Most of the people who post opinions contrary to mine on race play do not take the time to articulate much. As I mention, I take into account the opinions and feeling of dissenters whenever I speak or present on the topic.
I am posting here, unedited, and with the express written permission of the original author, LeatherTBird3, the following blog entry that he additionally cross-posted in response to the Race Play Interview conducted by Andrea Plaid.
I have great respect for ALT’s Senior Editor Mollena Williams in many aspects and on many levels. I can certainly acknowledge and admire the courage required to broach the sensitive subject of “race play” in her recent editorial INTERVIEW BDSM and playing with Race Sr Editor Mollena Williams interviewed by Andrea Plaid Parts 1 and 2. This is a hard subject for me. My own particular brand of “PC” dictates that someone’s kink is their kink and that is to be respected. We cannot control the way we are wired or what flips that switch in us. If I were to be pilloried for all the sick shit that goes through my “heads,” it would be a worse tribulation for me than have been the inequities I have endured due to my race.
That said, whatever turns someone on, that hurts no one else, is none of my business unless I am invited to join. However, I’m just not so sure that “race play” hurts no one else. Furthermore, I am not sure if “race play” alleviates the human need to be culturally and/or ethnically superior by working through it in the realm of fantasy, or simply perpetuates this flaw in the human design that has produced the ugliest of atrocities in our history.
In part 1 of the interview Mollena suggests that fear is what makes the practice of race “play” taboo. I beg to differ with she whom I hold in high esteem. I simply do not have the heart to “play” at that which is still so real in the human psyche and is still a real live affliction suffered by many. This to me is like picking at a wound that you know is infected. It is like giving children toy guns to pretend to shoot each other while bombarding them with images of feigned brutality and bloodshed and then wondering why we live in an increasingly violent society.
There is a paradoxical dichotomy within me that comes part and parcel with my African-American heritage. It is the need to learn the lessons, reap the benefits and garner the strength that seethes within my culture without dragging along the anger spawned of the pain, despair, degradation and indignities which are linked inexorably with being black in America for my generation and the generations before me. Starting with not knowing from which African nation and culture the African contingent of my family actually came from, to being the target of racial epithets right here on our beloved ALT and having the powers that be fail to enforce their own rules regarding racial attacks, my race, my family and I have fought to attain this small and tenuous measure of equality.
My job as a human is to distill the power and strength of character that can be derived from a culture achieving this new-found equality while casting aside the bitter dregs of anger which can only impede further progress despite its justification. The struggle is to identify with my African-American heritage without being defined by it. The struggle to be “just a man” while both holding on to and letting go of the experience upon which that man is built. Many have died and suffered to make this paradox possible. It took quite a bit of soul searching to come to these conclusions and I will not have that which we have struggled for generation to attain reduced to a sex toy.
Mo goes on to say that her pussy is not interested in uplifting the race. I am not trying to “hate” on Mo but admitting freely to thinking with her genitals on issues of such import supports racist stereotypes and smacks of the “I’m gonna get mine,” slave culture mentality that continues to plague our proud race. I know that Mo was trying to be humorous but this statement is akin to a patriot who is willing to sellout his country for a blow job.
Miss Williams further suggests that the subjugation of a race or culture is a part of human nature; an assertion with which I am prepared to agree. I would even go one step further as to say that Dominance and submission is a part of our animal nature; That part of us that so many wish to deny and yet never can quell. We as humans are the only creatures on this planet with the intellect to govern the instincts we have found to be ineffective, effectively bringing about and guiding our own intellectual evolution. It is this need to rule our own passions that has spawned the concepts of law and morality.
The overwhelming majority of the world’s governments have deemed racial discrimination to be unlawful and amoral and for good reason. To play with race in this fashion is to spit in the face of Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and the thousands of black soldiers who fought in American wars as men only to come “home” to be treated as they were less than other men who did not do as much for their country. Abolition of racial and cultural discrimination is the only way to purge it from society. To make a game out of our on going struggle for sexual satisfaction is to make a mockery of all efforts toward that end.
