Where Racism Gets a Free Pass

In light of the events of this summer, there has been a public outcry with a greater sensitivity against racism in a wide variety of platforms. However, two areas in particular that have stayed in the shade are the pornography industry and the abortion industry. 

In 1994, SAGE Journal published a study on the link between racism and pornography. The study found that “black women were the targets of more acts of aggression than white women, and black men showed fewer intimate behaviors than did white men.” Generally there was less aggressive behavior in same-race interactions than in interracial sexual interactions.

The study was published over 25 years ago, but the problem has not abated. Pornhub’s annual report in 2019 shows racially stereotypical content as being top of the charts. Some sickening content reportedly includes slaves punished by their masters, white cops raping black women, and derrogatory slurs. An African American woman in the industry [as quoted in a Rolling Stone article] was once asked to pleasure multiple white men wearing Confederate flag shirts, while another worker recounted a time when the director asked black performers to wear prison uniforms. 

The director of “Black Bros and Asian Ho’s” was once asked if there was ever any criticism on the blatant racism in his film. “No, they are very popular,” he answered. The industry capitalizes on exploitation and sexualized racism, and yet you are not likely to find criticism in the mainstream media. Fortunately, some people are starting to catch on. For instance, Fight the New Drug is a nonprofit organization that provides a plethora of resources and encourages people to make an informed decision based on science and statistics. 

Another silent but deadly force in perpetuating racism is the abortion industry. As is now well known, America’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, was founded by  Margaret Sanger, who was friendly with the Ku Klux Klan. Sanger proudly promoted eugenics and deviously diminished the black population under the facade of women’s health. She furthered the Negro Project, a controversial initiative in 1939, and spoke of  “the gradual suppression, elimination and eventual extinction, of defective stocks — those human weeds which threaten the blooming of the finest flowers of American civilization.” A transcript of a letter from Sanger to a doctor reads, “We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.” 

The organization today, despite heralding support for the Black Lives Matter movement, carries on Sanger’s legacy by targeting black women, as evidenced by the strategic planning behind the placement of abortion clinics within minority neigborhoods. In fact, a 2012 study showed that 79 percent of Planned Parenthood’s abortion clinics are “located within walking distance of minority communities.” After the legalization of abortion in the US, according to economist Phillip Levine, minority births dropped by 15%, whereas white births just took a slight dip. Now, according to the Guttmacher Institute, the abortion rate is five times higher for African Americans than for whites. A 2016 CDC study discovered 38% of abortions were from the African American population, while African American females only make up 13% of the female population. For perspective, each year New York City has thousands more black babies aborted than born.

The abortion industry will likely never confess to a subtle form of racism; however, as history dictates, fewer regulations on abortion lead to the diminshing birth rates of minorities. Similarly, the pornography industry continues to get a free pass. If you have seen the news or social media in the past year, you may have noticed the zero tolerance rules applied to racist systems or the “cancel culture” in effect by celebrities, politicians, advertisements, etc. All the while, the pornography and abortion industries continue to thrive off of normalized and accepted forms of racism.  It is about time these industries are held accountable for their discrimination and disregard for the lives of persons of color. 

Published: September 14, 2020
Written by Clarissa Prisinzano, WYA North America intern