I didn't grow up admiring white collar professionals. I adulated hustlers - anyone who earned money independent of white supremacy.
A lot of times I feel like transplants, especially those who work for non-profits, come to Oakland on a mission - eager to help undo what they see as wrong about this city. They define street hustlers through their fear, because they fail to a) understand our culture and b) they don't realize how important it is for Black people to gain economic independence.
But pimps are a integral part of Oakland culture. They are revered - considered even magical.
It's counterproductive to put white frameworks on Black experiences. Unprogram your brain to instinctively disregard pimps as a negative force. Try to understand the stress that white evil applies to Black communities. Make the effort to consider the hope that they inspire of escaping poverty. They create their own narrative - a highly entertaining storyline that walks the line between fiction and nonfiction - in order to affect change.
And let me clear: there are rules. Sex trafficking children is an eternal sin. I would never condone that - under any circumstances.
But in my opinion, the relationship between pimps and adult sex workers is a dynamic too complex for mainstream analysis.