s striking is that behaviours and depictions that would be considered unacceptable in mainstream movies, news or social media are often tolerated within the porn industry.

Racist Porn Stereotypes

The fetishization of race in porn is evident through the perpetuation of racist stereotypes, such as the violent Black man, the submissive Asian woman or the hypersexual Black woman. In the industry, it’s no secret that people of colour are often cast in roles that don’t reflect their actual identities. These representations contribute significantly to the fetishization experienced by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPoC) in everyday life.

There’s also a disturbing sexualization of real-world narratives in porn, as seen in “Border Patrol” scenarios where young women from Central America are depicted illegally entering the United States, facing sexual assault by border patrol officials, and then being deported. The demand for such representations is troubling, especially considering the harsh realities faced by countless migrants.

Anyone who’s heard of “Stuck” or “Santa Claus” porn knows how the porn industry sexualises EVERYTHING. In particular, Black women and women of colour face dehumanizing and intersectional forms of discrimination in this context. Terms like “Black Ghetto Freaks” in low-budget mainstream productions (Gonzo) highlight discriminatory levels of racism, sexism, and hypersexualization.

Desire, Othering, and Exoticization

The existence of porn categories like “Ebony”, “BBC/Big Black Cock”, or “Asian” highlights that certain fetishes are solely based on the race of performers. In categories such as “interracial,” sexual contact between individuals of different skin colours is depicted as taboo, perpetuating long-outdated notions. The demand for such racist representations in porn is noticeable, prompting the question of where this interest originates.One perspective from the mainstream porn industry suggests that these depictions fulfil fantasies, emphasizing that as long as performers are of legal age and consenting, virtually anything, even if considered taboo, is allowed in porn. So far, so good.However, another viewpoint connects the desire for non-white bodies to deeply rooted aspects of white society. This perspective reveals an ambivalent relationship between white and non-white individuals, marked by devaluation and dehumanization through racist ideologies. Black people and other people of colour are often perceived as “others” or opposites to white people, creating a representation of something “strange” that becomes desirable due to its difference.The process of “othering” involves treating or viewing someone as different, leading to the fixed stereotype of BIPoC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color). This fixed stereotype allows “white” people to perceive the “stranger” person’s behaviour as predictable to gain a familiar and controlled perspective. BIPoC can be attributed “exotic” characteristics, such as passion, joie-de-vivre or sexual potency, which are tied to an animal nature that is not typically associated with “whiteness”. This further contributes to the dehumanization and objectification of non-white individuals.Racist fetishization arises from the contradiction between demonisation and deification of the “others”. Do I fetishise? Almost everyone has a “type” of what they perceive as attractive. It’s essential to reflect on personal preferences and examine how these preferences may lead to justifying dating or not dating a particular “type” of person. What expectations do I have of a person based on their appearance? Can these expectations truly be justified?While having a physical “type” is common, it’s important to scrutinise biases and avoid perpetuating discriminatory attitudes. Pornography is a form of sex education; for many teenagers, it plays a role in shaping perceptions of sex. With teenagers watching their first porno at an average age of 14, the content in mainstream porn becomes influential in shaping ideas about sex. Boys often consume sex online long before they become sexually active themselves, thus porn largely shaping their idea of how sex should be. The porn industry should, therefore, take responsibility for ensuring that its content does not promote discrimination, violence or non-consensual acts.


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