Race-play roll-up and ruminations.

You might not have known me back when I first started talking publicly about my experiences as a Black woman, into BDSM, as a submissive /slave identified person, who did scenes that incorporated and underscored racial issues in play.

If you did, you remember the flamewars, fights, humiliating rejection, condemnation and various hootenannies that fell out thereafter.  I never thought, lo these many years later, not only would these issues still be discussed but actually have tracked my progress and growth as a member of the Leather Community, teacher, speaker, writer and educator. Even more now than ever.

And so it goes.

I’m thicker-skinned these days, praise Ganesha.

I often receive messages from people asking me rather broad-stroke vague questions about this VERY challenging topic.

I got a very thoughtful and provocative email from someone who asked me a lot of really good questions.

I’m going to reprint the message below, while I think about how to respond.

Feel free to post your own thoughts. But keep it respectful or I’ll pinch you. Super hard.

Here are some posts to help you catch up on some of my thoughts on the issue…

Race Play Interview – Part I

Race Play Interview – Part II

Race Play Interview – Part III

Race Play Interview Part IV

And that link over there on the right is to the new Best Sex Writing book, due out very soon. I have an essay on this very topic in there, too. Just in case I missed SOMEONE having access to my insanity.

And, just in case you needed it, a cross-post from someone who thinks I’m full of shit on this topic:

Race Play: A Dissenting Viewpoint

Here is Jaki’s email…the one I’m currently mulling. I appreciate the POV of a POC wrestling with their own take, and her own process. I REALLY appreciate someone willing to share their process, since so many people still are insanely recalcitrant about this.

Thank you so much for taking a moment to let me ask you some extremely
personal questions.  I should start by saying that I’m one of those
Black bloggers who liked to write about how fucked up Race Play is and
how it’s hurting the Kink community.  My reasoning before was this:
Age play and Rape Play all have a specific level of make-believe
involved.  We can agree that no one is underage or actually being
raped.  But Race Play is different because if you let that person
in… can you ever really know they aren’t actually Racist?  Is there
a white person that you can let close enough to you to actually
believe that they can say these things so freely while you play and
then respect you afterwards?

I didn’t think so.

I think a lot of POC grow up feeling like every white person they meet
(good or bad) has a tiny curled up larvae in their stomachs.  And each
time they do or say something racist, it gets a little bigger.  It’s
this completely irrational thing because I understand mentally that it
doesn’t work that way.  But people treat Race Play like you’ll be in
the middle of a scene and some alien will burst out of their stomach

But I think that also speaks for the power of BDSM and it’s ability to
change lives.  Because if you’ve played at all, you can look back on
moments in scene where things just clicked and you were never the
same.  So we think Race + BDSM is some recipe for something too
powerful to be held on to.  I have this insane fear that some cheerful
liberal will do Race Play and then transform into some Neo Nazi
shortly ever.  Because that larvae, that everyone has that makes them
do and say and THINK those thoughts is always hungry.  We feed it
enough just by living in our society that reinforces negative
stereotypes.  Using those stereotypes in play?  How do you unpack

So I wanted to take a moment to ask you about it.  About how you can
talk about it so freely.  And any insight you can give me and other
POC would be greatly appreciated.

I guess the big question is?  How do you find other partners you can
do this with?  I think part of the reason my partner (who is white)
has such a problem with me exploring Race Play is that he feels…
well… cheated.  I made that man jump through hoops, read Race Theory
and educate himself on Race Politics.  In order to have a primary
relationship with him, I needed to know that he was pass basic 101
type conversations.  I need my partner to be able to dissect the real
meat of how Race affects me.  So in a way, he feels like, if I could
just get someone off the street to call me slurs while they fuck me…
he did all this work for nothing.  Because now he would respect me
less.  That hurts, ya know?  It hurts because it’s the same thing.  A
white people dictating how my sex life should be.  And even though
it’s different, part of me feels it’s not.  I am extremely into darker
kinks.  Most taboos that I don’t participate in don’t make me squick
any longer.

Except this.

Why?  Why can I rape and torture people for fun?  Why can I seduce
“littles” in my mind?  Why can I be a monster from some nightmare but
the idea of being a nigger makes me cry?  This topic has had a hold on
me.  It’s not even about needing to do it as a kink at this point.
It’s almost larger than that.  It’s like, “Why are POC programmed to
think racial things are the lowest of the low?”  Is it because it
related to the inherent worth of humanity?  Is it about humanity’s
attempts to explain itself by creating a human hierarchy?

Maybe this is more than you can answer.  In a way, I hope it is.  I
just would really like to hear your thoughts and see where this
conversation goes from there.


P.S. I tried to write numbers questions but it felt less honest so I
wrote this email instead.  I don’t mind if you cut it, use parts or
the whole.  You can mention my name or not.  I’d just love to hear
back from you.  Thank you.

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  1. Dev on November 18, 2009 at 1:42 PM

    I’m not sure the perspective of yet another white person is really helpful here, but, while I agree that I (unfortunately, shamefully) have racism inside of me, I don’t think it’s going to grow and sprout from my chest either. I think race play is even less likely to make me more racist than acting on sadistic impulses is to turn me into someone who wants to torture animals or unconsenting people.

    That said, I don’t think I could actually do race play, at least not black/white. Way too scary for me. I don’t really do that type of play anyway (I mean saying things that I don’t mean, being unkind, or humiliation, etc.) but it would be hard for me to have that much trust, and feel like I was trusted to that extent. Terrifying.
    .-= Dev´s most recent blog moment of Zen on the net was…boys in pajamas =-.

    • mollena on November 19, 2009 at 1:43 PM

      Hello, Dev!

      Thanks for checking this out :-)

      I do agree with the position that dong bdsm around race and cultural issues is unlikely to “make you more racist” but I can see where the fear of “permissioning” can grip people.

      And yeah…it absolutely IS terrifying.


      .-= mollena´s most recent blog moment of Zen on the net was…Rope rants. =-.

  2. Amy on November 18, 2009 at 9:18 PM

    your shy girl is back!

    That interview was amazing, so interesting and thought provoing! I think I’m finally “groking” it as Andrea said. This might be my youth speaking (just turned 26 last week) but what’s the big fucking deal? do people forget that this is called race PLAY, play being the operative word here? Your partners in these scenes aren’t really racists. You aren’t asking Klan members to come whoop on you. I think that being able to choose to play at these ideas and exploring the emotions in these scenes is a huge step forward more than anything. But most importantly i feel like this is YOUR (any anyone else who chooses to participate in race play) kink, and no one else gets to have an opinion on what gets YOU off.

    Big ups to you Mo, for being so brave and sacrificing your personal sanity to become the poster child for race play and in my opinion (if grokkers even get to have one) for personal freedom in the BDSM scene.


    • mollena on November 19, 2009 at 2:31 PM

      Yay! Welcome back, Amy :-D

      I’m gonna have to remember these responses the next time someone gets in my face about the play I do.

      I am so fine with people having opinions. Even expressing them to me. Even strongly. But the condemnation and pain of rejection and being ostracized, those I can live without!



  3. Mollena on November 20, 2009 at 10:22 AM

    OK…gonna take a break and drop that podcast on that “Race Play” email…get caught up here http://www.mollena.com/2009/11/race-play

    • controlenthused on November 20, 2009 at 10:27 AM

      @Mollena my last tweet was in response to your “another reason to fuck Geminis”, just so you know.

  4. […] out the post on race play inspired by Jaki, who sent me a message on FetLife and then motivated me to […]

  5. […] take a break and drop that podcast on that "Race Play" email…get caught up here http://www.mollena.com/2009/11/race-play/ […]