Power exchange and racial respect.

I am oyinbo (white) and my girlfriend is enyo (Yoruba in fact but the word is generic for "black" or "people") . She has a domme tendency (maybe calls herself "Nubian Goddess") but I have made it plain from before we started that I see "switch" as the key to kink. It's the possibility of breaking taboos, going a little (up to safeword) beyond your comfot zone.

Well, she is a good sport and a sexual being, and after I let her have first crack (so to speak) in the driving seat, I demanded my turn to dominate - she declined, and a bit of physical force (not beyond the ambit of the game, there was a safe word in force) was used. It worked, the game produced mutual excitement. And some mild pain - as she had caused me before.

Now we come to the conscience bit. I am white and she is black. So the usual bdsm terms of "master" and "slave" contain very unacceptable connotations. I did not cotton on to that the first time but she has challenged me on it (outside the bedroom) and she is right. It would be culturally insensitive for me to use those terms - so, when the dice determine that I am in charge - how do I reframe this to avoid seeming a racist?

Would using Dom and Sub not do? That denotes power but not in any way can it be connected to race. Or just use Sir/Ma'am for the top and something like dog/bitch or whatever for the bottom?

Sorry I can't be of any more help as we settled into Boss & Bitch without any fuss. I guarantee you someone here will have a brilliant answer for you though :)

I see this as a non issue. If she knows you're equals outside of bdsm what does it matter what terms you use?
Stop worrying about what other people think - its only culturally unacceptable to third parties and who cares what they think.

But to answer your question - how about slut, girl, you, oi, or some other derogatory term of your choosing? Master can be sir, or you can defer in other ways such as no eye contact

Personally I dont think it has any racial meaning, white people were slaves too, people are still slaves today. I find it quite racist to say that a general term like that is racist.

but that's beside the point, if she finds a term offensive if doesn't like it don't use it, call her a bitch or any other word that pols into your head

If you were black would it be ok?

But again I stray, subs suggestions are very good

Dom (or "Sir") and "Sub" or maybe "bitch" are good, but there is still the nature of the respective positions.

in the context of an association with the immemorial oppression of black by white, one that runs back at least as far as the first raids by Portuguese slavers in North Africa, itself long before the depredations and racist oppressions visited by Columbus and so many after him in the USA, there is a social problem.

It is (IMHO) vital to understand that racism is irretrievably bound up with the power, historically, to oppress as experienced by the oppressed - which is why it can be experienced by Jews (still) and Afrikans and Muslims - but can never be fully understood or experienced by white anglo-saxon protestants (or Roman Catholics). The assertion that blacks can be racist against whites is oignorant or unthinking and probably malign.

Why not just ask her what it is you would like to call each other, and find something that you would both find acceptable depending on the switch.

I personally find the whole idea of racism to be racist. And the whole idea of sexism to be sexist.

bunnys idea of asking her what she wants to be called it best. Or just don't use derogatory terms for one and other if you're worried about causing offence

Slavery dates back to erm the beginning of time.

It ain't a black and white thing, it's a matter of power. Battles were fought one side would win and the other side would become slaves.

You could say that the version that springs to mind when people talk about slavery was more on an industrial scale, but was that the nature of the people perpatrating it at that time, or an element of the times that everything was being industrialized.

Personally I've never enslaved anyone in either a real or sexual sense so if someone who was not a slave brought up mis-givings about me being a slave owner, I would say they are projecting someone elses misery onto themselves which somewhat belittles the cruelty of slavery.

It's like objecting to someone dressing up as a roman solider, or as a Norman knight. One of the best quotes on this comes from a film.

None of us have enslaved anyone. Very few still alive were born into slavery. It's a discussion over an offence we did not give, against those who were not alive to be offended.

Slightly changed the quote but you get the point. Now if she was offended because you called her a black slave or a black bitch, then she may have a point about that being rasist rather than any offensive point about slavery.

I don't have any suggestions but I get where you're coming from. The power dynamic has difficult echoes in history, ones where consent wasn't even on the table. Years ago, a friend of mine who's a lecturer in history and African art put together an exhibit in Second Life on the slave trade, including a detailed reconstruction of a slave ship. Seeing that in a context where a click of the mouse could land you in dozens of scenarios devoted to playing at hyper-sexualised slavery was chilling.

