It’s not uncommon for a black person entering the Lifestyle to wonder, is it acceptable for me as a black woman (or man) to have or serve a white Master? The short answer to this question is – yeah! We all can pursue the dynamics that we desire with whom we desire. But there’s obviously far more to unpack regarding the root of the question; this post will address that baggage. Of course, these are simply my thoughts, as a woman who’s black and identifies as a slave.
History hurts; peer intimidation sucks…
Let’s address the huge pink elephant in the room – historical slavery in America and all the atrocities associated with it. For many black men and women coming to the Master/slave lifestyle historical slavery in the Americas and the resulting racial tension and injustices is something that can’t be overlooked. Add to that the concerns one may experience while considering serving a white Master, and it becomes a pretty anxious mix. Nowadays, the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and African-American enslavement are thought to be something that is far removed from our more recent history. Not so. Though the Emancipation Proclamation was issued in January of 1863, the enslavement of African-Americans in the United States wasn’t officially abolished until December 6, 1865, via the 13th Amendment. To help put this in perspective in terms of generations, allow me to use my maternal line as an example:
blyss → Mama 1940 → Grandpa 1907 → Great-grandpa 1882 → Great-great grands - freed slaves
In the late 1800s, Jim Crow Laws (laws that enforced segregation and the continued dehumanization of African-Americans) were created and enforced until 1965. I’m a part of the first generation of my family that hasn’t experienced slavery and/or the effects of Jim Crow Laws directly.
And there was still more work to be done…
Interracial marriage in the United States was deemed a violation of the law until a decision was made on the Loving v Virginia case on June 12, 1967 (June 12 came to be known as Loving Day). The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Virginia’s anti-miscegenation laws were unconstitutional, thereby overturning earlier rulings in other cases across the country that upheld such laws and so interracial marriage finally became legal… in 1967… less than 50 years ago, at the time of this writing. Did you know anti-miscegenation laws had been in effect since colonial times? So, if for no other reason, America’s history alone can cause one to experience some level of trepidation when considering an interracial Master/slave dynamic.
There is another reason that causes concern and that is peer intimidation and/or social pressure. This is something that actually touches on not only choosing an interracial relationship but also choosing the M/s path. Make no mistakes about it peer intimidation exists in every culture in some form around the world and in some way has touched each of our lives. There were two conversations I remember having with two different friends who were not only pro-black but quite the feminists. In one of the conversations, I was accused of doing ‘white people’ stuff as far as my involvement in (and enjoyment of) BDSM. In the other conversation my then friend was ranting about women submitting to men, and how black women need to have a backbone and so on… And there I was wondering, what would she say if she knew I wanted to submit to a man and serve him with everything in me? Would she go off on me? And in that moment, I felt a touch of shame in having the desire to serve and submit. And that secret shame would nag at me from time to time early on in my slave walk.
While these examples seem innocuous, they left an imprint. In my mind, blood relatives aren’t the people I chose, but my friends are; I want my friends to accept me – slave and desire to serve and all. There were stereotypes and incorrect premises that had to be confronted – ‘white people stuff’ and submission = weak and spineless. For many black people in America, there’s a stigma against doing ‘white people stuff’ and being slavish in any way. After all, the term that is used for a Total Power Exchange (TPE) in the Lifestyle is Master and slave, not something delectably palatable like Milk and cookies. We’ve appropriated the terms ‘Master’ and ‘slave’ to best identify the consensual relationship style/dynamic between two people.
Reframing and creating a paradigm shift
The baggage that I carried with me the first several years of being involved in the Lifestyle community was managed through compartmentalizing internally and waffling. The very first play session I had was with a white couple that allowed me to visit some weekends, and I’d be chained to the bed at night and during the day there were some tasks. But when I wasn’t there, I simply wasn’t there. I had a ‘black life’ with a bunch of pro-black causes, Afrocentric clothes, and natural hair. And I scoffed at the idea of ever being a slave, period. It wasn’t until after understanding that what was really in my heart was to be and live as a slave did I realize I had some learning to do.
It was important for me to get a larger view of slavery beyond America. Historically, what were other styles of slavery? Were they all so brutal and dehumanizing? Where slaves ever valued relationally? What other forms of service existed? This was important for me so that the terminology (and S&M experienced with whites), though appropriated, wouldn’t be so loaded with racial stigmas in my mind. And you know what? For me, this worked. Firstly, it allowed me to simply be and live as a consensual slave. Secondly, it allowed me to comfortably form relationships in the M/s community with whites. Instead of always seeing the past, I can plumb the depths of TPE with like minds – which is a unifying mission because we all want our relationships to be successful and fulfilling! Yes, the history is very clear in my head, however, it’s not a history that dictates my relationships. If it did, that would only perpetuate the negatives.
What really matters: Compatibility!
Choosing to serve a Master because he’s white (and vice versa) isn’t something that will sustain a relationship – it may sustain a fetish, but not a relationship. There was a Master (white) who once said to me that he wanted to have a black slave and an Asian slave… That was so flaky to me because the desire was based solely on race/culture, not compatibility and the quality of service a slave could provide him. Choosing a compatible Master is what’s relevant, regardless of race/ethnicity, that’s really the bottom line. Yes, there may be issues to work through, cultural and otherwise, but that’s a part of life and having relationships – we work through the issues, misunderstandings, and miscommunications in order to keep the relationship thriving.