Bdsm and race 4

So I confessed. Carol took it quite well, considering. She hummed something, and then asked me if I’d had to stop myself from saying, “Nigger bitch”, while I’d whipped her. 

It actually hadn’t occurred to me, and I tried to explain why. My parents had thought that racism was intellectual nonsense and morally wrong – though they also had some racist views, because life is complicated. But they thought that racism, at least obvious racism, was something that only worthless people had. They’d both been poor when they grew up, and they’d made it out through education. They wanted to insulate me against the kinds of ignorance they’d come from. 

One of their methods was to impose a different kind of ignorance on me. They knew that I’d hear the word “nigger”, because of the counting game: Eeny meeny miny mo, catch a nigger by the toe. They told me that a nigger was a small furry animal, a bit like a possum. Well, we lived near a forest. There were many creatures in there, and I didn’t know the names of all of them. So a nigger was some sort of nocturnal mammal that I’d probably glimpsed, some time, but that I didn’t care much about. 

There was racial tension in the area. I remember stumbling across a water hole where a bunch of black kids were swimming, and they drove me away by throwing rocks at me – serious, bone-breaking rocks that could have killed someone who was bigger and not so good at dodging. I was angry at them, and if I’d known that “nigger” was a word that hurt I’d probably have used it. But I didn’t know.

So, partly because of that childhood ignorance and partly through my own opinions once I got to understand what racism is, I’ve never used the word “nigger”, inside my head or spoken aloud, in relation to a human being. It would just feel weird. It doesn’t mean that I don’t have unexamined bits of racism; everybody does. But the word “nigger” was never part of my culture. For different reasons I’ve never called a woman a bitch (except doing ironical “bitches’n’hos” routines, and I’ve chucked that in). 

So I explained some of that. Carol had seen me be massively naive about various things, so she decided to believe me. She relaxed quite a bit after that. 

I thought that the “nigger bitch” thing wasn’t central, and I was surprised that passing that test was so important. But it was Carol whose opinion mattered, not me.

Though it turned out that I wasn’t off the hook quite yet.

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