BDSM is blacker than usual

black girl in bondage

As I was distracted being white and living in Italy, where color issues aren’t particularly pressing, overseas began the Black history month, and many interesting cultural events with it. In this larger context The kink realm, a smart BDSM culture website, is running the second yearly Kinky black history monthinitiative – a celebration of African-American kinksters. Visiting the official page of the event you will find a growing series of links to articles, interviews and various assorted media.
Since I cannot claim any especially in-depth knowledge of this topic, I will refrain from spouting trivialities. I can however quote Dr. Staci Newmahr who, in her analysis in Playing on the edge, noted how underrepresented colored people are within the BDSM scene. Of course there can be many reasons for this, some of them more intuitive than others – yet the “self-narrative reason” seems to be the stronger one, and this is something I can confirm from my observations of the Italian kinky scene.

To put it briefly, here in Ye Olde Italy there is in fact another minority who just won’t mingle with the BDSM scene: gays. The reason is that, generally speaking, the local gay culture is intensely centered on the single factor of being homosexual and “other, different”. This drives the self-perception of its members so strongly and obsessively that many of them simply won’t associate with anything outside of it – not even when it comes to join other self-perceived outsiders like heterosexual BDSMers. The result? An astounding success in isolating themselves, becoming “invisible” to the general kinky population, and plainly not having as much fun as others. All of this without ever having being actually ghettoized by otherwise oriented people.
So my question to the readers is: how much of the under-representation of black and other colored minorities in BDSM is due to actual racism, and how much to a similar self-imposed separatism? I will be extremely happy to learn from your comments.

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