Apr 062009
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: whoops
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: *lol*
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: Right.
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: Yeah.
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.
Mo: Please.
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: Yanno?
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.”