There’s a munch beginning the Orlando area that is only for people of color (POC). There has been quite a reaction from the local community who believe that POC-only spaces are inherently racist. These people mention they came into kink because they sought authenticity where people are not divided by things like race.
I’ve debated with some of these people on FetLife, but mostly I’ve rolled my eyes. I wanted to write about this topic and about why I think a POC munch is a great idea, but once I started to do research on the recent history of POC-only spaces, I began to realize that my voice isn’t the one that needs to be centered here. So instead of my opinion, I’m using my platform to share resources created by women and nonbinary folks of color.
Kink in particular is supposed to be a realm where you can safely and consensually express the desires from the deepest parts of your subconscious. That can be a tricky thing considering the unconscious prejudices and ideas that exist in the minds of even the most liberal people. Fetishizing is a pretty good example of this, as preconceived notions about a person’s race or ethnicity could inform much of what you assume about them in a sexual capacity. There already exists plenty of tropes about black women’s inherent hypersexuality, and it’s something that made me shy away from my curiosities in the past.
Sajae Elder, What It’s Like to Be a Black Woman Into Kink
Though it may feel like creating PoC spaces is a regression to the pre-Civil Rights era, that feeling affirms a disconnection with the reality of racism in America today. Regression would mean that we’ve solved the pain of racial inequality since that time. It would mean that in integrated spaces everyone has equal access to being felt, seen, and heard….[POC only] spaces aren’t acts of oppression, but rather responses to it. They are our opportunity to be with each other away from the abuses of racism and patterns of white dominance. Given that space to breathe, there’s a possibility of healing. Being together can offer resiliency for bringing our fullness into integrated spaces where it will inevitably be challenged.
Kelsey Blackwell, Why People of Color Need Spaces Without White People
While white privilege allows large groups of white folks to gather together without question, Black folks can’t even hold public space without being views as suspicious or troublesome. We continue to be perceived as “violent” (even when no harm or destruction is present). These conditions show how, more than ever, all Black spaces continue to be vital for Black survival, resistance, and healing.
[S]elf-organised “white spaces” – think far-right groups – are almost always layered with prejudice and the flawed notion of ethnic superiority. They are made in opposition to diversity and multiculturalism – and that, coupled with the uniquely powerful positions white people hold in society, is why they are unacceptable and reek of segregation. Black-only spaces rarely exist for the same purpose; instead they are founded on the basis of the true lived experiences of struggle. By denying white people entry to them we are not reflecting existing power structures, we are trying to subvert them.
Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff, Why there’s nothing racist about black-only spaces
No, I’m not under the impression that this will change the mind of people who believe that ignoring race will somehow make racism go away. Those “well-meaning” folks who fail to see the difference between historic, legal segregation and people of color meeting without white people are beyond me. What I hope this will do is help people who feel somewhat uncomfortable with the idea but can’t pinpoint why or put it into words. Many of the arguments against a POC munch are based on playground logic and don’t examine the deeper context involved in this issue. Honestly, getting past that can take work. Yes, work that needs to be done, but it is work. I deeply appreciate the authors for sharing their journeys.
Finally, I would love to read more perspectives from people of color in the kink community. Please share those resources if you have them and I can update this post. Did any of these articles resonate with you? Is there a POC only munch in your local kink community? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.