Gams of Brixton

I was at a Public Enemy gig in Brixton a few nights ago.

I’ve been staying with friends in Herne Hill, a town in Sarth Lonnin. Brixton’s the last stop on the Underground rail system on the way home, and I just fell in love with the place.

electric brixtonBrixton used to be famous for race riots, or inter-community tensions as we ex-parole officers say, as well as crime, hard stares and so on. But now the place is wonderful. It’s bursting with life. There’s lots of music being played on the street, also drumming if you count that as something different from music.

And pretty black girls walking three abreast down the street singing in harmony, not because it’s part of a show but because it’s a nice day and they feel like it. 

And a guy who offers services like making people fall in love with you, or making people come to harm, or telling your fortune and curing all your diseases is standing outside the station handing out his business card, because this is, after all, the modern world.

Anyway, Public Enemy played the local hall, and I went along.

I gotta go now. I’ll tell what happened later.

Bdsm and race 9

My thoughts on bdsm and racism aren’t going to come across as angry enough for some people.

I shocked myself when I was whipping Carol’s ass. She’s a black woman. Therefore, her ass is black, and that opened up thoughts about how she really could have been my slave. Just a blip ago, in historical time; and wouldn’t that have been hot? I liked that for a few seconds before my conscience woke up and overrode my cock.

But then, nobody’s perfect. Carol won’t do bdsm with black men.

Some men – white men, Asian men, even some black men – would never try to get to know Carol, because they dislike and perhaps fear black people. That’s contemptible in several ways, but on the other hand it’s good that people with attitudes like that keep the hell away from Carol. If they keep their distance, they’re less dangerous. So, at least within bdsm meet-up circles, that kind of racism is a self-solving problem.

Another group of men, mostly white and educated, will chase Carol because she’s black. Which is to say, they probably think it’s a bonus that she’s pretty, and by the time she’s told them to fuck off they may have noticed that she’s smart. But they’re after her because they want a black girlfriend to look good on the resume and “prove” that they’re not racist. Those guys are kind of tedious, though they mostly aren’t dangerous.  

There are racially based ideas about white women – that they’re stuck-up, that they’re easy because they wear revealing clothes – and so on.

There are ideas about white men, that we’re arrogant, that we have tiny penises (or is that just white Americans?), and so on. I can’t really get very upset about people stereotyping or rejecting me because of race. That’s because except for short periods in other people’s countries, and once on an Arab airline, I’ve never been in situations where someone’s opinion of my racial group makes any real difference to me. That‘s how racial privilege works. The privilege is not having to think about race.   

But sometimes, in a bedroom race is just a matter of skin that looks different to, and often nicer than, yours. It can be just aesthetics and sex. Skin to skin is good. 

Bdsm and race 8

This may be my most stupid post, so far. I was thinking about what I said about how bdsm focusses on the differences between the dominant and the submissive. A lot of bdsm rituals, like the pro-domme’s “on your belly, worm, and lick my boots”, are about establishing and pointing up the difference between dom and sub as fast and strongly as possible.

Differences in race, or at least skin colour, can add another kind of contrast and intensity. 

I’ve been in bdsm relationships, or at least played, with women of various nationalities and ethnicities. Mostly they’ve been white, because of where I’ve lived. Mainly American, Australian, Canadian, English, German, Irish and Scots girls.

But also African American, Argentinian (a mix of white, Indian and Moorish), “black” (ie she’s English, but her parents were from the Caribbean and most of her ancestors from Africa), Chinese, Fijian, Indian (Southern India, and the most deeply darkly “black” of any girl I’ve ever undressed), Korean, Samoan, and Vietnamese. I’m not counting Jewish and Iranian as non-white.

I suppose I should have some man-of-the-word observations to make, something like, “they don’t react much to a flogging, but you just can’t beat a Russian girl for the romping anal sex”.

Somebody really did say that to me once, and for about half a second I wondered if it might be true. Before the second was up I’d realised it was one of the most stupid things I’d ever heard. It might be a non-stupid observation to make about the Russian women who hang around the hotels where foreign guys stay. Even then he’d have to have flogged and had anal sex with, say, a thousand of them, to have a valid sample.

My observation is only that I liked all of them, and loved some. If you asked me if I had a “type” or a preference, I’d have said it was cute, curvy blonde women. That’s not not because I’d look at the room at a party and make a beeline for the cute, curvy blonde girl. It’s more that, looking back, I can see that I’ve had so many cute blonde girlfriends that it can’t be a coincidence.

