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…
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:
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
and devour you. SO DON’T DO IT. WHATEVER YOU DO. THE RACISM WILL
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
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.