In the last week, there has been a ridiculous preponderance of racism within the “sex positive” community. Now, racism is ridiculous in and of itself. It has permeated every facet of our culture. However, this racism is beyond blatant, and yet, people within the supposedly allied gay leather community, and the porn community (including a “feminist” identified white cis male porn star) are saying that it is NOT racism, and wouldn’t it be so nice if those angry people of color (and white allies) who are calling it out would just shut the hell up about it, because it is making them uncomfortable that they support, and are amused by/turned on by, something that is racist.
Case #1: Yellow Face in the Burning Angel Parody of the Walking Dead XXX Parody.
First reported by Jezebel here: http://jezebel.com/5980498/walking-dead-porn-parody-relies-on-yellowface. Basically, director Joanna Angel (who has identified as a feminist, and actually done some great things to change the face of porn, and women’s roles in it) decides to put yellow face on actor Danny Wylde, including yellow make up and taped up eyes (yes, people actually do this). I’d assume that everyone would be like “whaaaaa? That’s fucking racist!” Until later, when I saw this: http://business.avn.com/articles/video/BurningAngel-Racist-What-Jew-Talkin-Bout-Jezebel-506028.html#.UQsvDjK_Tpg.twitter. Summation? Apparently, Joanna Angel cannot possibly racist because she’s Jewish. Um. I’m Jewish, and putting someone in yellow face is racist. Period. If for some reason, you couldn’t find a porn start who was ACTUALLY Asian, why not just throw a hat on the actor and call it a day. Since when is porn concerned about being 100% accurate to the script? Alas, it gets worse. Danny Wylde, the actor in question, writes this post: http://trvewestcoastfiction.blogspot.com/2013/01/where-i-try-to-explain-why-i-look-like.html?m=1 about why he looks like an asshole (which he does), and say he’s a feminist (which he’s not – racism is NOT a feminist trait), and then goes on to cisplain/mansplain/whitesplain about how it’s ok, because he plays a rapist on kink.com, but isn’t really, so it’s ok. He never even offers a full apology. A small faction of the porn and a larger faction of the sex positive community went (rightly) up in arms about this incredibly racist act, and they’ve been told that it’s porn, calm the fuck down, and it’s not really racism, because I mean, it’s not like black face or anything. ALERT: It IS racism. Period. And if you support racist acts, you are perpetuating racism. The end.
Case #2: The Portland Eagle leather bar books incredibly racist, classist and sexist drag queen, and then when the community calls them out, they support their decision, and invite folks to attend said performance for dialogue.
Read all about it (including a video link to said fucked up performance) here on Mollena’s blog: http://www.mollena.com/2013/02/blackface-still-racist-yall/. Based on the previous case of yellow face where people flat out said that it wasn’t racist because it wasn’t black face, then clearly, this is flat out racism, right? Because it’s black face. And making fun of “welfare queens” and women, and mothers, and anyone of color, and the list goes on. CLEARLY, this one is racism and shouldn’t everyone in the marginalized gay community stand up to say this is unacceptable? HA. No. People speaking out against this are now classified as “oh, they’re just Angry Black Women” (um, which they have every right to be given this situation) as compared to community members who are calling out blatant racism. I’m Angry Woman about this issues, and I am not Black. I am white. And guess what, I still calling out fucking racism when I see it. And anyone who tries to defend this act as funny? Guess what. People also think sexist, ableist, homophobic, ageist, classist, etc jokes are funny, but it doesn’t make them any less fucked up. It doesn’t make them any less sexist, ableist, homophobic, ageist, classist, etc. If you like racist jokes, fine – that is your right. But don’t pretend for one second that it ISN’T actually racist. And when your own community members (did I mention that Mollena was International Ms. Leather in 2010?) are telling you that this is messed up and unacceptable, telling them to be quiet, or withdrawing friendships, is not ok. Moreover, if you identify as inclusive, or feminist, or an ally of any sort, say that you’re not going to get involved, or you don’t “comment on these type of things” is ridiculously cowardly. Would you be silent if another type of club booked a comedian that talked about how messed up queer folk and kinky folk were? Would you be silent if someone was beat up for their identity? I would hope not. Remaining silent in this situation is no less cowardly. As Audre Lorde once said, Your silence will not protect you.
I have so much more to say, but it is this is devolving into just a rant, and that is not helpful from me. The people who agree with it know how fucked up these two situations are. I call for other allies, particularly those with white privilege (like myself), to bring more attention to these issues, and to call our community out. It is our responsibility to call out racism and support our brothers and sisters of color. They should not have to be the ones putting themselves on the line about racism, but they almost always are. It is our turn to support them and make sure our communities know that this is absolutely not ok.