Similarly, I’ve never noticed myself thinking that I prefer brown skin, or exotic eyes, or whatever. But again, I can’t have dommed that many non-white girls by accident, either. So there is an attraction there.

Bdsm and race 7

It’s possible that people who like bdsm may enjoy racial differences more than most. That’s just a guess, based on the way that we tend to eroticise difference more than most.

In bdsm pairs, one stands while the other kneels, one flogs and the other is flogged, one commands and one obeys, one binds and one is bound. The dominant and the submissive enjoy the oppositeness of their partner. So it feels satisfying when one partner in bdsm is black and brown, and the other is pink and white. Contrast is sexy.

That doesn’t mean there’s any less racism among bdsm practitioners than anywhere else. But it’s possible that in bdsm there’s more inter-racial desire. 

Bdsm and race 6

Carol had a dodgy confession of her own. She’d already said that she didn’t really trust black guys to dom her. And, she added, I was the only man she’d ever trusted even to spank her, let alone take a riding crop to her arse. She’d decided to play that way with me partly because she’d liked something I’d written. It was about working through my feelings about submissive women wanting to be hurt, and how strongly my parents had taught me that under no circumstances, ever, should I hit a woman.

But the dodgy part was that if I were a black man there’d have been no deal. She’d only let me tie her up and use that crop because I was white. 

That had nothing to do with eroticising white supremacy, or slavery. It was about her own life. She’d experienced domestic violence from black guys, but never from the white guys she’d been involved with.

Yeah, you could give a lecture about generalising about a whole group based on experiences with a few. It’s wrong. But I wasn’t going to give her that lecture: a white guy lecturing a black woman not to be racist? I didn’t think I could carry off something like that.

Anyway, she’d made her own decisions about her safety, and that was her right. he knew me, and for some reasons that were personal and some that were awkwardly racial, she believed that there was a better chance that I’d careful and trustworthy, and not suddenly get angry or carried away.  

I’m not telling you that to make some triumphant point about black guys being worse behaved than white guys. I’m just saying people have their own experiences and reactions to their experience, and life is complicated.

So we had shameful confessions to exchange. Then what?

Bdsm and race 5

Carol said she’d been contacted by white male doms who wanted to beat her because she was black. They weren’t necessarily wanting to re-enact slave days, specifically.

They mostly “knew” only two things about slavery: (1) they’d read in right-wing blogs and heard from their local crazy Christian right beardie that black people were better off under slavery; and (2) that they didn’t like black people, so whoppin’ “their” women was a righteous thing to do. 

Because in these guys’ mindset, black people are men, and black women are an accessory “owned” by black men. Carol showed me some of her collection of their contact messages. It was horrible, creepy stuff.

The other thing she especially disliked, though not as much as the psycho racist doms, was the liberal doms who wanted a black girl because that would show that they weren’t racist. So she’d be an exhibit on some guy’s CV rather than a person.

I’d avoided that anodyne category mainly because we’d corresponded for more than a year, when I’d thought there was no chance of us ever meeting. So I’d made it clear enough that I liked her, specifically.

Also, once I’d admitted to having that moment of lust at the thought of Carol-as-real-slave, I’d moved out of the good liberal tent. But Carol had her own confession to make. 

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.

Bdsm and race 3

So, I’m standing there, a white guy with a history of different kinds of anti-racist activism, tediously well-meaning, with a riding crop in my hand and a black woman tied, helplessly, across a table. She’s already well welted from the crop. I suddenly became very self-conscious.

My first reaction was confusion: is this okay? Am I getting off on this race thing? Is this like playing “Jews and SS men”? I mean, I don’t think eroticising Nazi concentration camps should be illegal or anything, or even wrong, if the people involved are consenting, but I’d still find it pretty creepy.   

And then, because this isn’t a story about how wonderful I am, I’ll say that my second reaction was: Cool! The idea that Carol could have been a real slave, getting this whipping from her white Master, just 150 years ago: fuck the politics of it, that was hot. Sorry about that, but it’s what I felt.

So although she’d disobeyed no order, and as far as I could remember I’d given her none, I said, “You. Will. Do. As. You. Are. TOLD!” in the harshest voice I’d used with Carol, and lashed the crop down hard with every word. It hurt, and Carol howled. I gave her more, but that was my plantation owner moment, at least in my head.

Then I fucked her while she wriggled, without untying her.  

