A written (and heavily link-laden) history of the recent Racism Shitstorm (tm) here on Fetlife

Because @_Spiral_'s writing is fucking awesome and such awesomeness does not deserve the questionable honor of staying hidden from the world by FetLife’s walled garden, I figured I’d take the opportunity of the intense scrutiny I’m currently under to highlight other people’s work on important issues. (I’ve moved up. Now, I’m gonna move back on some things. Thanks to Susan Werner for the uncomfortable reminder that the more attention I receive, the more I need to do this.)

As @_Spiral_ describes in the piece below and as I’ve also experienced personally, many folks are brushed off, ignored, or actively silenced because they are messengers of uncomfortable truths. I empathize with how shitty it feels to be surrounded by people who insist that the thing you care passionately about, the thing that’s hurting you deeply every damned day, is “not a big deal.” Or that it’s “just a kink, and YKINMKBYKIOK.” Or to, “sheesh, dude, relax.”

That’s why I’m particularly pleased to note how persistent _Spiral_ is being on the issue of racism in the BDSM Scene. People are angry, because, in their own words, they “didn’t like [their] sexy paradise getting invaded with real world things because [they] come onto Fetlife to relax and get away from all that stuff.” Well, as I’ve said before: “I like to make it difficult for people to forget about all that,” and anyone else who’s killing these apathetic or otherwise uncaring people’s metaphorical boners deserves all the accolades I can muster.

A lot of people don’t know what started all of this, so here we go.

For me, there are some personal aspects to it that i’m going to include so that people can understand why I in particular got so upset.

It actually starts back before Dark Odyssey: Winter Fire (and actually even before then, but i’ll stick to THIS year). I received a PM from someone (a white person) who wanted to play, and things seemed reasonably on the level, so i checked out their profile to see if we actually had any common interests or kinks. It turns out that they were very sexually focused on BBC. For those of you that don’t know, this means Big Black Cock.

Now, there are many who think that this stereotype is a compliment (it isn’t). I personally hate this trope, because it seems to be, a lot of times, the only reason some people want to talk to me. It often shows me that they don’t actually care about who i am as a person, or want to get to know me, they just want me to put a part of me, that they THINK looks a certain way, inside them (or they just want to ogle).

I, as you might expect, did not respond to this person.

Then a little while ago, this site’s illustrious owner, John Baku, posted a little joke.

And people thought it was just so funny!

And then, when it was pointed out that this is racist, and NOT funny, people piled on to defend the joke, if they didn’t justdismiss the criticism outright.

I then posted this writing and made a comment linking to it. The thread on my writing went on for a bit and got derailed, but the point was made.

THEN (and this is something a lot of you most likely did NOT see)…

A member of this site who was on my friends’ list “loved” a picture that was posted by another who went by the name of “Brandy4BBC.” Guess what she’s into? In fact, in viewing her profile, it turned out that she ONLY has sex with black men (also some other problematic things). As you might have guessed, she’s white. Anyway, i messaged said “friend” and asked him not to support racism in the scene, and that i’d appreciate if these things did not show up in my feed, at least. He required further explanation, so i provided it, saying:

The BBC fetish is racist, as it non-consensually objectifies black male bodies (ie mine). There is a long history of treating black people as less than human, and this is part of it.

He then tried to deflect it talking about other bodily fetishizations (with which i ALSO have problems, but that’s for later), and went into some bullshit about intent (magic!). ::de-friend::

At this point i was, frankly, EXTREMELY angry. Not so much at the fact that yet ANOTHER person had a BBC fetish that people thought was no big deal, but also because i’d received YET ANOTHER example of how racist thought patterns and attitudes go unchallenged even by people who call themselves my friends. I ended up venting to another friend of mine (one who thankfully DOES get it) and she and i joked back and forth about just how much white people don’t get it. That conversation and the comments we made turned into this post, which by now, people are pretty familiar with.

Now, i didn’t actually WANT cause a shitstorm, but as we know, intent is not now, has never been and will never be magic. What i thought was interesting, though, was how things evolved. A lot of the first bunch of comments were supportive but very quickly there was dismissiveness (again, and again, and again, and again), defensiveness, and derisiveness (also in many other comments; just go to the thread and it’s follow-ups).

Many people chimed (or in some cases roared) in, and after a while i posted this which was at first just a comment (posted twice) to explain some of what i posted and why, but which i also made into its own post because i figured (correctly) that there would be a string of commentary related JUST to that. Anyway the original thread went on and on, went to K&P, and comments got more and more “interesting,” so i posted another comment which became its own post. This time around i was complaining again, but mostly about the responses i’d gotten. Not because i was catching static for the things i’d said, but because SO MANY PEOPLE were either dismissing, trolling, or VEHEMENTLY defending their own racist thoughts and attitudes without challenging them in the slightest. It was all about “well, i can’t be racist because…” or “you’re being the real racist because you’re using generalizations about white people, and i’m not like that” or people taking one very small part of what i said and picking at it instead of reading the whole thread (or even the whole post) to even try and get what i was REALLY talking about.

What i found to be interesting and encouraging, on the other hand, was how other people started coming out of the woodwork to post their own writings about racism and other aspects of social justice which needed to be addressed, but which some people thought were inappropriate to bring up on a site devoted to BDSM (especially the racism). As someone put it, they didn’t like their sexy paradise getting invaded with real world things because they come onto Fetlife to relax and get away from all that stuff.

But of course the issue with that is the fact that marginalized people (of many types) can’t leave that behind because they face microagressions at every turn and Fetlife is no exception. So these things have to be brought up here and everywhere else and discussed and broken down so that the aforementioned “sexy paradise” aspect of this site is equally accessible to everyone.

See also: