Whore Next Door: Black and White and Nude All Over

Racism is still rampant in the world of porn.

(Photograph by Isabel Dresler/Isabeldresler.com)

“Hey dude, my IR contract is up soon, so we can finally shoot together,” a White woman casually says to my friend, who is Black.

It was just another summer Friday night, sipping La Croix and unwinding after porn shoots and politics with some fellow sex workers, but suddenly, there it was: racism once again ruining everything. “IR” refers to “interracial,” meaning content that features sex between Black men and White women.

My mouth falls open, as if this White woman hadn’t just said something that effectively means, “Hey dude, I signed a contract saying I wouldn’t work with Black men for a certain amount of time, so I could profit off perpetuating the notion that White women are less valuable once they have sex with Black people — a racist practice that only contributes to the violence and discrimination that people of color face daily. But once that contract is up in a few months, we should totally bone!”

She didn’t notice my friend and I bristle and try to catch each other’s eye, and soon she was sitting in his lap and running her fingers over his head, marveling at the texture of his hair was and saying he kind of looked like a ’90s R&B star — my eyes bugged out of my skull. I didn’t know that there were still White people out there that think it’s OK to do things like that, but as Trumpism rises and police officers continue to face minimal consequences for the systematic slaughter of people of color, it was naive of me to think that was the case. There is no denying that racism is alive and well in the United States, and can be found in even the most progressive of circles.

The Adult Performer Advocacy Committee has been hard at work campaigning against Proposition 60, and yet amid the chaos of the election season, APAC has elected and sworn in a new board and released a groundbreaking statement condemning racial discrimination within the industry.

The board now boasts three passionate performers of color. Mickey Mod, who grew up in Oakland, has been a performer and filmmaker in the industry for more thana decade. Outspoken blogger and activist Verta (often called Per Verta), who says she joined the adult-film industry partially because “a career in porn seemed like the right path toward being a professional writer,” has also joined the team as secretary. And Venus Lux, who was born and raised in San Francisco, is of Chinese descent, and has garnered the title of AVN/XBix Transsexual Performer of the Year numerous times now serves as Treasurer. She has already started hosting fundraisers for the committee, and the new leadership has been quick to action.

In a statement released on Sept. 19, the APAC board said it is “aware that using race as a determining factor in work and pay rate has become common business practice.”

Racism in the adult industry is about more than titles like “Black Wives Matter” and fetishizing sex between White women and Black men, as it is done inside the “interracial” genre.

White women are often able to ask for two times the money they would receive for shooting with a White man, a practice that often results in male performers of color being disenfranchized.

The statement goes on to say, “Treating a performer’s race as a determining factor for pay is a violation of performer rights as well as a violation of federal workplace discrimination laws.”

Though APAC doesn’t necessarily have the power to force producers and agents to change their business practices, starting an industrywide conversation about the racist elephant in the room was a necessary step, even as the adult performer community is unifying to to defeat the outside force of Prop. 60, which proposes mandatory condom use on set.

“Although APAC supports and respects the personal choices that performers make when it comes to rates, scene partners, and types of scenes to work in, we feel choosing to work with someone based on race as a business practice has a negative impact on the performer community. It is important to keep in mind that scene partners are not simply personal sex partners on set; they are co-workers. It is not an acceptable practice in any other industry to choose who someone works with solely based on race.”

As we ask for legislators and the public to respect our industry, we must concurrently look inward and dismantle the oppressions within our own community, lest our enemies use our weaknesses as a way to discredit us.

During a time of great uncertainty and blatant racism, I am proud to be a part of a community that challenges itself to do better.

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