Andrea Plaid: Next question (and we sorta touched on this): Why do you think communities of color, specifically Black communities, feel the need to police their desires…to the point they won’t explore sexual/erotic practices that some folks deem “racially incorrect”? And, more importantly, play police for The Race?
Mo: There is certainly the aspect of our very conservative and deeply religious background.
Mo: We have a strong church based community
Mo: That isn’t something that is easy to shake.
Mo: The fact is that we have put ourselves in a position where we have to “prove ourselves” in order to survive.
Mo: From jump, we’ve been at a disadvantage here.
Mo: and so now that we’ve reached a point where we actually have a fighting chance, people don’t want anything that may jeopardize or mitigate, in THEIR eyes, our position of moral superiority.
Mo: It is the idea we are “above” that.
Andrea Plaid: ::nods head:: and we do that by saying certain sexual practices, like BDSM and race play, are the things that “white folks do” or “what white folks want us to do.”
Mo: and so we deny ourselves the very fucking freedoms that our ancestors, or parents and grandparents struggled to give us.
Mo: Freedom has no business being compartmentalized so that it remains frozen in some idealized space.
Mo: freedom is messy.
Mo: Ask the Iraqi people.
Andrea Plaid: the interracial history, esp. when it comes to fucking, is so fraught that we’d think “folks” would look at the Ciara/JTvid and think, “he oppressing her, and she likes it. Gahh!” and clutch their pearls.
Mo: Yeah. OK. SO?
Mo: the part here where you have all the info you need is this:
Mo: “And she likes it.”
Mo: the “Why” is none of your fucking business.
Mo: In this case, the “Why” is purely money.
Andrea Plaid: what? Mollena, that’s racial blasphemy.
Mo: I know, I know.
Mo: I feel us slipping back to the 1950s every time I masturbate.
Mo: It is a huge burden, really.
Andrea Plaid: LOL!!
Mo: That video has as much to do with BDSM as the video of the guy padding the kitty cathas to do with animal abuse.
Andrea Plaid: Now, let’s talk about the Ciara/JTvid: you don’t think it had anything to do with BDSM?
Mo: It has to do with kinky imagery and taboos.
Mo: it is an easy hook.
Mo: videos are commercials.
Mo: and commercials HAVE to get at you.
Mo: because BDSM is still edgy, it is an easy cheat
Andrea Plaid: hmmmm…good point.
Mo: But as to really accurately reflecting kink?
Andrea Plaid: why not?
Andrea Plaid: (I know, totally non-kinkcentric question to ask, but I’m asking.)
Mo: First off.
Mo: it is all about display and visual impact.
Mo: which IS an aspect of BDSM, so, sure.
Mo: there is fetishwear, provocative poses.
Andrea Plaid: I hear a “buuuuut” rearing up…
Mo: yeah here it comes
Mo: it doesn’t do anything else.
Mo: and for some people, that is enough.
Mo: A shoe fetishist would masturbate to any video with feet in it.
Mo: God bless them.
Mo: to say a man having a woman on a collar is automatically BDSM is false
Mo: this video has little to do with BDSM. It has to do with what looks sexy.
Mo: the one thing
Mo: the ONLY THING
Mo: that separates BDSM from abuse is consent.
Mo: now, there is implied consent.
Mo: HOWEVER at no point is she not in control.
Andrea Plaid: see, you beat to the question…
Mo: so if you want to pull it apart that way, guess what.
Mo: I am not going to meta-discuss her lack of control in the white dominated machine of the music industry.
Mo: Sister is doing it for herself. she has a marginal talent a stellar physique, she is making money, end of story.
Andrea Plaid: so, in order to for the vid to show a representation of BDSM, there would have been a 3-sec moment of consent?
Mo: in order for the video to comply with Mollena’s BDSM Bible
Mo: we’d see a moment of emotional connection.
Mo: That is theater.
Mo: Not passion.
Andrea Plaid: right.
Mo: Not that theater isn’t passionate.
Mo: But BDSM for theatrical purposes
Mo: (which I love!)
Mo: is different from a reflection of what BDSM is for me
Andrea Plaid: got it.
Mo: Do you remember 9 ½ weeks?
