Race Porn - Part 1

You see it every day. A new clip is posted to YouTube, Facebook, twitter or some other social platforms every few seconds. Every news broadcast whether local or national includes a story that contains it. It consistently floods your social stream of consciousness. It is, Race Porn

 

This article is designed to help us understand the impacts of the obscene nature all the images, videos and media content depicting African people being subjected to the horrors of white supremacy. When you see it, call it what it is, race porn. If we begin to classify it with the correct terminology, we can place the necessary guardrails on how it should be treated and distributed. From all the African murders at the hands of the police captured on mobile phones, and local and national news outlets showing the graphic beating of the cops abusing a Black woman, to ‘World Star’ fights showing us at our worst; this media is obscene and should be handled with caution and reverence. This article may serve as a starting point to an important conversation on how this content should be handled. I encourage people to participate, comment and share this article to begin this important conversation.

 

How it all began

On March 3, 1991, Gregory Holliday began recording with his video camera on his balcony an event that would change the world as we know it. He was able to capture the raw brutality of the Los Angeles police department as they tased, clubbed, punched and kicked a Black man for speeding. Mr. Holliday began recording after the assault had already begun and captured 50 plus baton stokes, numerous kicks, and several shots from multiple tasers. Rodney King survived the attack and if it had not been recorded, the incident would have remained a figment of black people’s imagination. The video exposed something that was plausibly explained away in police reports that painted a very different picture than the reality captured on the video. The video captured more than the violence because it captured the joyful inhumanity and pleasure the pigs took in their onslaught. Throughout the video you can see the officers standing off to the side almost cheering when one of the officers completes his turn a delivering his combinations of swings, and lets another have is turn at the sporting game.

 

Since that fateful moment there has been an increasing stream of similar and even more graphic recordings of these brutal attacks on the African inhabitants throughout the snakes. One could surmise the increase is only due to the fact that it has become easier to capture these acts because of the proliferation and advances in technology (video enabled smart phones) compounded by our appetites on social media outlets. The Rodney King recording and subsequent trial exonerating the 50+ officers involved caused a city to go up in flames, with rebellions erupting throughout the country. The incident arguably served as a catalyst for the Los Angeles community that forged a truce between rivaling gangs, with countless community organizations being created. In addition, existing organizations became revitalized and reenergized with a renewed enthusiasm to continue building a better community. But how has the effluxion of this race porn on mainstream and social media outlets impacted our community today?

 

Today these graphic images and videos depicting these brutal inhumane acts seem to serve a different purpose. They no longer serve to merely expose the horrific nature of the relationship between the African community and the various police (state sanctioned) agencies. There are thousands of accounts of this brutality seen by millions of people; exposure is no longer necessary. This capture and sharing phenomenon exists and happens daily all over this country. Beyond the well documented accounts captured on video, the Malcolm X Grass Roots Movement has produced a well-documented account that exposes the fact that every 26 hours a person of color is killed or murdered by a police, government or security agency. To deny or not acknowledge that the relationship between the African community and the police agencies is at best flawed, and at its worst reached a critical state requiring emergency attention on the part of the federal government (or the United Nations) as well as humanity as a whole is equivalent to criminal neglect.

 

Pornography and obscenity defined

The images and smartphone videos shared on social networks and media outlets have evolved to a pornographic state and serve a different purpose when consumed by the masses. First lets understand the definition or root of the term pornography. There are two widely understood definitions of ‘Pornography.’ There is the dictionary definition and the legal definition. They are both very similar in nature but the legal definition is broader and necessary for two very important reasons. The first reason is political and to a lesser extent religious. Political because the very nature of subjecting a society or population to a believe system is executed through political means, via laws, elections, propaganda, and governmental influence. The other reason is to protect the public. In essence, most societies have agreed that pornography can be obscene. While in the United States, the line is a little blurry when you look at freedom of speech, freedom of expression and obscenity. Hence the reason for the legal definition. Pornography is legal and to a small degree regulated, however obscenity is not protected nor legal. The courts are firm on the understanding that the general public shall not be subjected to obscenity. It’s the line that pornography cannot cross, like child porn, sex with animals and other acts that any community or society deems obscene. While pornography is well defined, obscenity is a very subjective term. To identify what is obscene you have to ask the community that is viewing it if it is worthy of the label. In order for something to be obscene it must present a detriment to the community being subjected to the material.

