Dear ILS/b: SLAVERY IS NEVER FUCKING FUNNY!

Trigger Warnings:  Slavery, Rape, Violence against Women…

So this past weekend, at the International Leather Sir/boy (ILS/b) contest (yes THAT ILS/b) a pair of contestants thought it would be cute to put on a minstrel show enact a fantasy on a slave plantation, you know, for a goof, because American chattel slavery was a hilarious Abbott and Costello-style comedy. Picture it…

The soundtrack: “Deep in the Heart of Dixie” remixed with the soundtrack from “Deliverance” because, of course!

A White man, dressed as Colonel Sanders for some reason, is relaxing in the shade on his plantation’s back 40 with his boy, a Black man dressed as a KFC cashier? a slave?. After some initial blah blah blah about mixing business with pleasure, complete with lots of references to the Black man as “boy”, they mime a number of kink activities including enemas, fisting, and caning. Meanwhile Steppin Fetchit boy is giving you his best Happy Darkie. It couldn’t have been more convincing if he had said, “Yes suh massa!” or “I don’t know nuthin ‘bout birthin no babies” (oops, wrong minstrel show Academy Award winning movie). And then…

Massa puts a bit in boy’s mouth complete with harness and then mimes fucking him from behind/riding him like a horse. The fantasy ends as Massa says he loves dark meat as he climbs into boy’s lap and bounces up and down, because ultimately, isn’t it always about black dick cock?

Long…

…cleansing…

…Breath

First, let’s start with the fact that I have been Black all my life, and I have never heard even a single Negro long for the days of slavery, so who’s fantasy is this in the first damn place?? How deep in the sunken place must you reside to think that the ancestors would be kool with this shit?!

Second, and really this is the most important point, SLAVERY IS NEVER FUCKING FUNNY!!!. From the abduction from their homeland, to the Middle Passage across the Atlantic Ocean, to their lives in North America and the West Indies, there is absolutely NOTHING to joke about. Take the slave ship Aigle Aguila Negra, which sailed from the west coast of Africa on July 16, 1702, for example. Of the 500 souls that boarded the ship, only 107 made it to North America. Some probably committed suicide, but most died from the living conditions. The slaves were chained together for the entire 6-9 month voyage. Care to guess what those conditions were like?

Imagine you are stuck in the most crowded elevator you have ever been in, naked and chained to your fellow “passengers”. Now triple the number of people in the elevator with you and imagine that you remain in the elevator filled with the excrement and vomit and urine that are only occasionally cleaned out. Imagine that when people die from these conditions, they are not immediately removed and that you may be chained to one or more dead bodies for days or weeks. And let’s not forget that some of these people had never been on the sea before so they spent a significant part of the voyage seasick. Like I said, SLAVERY IS NEVER FUCKING FUNNY!!!

Contrary to the “fantasy” described, life as a slave was not filled with fried chicken and sexy times with your master. It was back breaking labor from well before sun up to well after sundown. If you were pregnant, as slave women were expected to be as often as possible, you were given MAYBE a day to recover before you were expected back at your duties. And many of those pregnancies were the result of rapes. That a young Black girl would be taken at least once against her will was an expected part of growing up. If she refused, she might be killed outright, or sold off, or hobbled in some fashion. Speaking of hobbling. If a slave was bold enough to try and run away and was caught, they cut off fingers, or toes, or feet, or ears, or noses as punishment.

Slaves had absolutely no control over their person, no agency whatsoever. Sally Hemmings was not Thomas Jefferson’s lover, or mistress, she was his slave. Every woman owes a debt of gratitude to James Marion Sims, the father of modern gynecology, but they owe a greater debt to Anarcha, Lucy and Betsey, the slave women on whom he performed surgery without anesthesia because it was believed that black people felt less pain than good white people, an idea that still persists to this day. SLAVERY IS NEVER FUCKING FUNNY!!!

Even after the end of official slavery, Black people have never been able to shake its legacy. Jim Crow laws restricted movements. White jealousy over Black success lead to the destruction of whole towns. A poor young Black boy with a mental disability was accused of “grabbing and sexually menacing” a White woman and they beat that boy so badly that his mother almost couldn’t identify the body. The woman admitted that she had lied, but her confession came 60 years too late. Black people have never been able to gain any emotional or psychological distance from slavery or its legacy, so for the last time, let me shout it for you hoes in the back, SLAVERY IS NEVER FUCKING FUNNY!!!

In the Leather/Kink community, we believe in not yucking someone’s yum. Well, I say FUCK THAT!! Your “yum” mocks my pain and that of my ancestors TO MY FACE. I am yucking this shit out of it!  If you spit in my face, you don’t respect me. That fantasy spat in the face of every one of my ancestors who was raped (male and female), or had their foot chopped off for trying to run away, or who were killed for resisting the sexual advances of the master, or who were just forced to be born, live, and die a million miles away from the land and people that nurtured them. Make no mistake; there were very few black lives that were untouched by the actual physical violence of slavery!

I have done too much reading about the horrors of slavery, the abduction from Africa, and the Middle Passage to see it as anything other than an atrocity that should be reviled, not celebrated, or played for laughs. It was an ancestral sacrifice that should be honored and held sacred and NEVER EVER EVER made fun of, especially by the descendants of those who held our ancestors in bondage and continue to benefit from their sacrifice in ways that we, the direct descendants of those slaves, still cannot more than 150 years later.