Andrea Plaid: yep! one of my all-time fave films.
Mo: the scene where she strips for him, and it is kinda awkward but sexy, and she does it because he wants her to?
Andrea Plaid: right.
Mo: THAT, to me, is BDSM represented in the way I see it.
Mo: you really get her awkwardness and her desire to be pleasing to him, and his arousal at her doing so.
Mo: in this video you get over the top dry humping and a leash.
Andrea Plaid: ROTFLMAO
Andrea Plaid: can another read be that Ciara is coming at it from a dom position, too?
Andrea Plaid: a “top” position?
Mo: of course.
Mo: If the whole video is her fantasy, she is of necessity running the show.
Mo: Dominants can wear what they want and do what they want. The idea of teasing with the body can have a dominant tone.
Mo: what bugs me is that it is “OK of the black person is dominant but “NOT UPLIFTING THE RACE!!” if she’s submissive.
Andrea Plaid: aaaahhhaaaaaa.
Andrea Plaid: dig.
Mo: Oo now you get to decide which ROLE is OK for me?!
Mo: Fuck you, buddy.
Mo: I have gotten shit from black dominants about race play.
Mo: even as they top white submissives.
Andrea Plaid: really?
Mo: but that is OK, see, because it bucks the paradigm.
Mo: Seriously. Fuck you.
Mo: Yah really.
Mo: not for play play.
Mo: It gets deep, yo.
Mo: I’ve had people who I know for a FACT do race play fuck me over in public for doing it in public.
Mo: But it is OK for them to do it, just not OK for people to know about it.
Andrea Plaid: Jeez…even in race play there the “We gotta be strong–in this case, top white folks?”
Mo: payback, you see.
Mo: we aren’t getting reparations, so go beat up some white bitch and get yours.
Andrea Plaid: …and here’s me shaking my head.
Andrea Plaid: and, it’s up to *you* to keep my image up.
Mo: Ya feel me?
Mo: because, then,of course ALL white people will feel ALL POC are fair game
Mo: but the thing is this: ignorant fuckers have been doing inappropriate shit for YEARS
Mo: is it possible that talking about it makes it bloody fucking clear that it is NEVER OK to make that assumption?
Mo: But when I get a message form a POC who says to me “I thought I was the only one, thank you for talking about that, I felt terrible!” it is worth it. Truly.
Andrea Plaid: guuuuuuuuurl. ::fist pump::
Mo: I have, in my 12 years, had one person say to me “I wanna do a race play scene with you.”
Mo: why is that?
Mo: 1) I am, evidently, hella intimidating
Mo: which kinda sucks but that is another discussion
Mo: 2) I live in CA, where the PC thing is strong
Mo: 3) I make it bloody fucking clear it is NOT ACCEPTABLE for you to EVER ask someone to bottom to you in that type of scene. I feel it really has to come from the person being the “victim”
Mo: this is my approach.
Mo: if they are doing it in their heads anyway, best to know WHO those people are, right?
Andrea Plaid: like seeing Ciara and JT is instant license for white folks to put dog leashes on Black women.
Mo: There ain’t shit new under this sun when it comes to mans inhumanity to man.
Mo: and sure, people get ideas.
Mo: But if you think denial and silence will crush desire
Andrea Plaid: but ideas=/=actions.
Mo: all you have to do is look at a few numbers on the porn industry.
Mo: Ideas CAN move to action.
Mo: But I am not responsible for anything except living an ethical life, being true to my God, and respecting this planet and her inhabitants.
Mo: the rest is outside of my control.
Mo: and those who would be the Race Police can take a fucking page from the Serenity prayer
Mo: God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Mo: Grab some wisdom. You are never going to change the way people are wired.
Andrea Plaid: right, but people act as if the ideas will run tsunami-like and overtake them. thus, JT and Ciara are making it open season on white men (and PoC men) to put dog collars on Black women. ::horror scream::
Mo: you CAN change your attitude and judgments around other folk’s desires, and choice.
Andrea Plaid: it’s like, dudes, no. it’s not.
Mo: Send them my way, please, those hot white men looking to stalk and tackle Negresses.
Mo: I got a boot handy for them.