Later, when I’d untied Carol, and rubbed vitamin E cream over her ass, and we were comfortably snuggling, I considered whether to tell her what had passed through my head. It was why her whipping, and my cock, had got harder towards the climax. So she had a right to know. On the other hand, I expected her to be pissed at me. 

Anyway, I confessed.

Bdsm and race 2

The black woman – I’ll call her Carol, because I’m not going to keep calling her “the black woman” – had contacted me because she’d liked something I’d written. It wasn’t about race. I’d written a piece about being young and exploring bdsm desires and trying to find other perverts before you know what bdsm is, and how embarrassing you can be to yourself and others while you’re doing that. She’d thought it was funny, and she’d wanted to meet me.

So we found ourselves in a room together. We met a few times before she let me do impact play. She’d experienced real domestic violence, and she didn’t want to empower guys to hit her. So when we were together she obeyed orders, and got tied up. I told her stories while she masturbated and sucked my cock. Which didn’t improve the inventive quality of the stories, I’m afraid.

But she knew I was a spanker and a caner, a man who likes his impact play. After a few sessions she let herself get over my knee. I made sure she had a good time, because I wanted more. So we started slowly, with a lot of cunt stroking as well as smacking her bottom. But I gave her cunt a sharp smack when she said something cheeky. The noise she made told me that I’d done the right thing, so she got her cunt spanked nearly as often and as hard as her ass.

So I became the only man she’d let do this. The noise she made when I spanked her cunt, – a sweet, falling moan – that first time and every time since, meant that she got her cunt smacked often. At least as much as her ass. After I while I introduced her to my belt as well as my hand, and then to a riding crop. 

So we built up with time. Then, one evening, I had tied her naked and face down across a table, and I was whipping her bottom and thighs quite hard with a crop.

That was the moment when our actions, together, got close enough to evoke historical precedents, of the whipping of black slave women in American slavery. It put a shadow on what we were doing. I was a white man, I’d tied up a black woman, and I was whipping her.

Bdsm and race

I’m writing a long story about something stupid I did when I was a probation officer. In that story I dom two – consenting – Samoan women. I took a whip to one of them. 

When I say, “two Samoan women”, I don’t mean at the same time. That was never going to happen. Ana and I were probably up for it, but Sa’afia would have found the whole idea embarrassing: they were cousins, for god’s sake. Anyway, and leaving threesome fantasies out of this, my point is that there are a lot of people who’d be angry with all three of us, but especially me, because they were women of colour and I was a white man. With a whip.  

I’ve written about those scenes without worrying much about race, because it was never much of an issue for us in the moment, or afterwards.

I think one of the reasons that the race issue seemed to us mainly to be a matter of skin colour – we liked each other’s skin colour, and the contrast between us when we were naked – and not something more traumatic relates to Samoa’s history.

Samoans were never slaves (except that, in pre-European times, some Samoans were enslaved by Tongans, Fijians, and other Samoans). Later, the country was colonised, and that was a disaster for Samoa, with the worst villains being, unusually, the New Zealanders. They administered the Western islands from 1914 to 1962, and in 1918 they killed a fifth of the Samoan population by arrogant stupidity when they broke quarantine, letting a ship with flu victims aboard land at Apia. 

Mind you, exactly the same stupidity killed about the same proportion of New Zealanders when they did the same to their own country in 1918. But stupidity isn’t available as an excuse for the machine-gun massacre of unarmed and peaceful demonstrators in December 1929. The New Zealand Prime Minister formally apologised over that and the epidemic in 2006. It took them long enough. Normally I think New Zealand is a cool country, but that’s a pretty shameful record. 

But there’s no shame for Samoans in either story. They were exposed to a deadly disease by fools, and they bravely faced guns held by cowards. The shame’s all New Zealand’s. For the Samoans that history is justification for anger, and in practice an impressive level of forgiveness. 

So I could enjoy the differences of browner skin, flatter noses, and fuller lips, for what they were. Sa’afia and Ana could enjoy my pale skin against theirs and my – to them – skinny pointy nose.

Of course I had various kinds of power that they didn’t have, as a white male. I was never going to be harassed by police the way Ana was. Even Sa’afia, who was better educated and better able to set her own rules about how people would behave around her, had had bad experiences with LA’s finest. 

But I think we could take it so very easily and casually, our interracial dominance and submission, because there’s no history of slavery in Samoa. When I dommed them it didn’t echo any historical scene, anything that haunts the past and is still raw in the present.

But a couple of years ago, I played with a black American woman. And that turned out to be much more complicated.