By Sexual Correspondent Andrea Plaid
A while ago, Latoya Peterson, and I offered a two-fer about the Ciara/Justin Timberlake video, “Love Sex Magic.” The image of Timberlake pulling Ciara’s dog leash brought up the idea of “race play” and racism. Sexologist Bianca Laureano suggested that I talk to Mollena, a expert on race play, about it. (This interview’s entirety is posted at Mollena’s blog, The Perverted Negress.)
Andrea: What is race play?
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: Would you mind giving an example of race play?
Mo: There are the obvious ones. We in the US like to think we have cornered the market on racial politics. So, obviously, people go for Antebellum South slavery stuff. But even there, there are many variations: 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 [Black folks] owned one another. And let us not forget the skin color caste system! “High yellow” versus dark skinned….
This expands to a lot of sins in this country: Whites [and] Native Americans; 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? North [and] South Koreans. Hutu [and] Tutsi…
The only limit is your imagination.
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? For fuck’s sake, driving a car is dangerous. Falling in love is dangerous. 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: 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. Not everyone volunteers to be hit with a whip traveling at the speed of sound either. But I do it because it fascinates me.
Andrea: 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. Fear that you will be judged by the acts of others. Fear that there is something out there you cannot understand. Also, fear that it fascinates you, and that perhaps you are “one of those perverts.” That is often a deep rooted factor, too. Continue reading