Andrea Plaid: roll credits?
Mo: Has anyone taken the temperature among younger folks on this?
Mo: I am willing to bet most people 25 and under would be like “What is the big deal? They are having fun and it is sexy.”
Mo: and THAT is the real fact.
Andrea Plaid: and the younger adults and teens, who’ve grown up with Dan Savage giving advice, do feel the way you described.
Andrea Plaid: ya know, the single is hot right now. And the folks who want to comment about the children say in “Don’t expose them to these kinds of images. What would a 7-yr-old understand about kink?”
Mo: I first saw a gay leatherman when I was 5 or so
Mo: NYC,West Village, you know the drill.
Mo: I asked my mom (a nice church girl) why they were dressed like that. She said “Different people do different things.” and left it at that.
Mo: And I never tripped about it again.
Andrea Plaid: The wisdom of mums.
Mo: She had to get very creative with me, my Mom did.
Andrea Plaid: My mom gets horrified walking into a sex shop in New Orleans. and that happened when my sis and me were out the house.
Mo: But the thing is this.
Mo: if you are anti-sexuality for young children, fine.
Mo: If you are anti BDSM, OK.
Mo: These are absolutely your choices.
Mo: in the same way it is MY choice to think differently. And I appreciate the respect I show you and your opinion mirrored back to me and mine.
Mo: and I furthermore appreciate thoughtfulness, not knee jerk reactions.
Mo: Only the most vulnerable mind watches a video and runs out and does what it says.
Mo: and those people are beyond your protecting them but not talking about difficult topics, really.
Andrea Plaid: but, I fear, children is the go-to reason for the knee-jerk reaction.
Mo: So don’t let your kids watch TV
Mo: And keep your kids out of my dungeon, thanks.
Andrea Plaid: what? Mollena, that’s an American blasphemy!
Andrea Plaid: LOL
Mo: I know! TV is, after all, “Friend … Mother … Secret Lover” to quote Homer Simpson.
Andrea Plaid: and folks want to pretend helplessness before the “onslaught” of pop culture instead of being the grown person and buffering what the children are seeing.
Mo: People make me crazy sometimes
Mo: Why can’t we all just admit we have our freaks and move on?
Mo: I am the Rodney King of kink.
Andrea Plaid: ::horror-film scream::
Andrea Plaid: “I am the Rodney King of kink.” (*DEAD*)
Andrea Plaid: LOL!
Mo: that was pretty good…..
Mo: And if you don’t want to explain shit to kids, you are kind of fucked. That is your JOB as a PARENT
The delightful Andrea Plaid, aka @CruelSecretary Twittered me last week, asking about Race Play. There was a bit of a heated debate on this Justin Timberlake / Ciara video, see, and she thoughtfully wanted to find a POC into kink to get their POV. Of course, my immediate reaction was “Well, sure, I’ll talk about it.” Then my secondary reaction was “OMG you blithering idiot! You’re risking being thrown to the fucking dogs if you move outside of the kink community to talk about this shit! They can’t even accept BDSM, and you’re gonna give them AP level shit that even some hardcore pervs find distasteful! Dumbass. Really.” It made me nervous. Vulnerable, scared. I don’ t enjoy the idea of people talking shit about me. SO, of course, I said yes. I’m posting our chat, edited only for clarity, over the next few days. There is a lot of it. She’ll be writing an article with her take on it, and I’ll be posting / linking it here as well. I welcome respectful dialogue, or questions. And I mean respectful.
Mo: On a sidebar: would you be OK with me putting the raw interview up on my site, as a post? I think it would be interesting to have both available I will, of course, be spellchecking the FUCK out of it
Andrea Plaid: LOL
Andrea Plaid: Mollena, you’re KILLING me ovah here! Of course you can use this with the spellcheck
Mo: Yeah see, there I go. I cannot touch type and I am dyslexic. SO it makes for an interesting stab at many jacked up words if I am trying to keep up with my brain.
Mo: which is like a hummingbird on fucking crank on a GOOD day
Andrea Plaid: Would you mind if I posted this on my site, The Cruel Secretary, and if my editor Latoya doesn’t mind, post this at Racialicious?
