The reason we don't hear more about Black serial killers is not because they don't exist. It's because their victims are rarely newsworthy enough to get the same amount of coverage as white victims.
This essay contains discussion of serial murder and r/pe. Please use discretion.
Even the most depraved and gruesome of the white serial killers who dominated headlines once upon a time continue to be intimately and sometimes even fondly explored through television, film, podcasts, and other forms of entertainment. The most prominent of these killers, who continues to dwell in the social imagination long after his execution, is Ted Bundy—idealized in a way that frames his crimes as more sophisticated than they really were and his acumen as more impressive than it really was.
Our culture’s framing of white serial killers like Bundy as tortured geniuses only serves to memorialize them while allowing their celebrity to overshadow the lives they stole. It’s irresponsible. As is this same culture’s neglect for the crimes committed by Black serial killers, so much so that many people continue to say they’ve “never heard of a Black serial killer” and the myth they don’t exist is regularly perpetuated. I bring these two things into conversation with one another because I believe their connection is significant. These two phenomena—both the glamorizing of white serial killers and the obscurity of Black serial killers—are so prevalent because white men are continually afforded humanity and individualism while Black men are pathologized as inherently violent and animalistic, and because society devalues the victims that Black serial killers primarily target.
The documentary “Unseen” (2016) focuses on the crimes of Anthony Sowell, a man who served fifteen years for a rape he committed in 1989. In early 2009, a woman named Gladys Wade filed a police report against him, stating that he had sexually assaulted her and tried to kill her. Despite there being visible bruises and blood on her neck, police called her claim “unfounded” and determined that there was “insufficient evidence” to make an arrest. In their report, Wade was described as “not credible” as a victim. That same year, Vanessa Gay was held hostage and raped by Sowell. She also found a decapitated body decomposing in his home. Gay managed to convince Sowell that she wouldn’t tell anyone about what he’d done if he let her go. She called the police to inform them about what had happened and what she had seen, but because she never filed an official police report, the incident was never investigated.
The whorephobia among incels is rooted in their disdain for the autonomy involved in women choosing to do sex work and their anxiety about women earning money from it on their own terms.
This essay contains discussion of the serial murder of sex workers
Whorephobia is older than the Bible. It's undoubtedly been around for as long as the sex work profession has. That's why it makes “cultural sense” that incels have directed a significant amount of their vitriol at women who do sex work. Incels are a violent hate group of male supremacists, intent on terrorizing the world because they lack the sex lives they feel they are owed. But let's be clear, sex is not what incels want the most. What they want is total dominion over women, and they understand sex as a tool of male dominance, because they are misogynistic extremists at their core.
The whorephobia among incels is rooted in their disdain for the autonomy involved in women choosing to do sex work and their anxiety about women earning money from it on their own terms. This is why David Wu organized a mass reporting of sex workers to the IRS this past week, declaring that these women are “getting a free ride via beta bux and a broken sexual marketplace that is rigged in the favour of females.” This is just the latest instance of incels throwing very public tantrums. They are nothing if not petulant, and violent.
I've written about how notorious serial killers Edmund Kemper and David Berkowitz both admitted to their proto-inceldom, identifying their inability to form relationships with women as the reason for their killing sprees. I'm willing to bet this motivation is more common among serial killers than we are currently aware, but one confirmed common motivation among them is whorephobia. Earlier this year, a man named Juan David Ortiz was arrested and charged with the murders of four sex workers, but I believe it's likely there have been more murders that he may or may not confess to in the future. As a border agent for over 10 years, who sometimes worked with human trafficking survivors, he almost certainly used this position of authority as a way to target victims. This man is no anomaly, unfortunately. Gary Ridgway, Robert Pickton, Robert Hansen, Darren Deon Vann, Shelly Andre Brooks, Antwan Maurice Pittman, the Long Island Serial Killer, Peter Sutcliffe, and of course the infamous Jack the Ripper, and more all targeted sex workers. These are just some of the names that we know of. Google them at your own discretion.
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