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The Issue with Being Black and Kinky Part 1
Yesterday I was asked to comment on Luna Malbroux's fusion.com article titled, "When, you want to be into BDSM but its to soon because your black ". The moderator of the group wanted me to give my perspective on the whole black BDSM thing and I have to say that its not an easy subject. The reason its not an easy subject is because its not just one issue that we can point to and say hey fix this and everything will be perfect. Its a complex and convoluted issue that has to do with more than can be written in a few paragraphs. And while I don't want to speak for all people I do believe that talking about my experience may shed another light on the subject.
For me, the issues that I have faced regarding being black and in the BDSM scene are not necessarily with the community itself. It mostly revolves around the socio-cultural indoctrination that we as black people undergo regarding sex, sexuality, modern culture and our abusive history with western civilization.
When it comes to sex and sexuality, people of color are very conservative. I know that this statement is contradictory to what you may have scene in music videos and adult movies, but it's true. People of color are taught from a young age that men are men and woman are women and any deviation from this is not only a sin but is shameful. which is sad because many people of color struggle with issues surrounding gender identity as well as homo and Bi sexuality. And even though studies show a higher risk of suicide among young African American and Latino LGBTQ. Studies posted in the American Journal of Public Health wrote,
" According to the minority stress model, the excess prejudice, stigma, and discrimination encountered by sexual minority individuals lead to increased mental health problems in this population and a resulting increased risk of suicide. "
And yet we as people of color are encouraged by our community, religious institutions and family to suppress our sexuality, hide our desires and be to be ashamed of the way we love... at the possible risk of our lives. Culturally. I think that we feel that if we don't acknowledge who we are the desires will just go away. ( out of site out of mind ) In fact hiding is sometimes a necessity because some people of color live in neighborh neighborhoods in which these minorities live, being different may make them a target of ostracization, ridicule and violence. This paranoia of human sexuality keeps people so controlled that many of us can't even imagine what it would be like to deviate from the status quo.
When I was young I didn't even know that their was something other than a hetero - monogamous relationship. I didn't know that I could even fantasize about anything other than having a girl friend and having missionary sex. So, when I fell into a poly relationship with a girl friend and my current life partner I became the most loved an loathed person in my immediate community.
I remember that I had a cousin who was cheating on his girl friend with a beautiful woman and everyone praised him for landing such a beauty and when the conversation shifted to me, my partners were viewed as being some how deficient or week and I was labeled as a pimp. Can you believe that I was compared to a criminal for being honest and up front with the people I loved. Geeze
So when people found out that I was not only poly but into the BDSM lifestyle things just got worse. I didn't feel welcomed at family functions. My friends wives wouldn't allow their husbands to talk to me for fear that they would want to live as I do. I became a caricature in the minds of my family. It had even got to the point where I couldn't have a normal conversation that didn't end in some kind of kinky joke. I was even introduced to other people as the freak or perv. What made this even worse is that I lost my emotional support system simply because people couldn't wrap their minds around my lifestyle choices.
Without a strong support system, it becomes hard for people to grow in a healthy way simply because people have no where to turn. When the APHA spoke about additional suicide risk factors that alternative lifestyle minorities face Family Rejection was one of them. To me this is the overal cultural climate that make it hard for many minorities to express them selves sexually.
There is also this cultural perception that their are things that black people do and things that white people do and the things that white people do are nastier and more vile then what black people do and BDSM is one of them. When I came out as a dominant my friends all said that's "white people shit" and " As a black man how could you whip a black woman. " ( side note: I always wanted to ask if it would made them feel better if the person that I flogged was a black man... Yeah probably would have been worse. Lol ) In their eyes I was betraying our culture. I was a sell out or an Uncle Tom. I became an overseer... A tool of the man because I simply expanded my sexuality.
I have to say that the friends that didn't leave me when they found out that I was poly definitely cut and ran after they heard my kinky confession. And no matter how much I tried to educate them as to how antebellum slavery was different from BDSM, it was apparent that they were not able to accept me or my lifestyle.
You know, It has always amazed me how we, as people of color, have been imprisoned by our history. Slavery has not only shamed us into believing that we can't be anything more than what Christian America wants us to be, it has also robbed us of the ability to fantasize about what I means to be sexually free.
See, when Africans got off the boat they had to learn how to survive and adapt. The next few generations would have to learn how to assimilate. The next few would try to fight for economic, social and political freedom but it wasn't until this generation that people realized that sexual freedom had to be apart of that struggle.
For 300 years we where denied our personage. We didn't get to think beyond being female and male slaves. So it wasn't until the abolition of slavery that we got contemplate the existential question of what it means to be a man. And what it means to be a woman. Let alone what does it mean to be straight, gay, bi, trans kinky etc.. It wasn't until the late 1900's that people of color started to contemplate there cultural sexuality. And culturally this is where where our sexual growth has stopped. We are stuck in contemplation.
BDSM is so far out of our cultural paradigm that we rarely see a person of color in a movie or tv show doing anything other than missionary sex. Think about it. In fact, when I was in the adult buisness a producer wouldn't hire me to play a dominant because, as he said, " black dominants didn't exist. " I told him yes they did and I was standing right there. I even told him that because I was a real dominant that I wouldn't even have to be playing a role. He said, " it's not that you don't exist in the real world it's that you don't exist in media , so people don't have a frame of reference. " he continued, " if I put you in a position where you hit a girl the people watching wouldn't see kinky BDSM play... All they would see is violence. "