 

One common definition of pornography is, "the depiction of acts in a sensational manner so as to arouse a quick intense emotional reaction." This definition explains why pornography is so popular and at the same time so vilified by communities throughout the world. It’s necessary to take a slightly closer look at the pornography industry, to understand it's impact on societies. First and foremost, the appetite for pornography has always fueled R&D budgets across many industries. Video recording technology exploded when the pornography industry discovered the faster, cheaper alternative to film to produce their product. That same appetite certainly incentivized countless manufacturers to jump into the video player market, including Sony, Phillips, Sharp, Sears etc. Next came the DVD replacing the video cassette, increasing the distribution and profit margins with the cheaper production and distribution channel. The moment the internet came on the scene, pornographic material dominated the traffic constituting ~30% of all internet traffic.

 

This has always been a known and understood as a dirty little secret to the industries that capitalize off the insatiable appetite. It’s not just the pornography industry with it’s producers, distributers, directors and performers that benefit, the secret is all the squeaky clean companies that benefit significant revenue from the products being produced. That being said, you can’t be mad at them for ‘satisfying’ what the market will bear right? Video recording manufactures, web hosting companies, content delivery networks, clothing companies, and many more all have a financial stake in the industry, while at the same time sell other product in Target, Walmart and other consumer outlets without ever disclosing how much revenue they generate from this specific industry. Why is it a secret? They can’t disclose because there is a dark side to the industry. One that is not so sexy, that’s filled with the destruction of individuals and families. Performers in the industry have a difficult time making a transition out of the industry into other things. It’s not quite like removing a tattoo, because you cannot erase video that has been physically distributed (and copied), as well as on the internet. It’s permanent. We’ve all heard the adage, too much of anything can be bad, it’s called addition.

 

Pornography addiction can and does destroy lives and families.

Beyond the obvious detrimental things that this addiction can do to people there is one in particular that is important to point out. This addiction can cause people to become desensitized from sexual human interaction. Porn is no longer just a fantasy, where it becomes the only form of sexual expression that will satisfy the person. Real intercourse no longer satisfies, in order to “feel” they must use porn. The same is true with race porn. People have become desensitized to the brutality. The barrage of videos streaming to you on your phone, computer and television has made this phenomenon an acceptably reality for African people. The acceptance is exemplified when after viewing a horrible video with a young black woman’s civil and human rights being violated by police officer (slave catcher) on Facebook, the only thing people actually do is post a comment, acknowledging that it’s wrong, but do nothing to actually organize and change the systemic problem. In fact, it seems for the most part the only time people become activist at this point is when the brutality comes knocking on their door, and impacts their family. While the fraternity of African families that have had family members killed or brutalized by the police steadily grows, it still only represents a small percent of our population in this society. The rest of us need to step up and do more than make comments on social media.

 

Race porn is EVERYWHERE, which is easy to prove by doing a few simple keyword searches on the internet like ‘police brutality’, ‘racist cop’, ‘police beating’, ‘Black man shot by cop’, ‘cop beats black woman’, ‘police terrorism’, ‘cops out of control’. Race porn also includes the deviant and violent behavior when it comes to so called 'Black on Black' crimes and assaults. The website World Star Hip Hop has become one of the largest collection of race porn. Witnessing one of these altercations while recording almost requires someone in the crowd to shout, “World Star!” at the moment someone gets knocked out, or a man slaps a woman, or a teenager punches an old lady in the face, or two girls fighting and a wig or weave gets snatched out, or a group of teenage boys gang up on someone and stomp them to sleep. I could go on, and on, but the point is made. World Star Hip Hop is obscene, and should not exist for general, public consumption, particularly because the content is distributed without context, care or correction. The content should not be freely available for the general public, because it is detrimental to our community. While they may have a ‘right’ to exist, there should be some regulations that exist to protect the general public, just as there are for sexual pornography. In both cases where Black people are being abused by white cops or other black people the recording and viewing of such material is obscene and should be treated as such. Mainstream media outlets have long held a double standard when it comes to race porn and other obscene material. You will never see a US soldier being slaughtered on your nightly news station, or even a plane full of caskets. You'll never see (intentionally) a police officer being murdered or shot. You'll never see a little white girl being abused, unless it is a black person inflicting the abuse.

 

Is there any value in these recordings?

