Week 10 Day 1 Discussion Question 2

Ashlee Marie Preston writes:

Ashlee Marie Preston writes:

Black trans women are tired of being cast in everyone’s trauma porn. It shouldn’t take our murders or viral videos of us being berated, humiliated, and brutally beaten while bystanders pull out their phones to capture the consumption of our dignity for you to have compassion for us. We are not caricatures but real people with hopes, dreams, and aspirations.

Do you agree with Preston that Black trans women are often depicted as caricatures in “trauma porn”?  What other kinds of visibility and solidarity might be useful to support the hopes , dreams, and aspirations of Black trans women?

2 thoughts on “Week 10 Day 1 Discussion Question 2

  • April 18, 2022 at 2:15 pm

    I agree with Preston’s statement that Black trans women are often depicted as caricatures in “trauma porn.” Trauma porn is exceptionally problematic for marginalized groups such as black trans women, as often stories are not reported to bring awareness to their struggles but rather to gain media attention and views. Trauma porn is unethical and exploitive as non-marginalized groups benefit from the horrific things that happen to groups like Black trans women. Black trans women and their struggles are only talked about by mainstream media when they are the victims of crimes, and their day-to-day struggles are not otherwise acknowledged. I think it would be much more beneficial for mainstream media to bring attention to people like Ashlee Marie Preston and tell the stories of black trans women. She struggled to maintain a job and was homeless due to her identity. Preston also states that often, when victims are talked about, they are framed negatively and use herself as a hypothetical example. She says, “They’d erase my plight by using respectability politics to highlight that I was on drugs and a sex worker, and ultimately say that my murder was the result of poor decision-making.” This statement shows that victims are often blamed for what happens to them, which further shows that “trauma porn” has a really negative effect on black trans women. If the media really wanted to help black trans women, they could tell the stories of people like Ashlee Marie Preston and the struggles she had to endure because of her identity. They also could show some of the statistics we looked at in class last Wednesday that show how transgender people of color are at high risk of being victims of fatal violence.

  • April 17, 2022 at 6:12 pm

    Ultimately trauma porn serves to sensationalize the injustices against marginalized groups with the hopes of capturing media and public attention. As these images, videos and stories are spread throughout society with the injustices themselves serving a secondary role, the victims featured in the videos are often dehumanized while their trauma takes the spotlight. According to Preston, it’s clear that the black trans women community is marginalized to a greater extent and often isolated in comparison. Trauma porn, as a result, tends to affect black-trans women to a greater degree as the violences committed against them serve as the way to engage an audience, while the victims themselves are seen as an accessory or character in the media. When considering the figures Preston shares on black-trans women unemployment, homelessness and likeliness to be victims of sexual assault, the disparity between black-trans people and other members of the trans community becomes clear. Ultimately, educational resources to help not only spread awareness, but teach society on transgender ideology and injustices committed against trans people, will prove to be the best resources to support black trans women. Society must see and recognize them as people, and their stories as valid. The media also has a responsibility to share the stories of victims on the injustice they face and the motives behind them.

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