Mo: Certainly. Just hit me with some linkage. And I’ll hide in a corner while people threaten to beat me up in a non-con way.
Andrea Plaid: I’ve already told Latoya that you’ve been checking out the threads. She’s serious about protecting folks in the space, so she’s extend the same courtesy to you. And my readers know my expectations on my site, so they don’t get stoopid.
Mo: Would that the owners of mailing lists shared the idea that respect in the public forum is critical.
Andrea Plaid: Send ’em to Latoya. she’ll school ’em.
Mo: OK so lob me the 1st question, Madame!
Andrea Plaid: OK…what is race play?
Mo: That one I got down! Been working on it for a while….!
Mo: I define “Race Play,” In broad terms, as any type of play that openly embraces and explores the (either “real” or assumed) racial identity of the players within the context of a BDSM scene. The prime motive in a “Race Play” scene is to underscore and investigate the challenges of racial or cultural differences.
Andrea Plaid: Would you mind giving an example of race play?
Mo: oH THERE ARE THE OBVIOUS
Mo: caps lock / there are the obvious ones
Andrea Plaid: gurl, no judgments on the typing/spelling/grammar.
Mo: we in the US like to think we have cornered the market on racial politics. So OBVIOUSLY people go for Antebellum south slavery stuff.
Mo: but even there, there are MANY variations.
Andrea Plaid: Yep. Esp. on the US thinking we got a lock on racial politics thang.
Mo: You can have the white Master black slave thing. You can have a tables turned scenario, with a slave seducing the master, blackmailing them. The “Mandingo” black stud thing. And let us not forget we owned one another. And let us not forget the skin color caste system! High yellow versus dark skinned
Andrea Plaid: So we can get into the black slavemaster/black slave thing, too.
Mo: yes, of course. The ONLY LIMIT is your imagination.
Mo: This expands to a LOT of sins in this country
Andrea Plaid: How so?
Mo: Whites vs native Americans.
Andrea Plaid: Yes! The white settler/native American “squaw” or “chief” fantasy.
Mo: the internment camps where we packed up Japanese Americans. But it isn’t just us….how about a captured Iraqi prisoner tortured by Marines? Or a Sinn Féin extremist being interrogated by a rogue SIS agent? Or a dark skinned Indian person avenging themselves on a lighter-skinned higher-caste individual?
Mo: it goes on and on.
Mo: North vs South Koreans.
Mo: Hutu vs Tutsi
Mo: it is a Human Thing.
Mo: this is part of the reason I boggle at the knee jerk reaction people have. The fact that something is scary, dangerous, real: why does this mean you should NOT explore it?
Mo: For fuck’s sake, driving a car is dangerous. Falling in love is dangerous.
Mo: Understanding that part of the draw, to me, of BDSM is that it tests my fortitude in this body and in this mind and with this heat is what keeps me doing it. How the fuck am I going to let something stop me because it is scary.
Andrea Plaid: But we both know folks aren’t going to see it that way. They want to use that very real painful history to not think of it as fantasy fodder.
Mo: Sure. And more power to them.
Mo: Not everyone volunteers to be hit with a whip traveling at the speed of sound either.
Mo: But I do it because it fascinates me.
Andrea Plaid: But, I suspect, is some folks give it *too* much power. They use it as a way to police the desires of others. As you saw on the threads for my and Latoya’s posts.
Mo: And I understand that. But the root of ALL of that is fear. Straight up.
Mo: Fear that you will be judged by the acts of others. Fear that there is something out there you cannot understand.
Andrea Plaid: Dig that.
Mo: Also, fear that it fascinates you, and that perhaps you are “one of those perverts.” That is often a deep rooted factor, too.
Mo: I have a VERY high capacity for empathy.
Mo: Which is great!
Mo: HOWEVER. It doesn’t discriminate.
Mo: I can empathize with MANY types of people, even those some would consider evil.
Mo: Like sadists.
Mo: SO I can explore that in the relatively safe corral of BDSM, and see how it is to be aroused by the pain of others.
Andrea Plaid: But I think folks want good and evil easily and quickly drawn.
