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The impact of Pornography on Black America


Maybe the second part is an exaggeration. Regardless, sex is a popular activity that sells billions in merchandise from movies to condoms to magical growth pills, and even erotic costumes. Sex is said to be the number one trade in the world, making thousands rich, thousands poor, and a few other thousand sick.

Despite its dangers of being unprotected, sex knows no boundaries and is a lover of all kinds. Its infectious personality makes it easy for people from all walks of life fight for it, pay for it, dream about it, fantasize about it, and fervently seek it. Some would say it is God’s greatest invention.
But is America, Black America oversexed?

When the Internet slithered into just about every American home, office, and even schools, a world of endless possibilities opened up. Everything is at everyone’s fingertips, with no age, gender, or race discrimination. So sex found a new avenue to get its message out to the masses.

Consequently, pornography became more accessible, and in some cases even made sex free. Now everyone is doing it … looking at porn that is. No group is left out. African Americans have made their mark in the industry, starting up Black-owned production companies and talent agencies.

Now more than ever, there is a growing niche market for Black porn. But this development is not without its challenges.

According to Joanne Cachapero with Free Speech Coalition, the voice for the adult film industry, pornography rakes in anywhere between $1 to 4 billion and $12 to 14 billion a year. She said it is difficult to really track the amount of money made due to amateur porn and the various private companies not required to report their financial records. At any rate, sex sells.

Cachapero also explained that regardless of the lucrative nature of the business, African Americans are still at the bottom of the barrel, with women being worse off.

“The men on the ethnic side tend to be more famous. The girls … it’s not typical for them to be attached to a major studio,” Cachapero said, adding that Black women are usually not contracted. She thinks studios want to keep a certain image with the typical porn chick that is White and blonde. Black women don’t fit their standards.

“Certainly in the realm of Hip-Hop, a lot of guys want to attach themselves to that naughty connotation,” she said. “The ethnic market (exists). They still buy CDs and DVDs. I don’t know why they don’t exploit that market more.”

Porn star, writer, and producer Mr. Marcus shared his perspective on the matter. He said porn is a reflection of society. It reveals culture, trends, and various perspectives, as times change. In the industry for more than 16 years, he has also seen progress for African Americans.

“I saw racism early. They had a huge problem with Black men working with White men … But when it was Black women working with White men, it wasn’t a problem,” he said, noting that there are still some challenges with Black men working with White women. Mr. Marcus added that the pay is different too.

“It’s f***ed up, but yeah … I think it’s because as Blacks, we are willing to take the lower pay. That’s when the problem continues.”

He pointed out that a Black female actress is likely to get paid at least $100 less than a White female actress.

Putting a price tag on adult film actors and actresses appears demeaning. Mr. Marcus laughed while discussing the prices, acknowledging that when dollar amounts are put next to a name, people become products.

That is when a little morality settles in. The adult film industry is a sex business that some believe ultimately affect the human spirit.

Hal Fairchild Ph.D., professor of psychology and Black studies at Pitzer College says pornography is detrimental to all people, and more severely impacts Black people.

“Pornography is mis-education regarding human sexuality. The sex acts are for the cameras, not for the persons involved. In this sense, pornography cheapens the human condition, and male/female relationships, by depicting sex on a purely physical (and often violent) plane,” Fairchild explained. “Women are made objects, robbing them of their human dignity.”

In furthering the dehumanization of Black people, the professor said porn, including the pornographic characteristics of Hip-Hop music, brings us back to chattel slavery, presenting Black men and women as objects to be bought and sold.

Specifically noting White men having sex with Black women on camera, he said this type of porn “harkens to an earlier epoch when the rape of Black women was routine, and unpunished. It re-instills and reinforces the ideology of White male supremacy. It makes the Black woman an object of lust. It confirms stereotypes in the White community.”

Mr. Marcus does not necessarily agree that pornography is bad for the Black community, however he did mention that it is no less defaming than rap music.

“I think it’s a part of our (Black) culture; we are (very) sexual … I don’t think (porn) affects us any differently than any other product,” the actor said. He added that although porn appears nasty and extreme, it has its potential. “At the same time, there is a possibility to transcend all of that s*** and make it more artistic and beautiful.”

Fairchild is quite adamant about his position regarding porn in the Black community. He also stated that this kind of business is damaging to the human spirit. He said viewers and actors bring themselves to an animalistic low.

“The viewer is getting some cheap thrills, and substituting real interactions for cathartic ones,” the professor said. “The viewer and the performer are capitulating to the rapacious sexual appetite of American popular culture. Both are contributing to their own dehumanization.”

Sex will never go away, because humans must continue to procreate. And although the objectification of sex may be seen as repugnant to some, it will continue to thrive, as it has for centuries, bringing temporary satisfaction to millions.