Of course, but only with the proper context, taste and caution. The content should only be distributed with careful guard and appropriate context. Mainstream news organizations should use the same reverence they afford to the military and the rest of the population. Their judgment is flawed when showing race porn and they should be checked when they do show it. All it takes is the public to deem it so. If they receive a single call or communication indicating they have published content that is considered obscene, they must comply or they are in violation of FCC rules. If 300 people call a station and publicly shame that station (via social media and other outlets) for airing race porn, they would be forced to stop airing it, and would be morally required to publicly apologize for airing the content.

 

Why is race porn so pervasive?

It is pervasive for the same reason as sex pornography. There is an appetite for it, and people will pay money to see it. In fact, race porn has gone Hollywood. It’s actually always been there, with a steady stream of movies that depict this brutal relationship with Black people being subjected to inhumanity. What’s worse about these polished movies is that it would be too much to just show historically accurate depictions of the abusive and the inhumane relationship between white supremacy and African people. In order to make the story palatable to white people (therefore marketable), it is always necessary to show the ‘humanity’ that exist in the white characters performing the brutal acts against black people like the benevolent slave master in the historic television series 'Roots'. Unlike the reality, where white cops cheer as they beat a black man almost to death and then later an all white jury lets them all walk free, Hollywood needs to inject a white hero that shows compassion for black people. You know, Mathew Mconnahay in A Time to Kill, Tom Hanks in The Green Mile, Brad Pit in Twelve Years a Slave, Gene Hackman in Mississippi Burning, Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mocking Bird, Michelle Fiffir in Dangerous Minds, Jim Beluchy in Teacher, Robber Redfort in Brubaker. You can find a longer list here on Wikipedia, White savior narrative in film, but there are many, many more.

 

Not everyone views this material with horror and disgust. We should not pretend that there isn't a segment of the population that views this material with joy. All you need to do is view the comments made by racist bigots where ever the content is posted. For them, race porn serves as a confirmation that African people will remain the prey for hunting police keeping them at bay from their communities. It provides the necessary proof that white supremacy is still supreme. If all of a sudden the news began to stop showing the disheveled mug shot of the black man who just committed a crime, and only showed the same of white men and women, it would cause them to perceive that their society is coming unraveled into chaos. Race porn depicting the horror of African reality is and has historically been necessary to maintain supremacy. You know, 'White man's heaven, is a Black man's hell.'

 

How, and why is Race Porn detrimental?

Race porn is common place now, where new material is distributed on a daily bases, on social media, mainstream news, and professionally produced content in the film and television industries. This prevasive distribution and missuse has made it socially acceptable. We have become a society that has accepted the fact that the brutality that African people are subjected to, whether inflicted by state sanctioned agencies or other African people is something that we are willing to remain as a part of our consciousness and reality. In many respects, we have become callouses and desensitized to the content, where it's hardly 'shocking' and almost expected. While the proliferation of race porn does at times cause outrage that is expressed through public demonstrations, marches, rallies and in some cases rebellions, the State (Government) has done nothing to address the phenomenon beyond investigations, and the formation of committees to "address" the problem, with no material action to exact justice.

 

What can/should we do?

Stop sharing race porn, and if you do share it, be respectful and show only what is necessary to establish the necessary facts of the circumstances that lead to event. There is a time and place to show it. When Mamie Till demanded that her son Emmitt Till's casket remain open during his funeral she was making a point, and wanted to ensure the world understood what those devils did to her child. The recent Facebook live stream from Diamond Reynolds recording the aftermath of her fiancé’s murder was done for her own protection to ensure there some account of the reality of what happened, and not just the typical contrived and prescribed concoction we get from the police after they murder a Black person. These two examples as well as many others, does not excuse 99.99% of the inappropriate race porn that is shown for public consumption. Our society needs to handle this content with reverence and respect. Before sharing, ask yourself if sharing will actually produce any positive change or results. Before commenting, ask yourself if your comment includes specific actions on what can be done by yourslef and others to make positive change. We need to organize our collective understanding of this phenomenon and control how we use it, as well as demand that others use it with the same reverence as any other obscene content. Target those media outlets that distribute race porn without regard and demand they stop, or at least add the proper context. Explaining or warning the audience that they are about to see something very graphic and should remove children seconds before showing it is not enough. We need to check them, and check ourselves to ensure that this content is handled with care. Always include the appropriate context with its distribution. And finally, let’s start calling it what it is, Race Porn.

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