Mo: Yes. And that is a bummer, because evil is delicious. we all know this. that is why movies and stories HAVE TO HAVE “Bad guys” and “evil villianesses”
Mo: and they have to be sexy somehow.
Mo: because we are living entropic systems and we crave destruction on some level.
Mo: Circle of life, baby.
Mo: The idea that someone might hate you PURELY because of your identity is horrific.
Mo: it dehumanizes you, and it makes you “less than”. so, in the context of BDSM, it is fair game for that type of play.
Andrea Plaid: And words like “normal”–as in “normal” sex, which some folks wouldn’t consider BDSM and race play–get employed to convey “good.”
Mo: If you do that “kinky shit” you CANNOT, by definition, be mentally sound.
Mo: Or you have some agenda.
Andrea Plaid: Like not uplifting The Race! (Insert PoC group here)
Mo: My vagina isn’t really interested in uplifting the race.
Andrea Plaid: LOL!
Mo: What pussy wants is fucked up stuff, really dark scenarios that test the boundaries and cut with an exhilarating level of danger. Stepping razor dangerous, like the song goes.
Andrea Plaid: Next question: how is race play similar and different from BDSM? if it is any different?
Mo: It isn’t different from BDSM, it is an aspect of BDSM. It CAN encompass many different aspects. Obviously, role-playing comes to mind.
Andrea Plaid: right.
Mo: In the same way that a pair of 6″ stilettos and a pair of flip flops are both shoes, race play and a spanking, for example, can all be aspects of BDSM
Mo: But different types of people are going to find either one sexier
Andrea Plaid: (I had a commenter say a person who’s into BDSM may not do race play and vice versa.)
Mo: Oh the VAST majority of kinky people would never admit to dong racially based play or fantasizing about it.
Mo: because of the PC thing.
Andrea Plaid: Yeah, kinda figured that.
Mo: My thinking is this: in the same way pendulums have to swing to reach equilibrium, the BDSM community has to breathe around this aspect of Kink.
Mo: and as to those who are non-kink identified….it is even more challenging. They have a double hurdle.
Mo: groking* kink at ALL, then groking one of the MOST controversial types of play.
Andrea Plaid: and that gets read on the outside of the communities that white folks want to re-enact slavery again and BDSM may be that vehicle. Ergo, “keep BDSM away!” ::horror-film scream::
Mo: yeah because kink is a gateway drug for racism.
Andrea Plaid: LOL
Andrea Plaid: As my gurl F******** and I say, “Roll credits!”
Mo: You know what the problem is…people DO NOT want to THINK.
Andrea Plaid: Bingo!
Mo: …people DO NOT want to FEEL.
Mo: it is risky.
Mo: and because I feel a LOT and think “Too much.” as my kid sister is fond of observing, they assume a lot about me.
Mo: but no one wants to just ask me.
Mo: they’d rather run around online talkin’ ’bout they gonna “beat the ass of anyone that they see doing some race play bullshit.”
Mo: and not in a good way.
Andrea Plaid: What I’m running into is people want to do those things and use 1)white folks, 2) the ancestors, and 3) the chirren as their reasoning to not even think about the issue.
Mo: Most “white folks” (meaningless term, blah blah) are MORE uncomfortable around this than you know.
Mo: And I have spoken with the ancestors. They are delighted that I can FUCKING CHOOSE to do this for a few bloody hours.
Andrea Plaid: really….please tell me more.
Mo: I can go into the Big Ass Ice Cream Parlor of Racism and have a sample spoon, and leave.
Andrea Plaid: LOL!
Mo: I’m not trapped there being force fed the Rocky Road Ice Cream of Oppression until I am sick.
Mo: It is ALL about CHOICE.
Andrea Plaid: And consent.
Mo: I hope people fucking get that. Understand this one thing and then you’ll be well on the pathway.
*Grok(king) means “to understand so thoroughly that the observer becomes a part of the observed-to merge, blend, intermarry, lose identity in group experience. It means almost everything that we mean by religion, philosophy, and science-and it means as little to us (because of our Earthly assumptions) as color means to a blind man.”