Read the full article by Zoe Samudzi at Broadly.Vice.com

In porn, “cuckold” describes a genre in which men watch their partners have sex with other men. The sex itself happens in a number of ways, and the white women involved come in many different characters. Some of them are taunting and caricatural “snow bunny” white women whose appetite for Black men seems insatiable. Others are classic sexual stock characters, doe-eyed and virginal girls-next-door types, and others still are somewhere in between.

The interracial cuckolding genre breathes life into the truism that some kind of sexual attraction, openly acknowledged or not, is often a component of racial contempt. And the genre’s Black thug–filled storylines make clear that this attraction is not simply sexual desire, but an evocation and fetishism of historically racist tropes that allow for a contained witnessing of Black male sexual prowess that white men simultaneously loathe, fear, and envy.

My email interview with Tyler Knight, a Black male ex-porn actor and author of Burn My Shadow: A Selective Memory of an X-Rated Life, confirmed that Black male performers in mainstream porn are often trapped within these rigid racial dynamics. Knight says that 95 percent of his approximately 1,000 career scenes have been “interracial” and that he’s gone “upwards of a year without seeing another black person on a set.” For Knight, the blurring of on- and off-screen racism comes partially from knowing that some non-Black female performers charge “above and beyond their typical quote to work with a Black male”—a premium known as an “interracial rate.”

In a 2016 interview, porn scholar Mireille Miller Young described the premium as pay “to counter any possible devaluing [white women performers] may experience due to their involvement in the interracial porn market, [or] because they say that black men have penis sizes that require much more labor-intensive work on their part.” And a white female acquaintance of mine with experience in the industry told me that while she was performing, she could have charged twice her normal rate per sex act simply if her scene partner were a Black man, and even more if she was willing to do anal. She also noted a double standard: “Black female performers obviously can’t charge more for working with white men.”

 

Once again, on-screen anti-Blackness in pornography bleeds into the material world: Allowing the production of content aimed to fulfill racist white sexual fantasies not only contributes to the creation and recycling of anti-Black imagery, but it actually works to structure the porn industry in a way that robs Black performers of opportunities for equal pay.
As Knight wrote to me: “If racism is woven into the fabric of American society, then it is the very warp and weft of threads which constitutes porn.”