When people deny the importance or validity of your experience and you allow it, they will treat you any old kind of way. Ya Brista is not the one. SLAVERY IS NEVER FUCKING FUNNY!!!

Adventures in Black Leather is an occasional series about the life and times of a Black Gay Leatherman living in the big city.

10 Responses to “Dear ILS/b: SLAVERY IS NEVER FUCKING FUNNY!

  • David Haney
    2 months ago

    Recently I was contacted by a black man who “wanted to serve me.” I usually go by “Daddy” instead of Master because the effort of giving non-stop orders to a slave can be exhausting for me. I am white. He sent me white supremacist cartoons that were rather shocking, especially in the current political climate, to clarify that he really did want race play based in slavery. I settled for stripping him naked, putting him in a collar and restraints, and giving him a very mild flogging blindfolded on my cross. At that point the blindfold in conjunction with the collar and whips got him into the “slave mindset” of his fantasy (I think). He insisted on calling me “Master” and begged for my “white dick.” I rolled my eyes (thank you blindfold) and used the “n” word three times over the next two hours while fucking him. I thought I handled his requests pretty well. He told me afterward he really enjoyed it: especially being collared for the first time. In your opinion, did we do wrong in the privacy of my play room?

    • I don’t think you did anything wrong. The two of you lived out a mutually agreed-upon fantasy in private. As such, no one’s opinion ultimately matters on what happened even if it’s not something that they might engage in. The scene at ILS/b was a public “fantasy” involving a scenario that lots of people have real issues with, regardless of their own personal practices. There was no warning that such a scene was about to unfold, but given that the scene played to lots of laughter in the room, perhaps a warning was not necessary, which almost certainly says something about at least some of the attendees. People also live out rape fantasies in the privacy of their own home and I would be equally incensed if such a rape “fantasy” had been acted out on stage.

      A Jewish Facebook friend relayed a story of having attended a dungeon in his area and some people showed up in full Nazi regalia. Although they were ultimately turned away, he was still very angry at having been exposed to such a sight as it brought back memories of family who were killed by the actual Nazis. Many (most) Black people feel the same way about slavery. Again, what you do at home is your business, but what you do in public becomes my business whether I want to see it or not.

      Lastly, putting on such a performance at a leather event (and having it be well-received by the audience) sends a message to non-White people about what the event was about and how they might be received if they should attend. That may or may not be the case, but if you only ever read this story or saw the actual video, how would you know any different.

      Best of luck to you and your slave.

  • Jack Pearcs
    2 months ago

    What the author fails to realize or accept is that the scene in question was not set in the old south, but set in modern times and indeed was not about slavery. However, I most certainly agree that it was not well thought out as to the participants involved or the inevitable reaction! I also wholeheartedly agree the slavery is never, never, never funny!!!

    • In the video I saw, the narrator mentions that we are joining them in the shade on the plantation’s back 40. The Colonel speaks in an antebellum southern accent and then specifically says “down here in the south…”. Not sure what other conclusion we are supposed to draw about when the scene was set. It if was not supposed to be set in the old South during slavery, it was a very poorly thought out fantasy indeed!

  • Eric Crouse
    2 months ago

    Many years ago, when I still rather heavily involved in the community, I was working at the Baltimore Eagle and was asked by a customer (who happened to be Black) if I would be interested in doing a Master/slave scene on him. I had to clarify if he meant the tradition M/s scenario of the Leather Community. When he clarified that he wanted to do one in the historical sense, I can honestly say that I was a bit skeeved out. Not at the idea of doing a scene, but doing a scene with the mindset of a White Master and Black slave. I couldn’t fathom why someone would want to go that route, knowing the dark history behind it. It was completely beyond my comfort zone and I refused to have anything to do with it.

    • Although there are relatively few of them, there are some Black men and women who are interested in pursuing a historical slavery fantasy. It’s not something I have any interest in as a Dom and DEFINITELY not as a sub, but as long as it’s in the privacy of your own home between 2 or more consenting adults, it’s none of my affair. I am sure he found someone to help him live out his fantasy. Come on back to the community! There’s still plenty to do and see! 🙂

  • Steven Fischer
    2 months ago

    This is a joke right? You have a foundation of dehumanizing, degrading, torturing and draping people for sex. you call it consensual when you know it comes from a damaged childhood. You capitalize on the damage done to a child who never knew to value themselves and you draw the line at a minstrel show?

    • And you, Steven, had just demonstrated how one-dimensional, ignorant, and poorly experienced you are in the BDSM lifestyle. I could go on, I could list off all the reasons you’re wrong, the reasons your commentary is not only unwelcome but futile and irrelevant, I could explain to you, in depth, how no one gives a damn about your inflammatory baiting, your patronizing tone and total lack of context, background, real-time experience, how clearly you’re intimidated by a powerful black author who’s taking a stand against something witnessed in our community and proving yourself to be somewhat child-like and naive about our community, racism in America, and YOUR place in it… I could. But I have no need. Show yourself out.

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