Generally slave and sub (and servant etc) means different things within BDSM. A slave is well treated like a slave (well as much as possible which still considers their safety and yours - yep it works both ways). Generally submissive is a better term for most bedroom kinksters as you just sub, where as a slave has less freedom and is treated like such.

Maybe she just doesn't like the idea of being a submissive. Sadly there aren't actually many people who are willing to switch particularly when they have found their feet within one zone or another. I myself wouldn't switch, the whole idea doesn't seem possible to me, and if a sub tried to top me from the bottom I'd ask them to leave (even if their were paying as my status is very important to me professionally and personally).

There are lots of people who come from different cultures where slavery is a real thing, yet they still accept them terms and think of them differently to what happens in everyday life to their kink life. Gernally it's only when the culture / background is brought into play when people get offended and then their are those who seek out mistresses who will use race , culture, gender, sexuality as a way of humilating them.

But if you are able to Dom her, you should be able to use your own terms / words to refer to her as long as you are both ok with it. For example, I refer to one as Mr Pink, he hates being called that as he hates poink, but it just shows how in charge I am.

Generally in pro domming bitch isn't used as a general term as refering to a sub, often it's a way of humilation, particular to sexual seens like forced bi etc. I know it's used more in the bedroom though. But then again it's personally up to you.

But just remember not everyone can switch and that many don't feel comfortable doing it (whetehr they be a Dom or a sub).

We have become a race that sees problems where there are non such is the pc world we live in.
Plenty of words out there you can use but I'm guessing in the scenario no offence would be taken and the concern is just yours. Life is getting awkward nowadays and before anyone can speak we have to run it through our internal politically correct manual to check whether it may cause offence. May as well give up on vocal communication.

I think the thing that is actually vital to understand is that a sub/dom relationship has nothing to do with racism. You're saying a white dom can never have a black sub because the fact that she is black makes it racist? That is ridiculously racist in itself. This is a problem your partner (and indeed others no doubt) has, and that's fine. But to say there is something wrong society wide is just going too far. To say that blacks cannot be racist against whites, that is also going too far. Absolutely anyone can be racist against anyone regardless of what history their race has. Ever been called 'cracker'? 'Mayonnaise'? Racism comes from all sides and is an ugly ugly thing. But a master slave relationship is a sexual thing. Not a racist thing. As others have said, ask her what term she would prefer. But don't condone people as racist when they are not being racist. It is important to understand when things are being used in context. This is about you and your partner, that's it. Worry about getting it right for her, not trying to set the world to rights.

Personally, I think race will always be a problem as long as people, like yourself, are labelling people as black and white.

The fact that you and your partner have a problem with the word slave is also reinforcing racism as far as I'm concerned. The meaning of the word slave is (noun) a person who is the legal property of another and is forced to obey them, or (verb) work excessively hard. Not once is the persons race brought into the meaning of the word race.

Saves can come in all shapes, sizes, sexes and colours, and while I understand that the history of black slavery is very important to our modern day society in reinstating that it was wrong and everyone is equal, I personally think the longer people refuse to say the word slave around a black person, the longer there is going to be a problem with making everyone on this planet equal.

If you're really uncomfortable with the terms then use the words Dom and Sub, but unless you, your partner, yours or her immediately family were slaves then there shouldn't be any reason for offence to be caused.

Personally, I think avoiding the word just contributes to the problems that people have with people's race.

If she's called you on it, then I'd ask her what she would prefer.

But I'd agree with what's been said here already: it's only a big deal if you make it a big deal. Racism isn't about words, it's about the intention behind them.

Ughhhh I hate how PC the world has become. We all are tiptoeing around each other scared to use certain words incase we cause offence.
If you love each other and are in a consenting sub/dom relationship then no offence should be taken. Just ask her what she would prefer to be called.

Personally i don't think it is any more offensive than the woman being subordinate to the male as life in general used to say women were lesser beings.

Is there need to label it at all? Either you take it in turns so theres no need to discuss who is master and who isn't that day, or it just is naturally decided by who feels more dominant on the specific day and asserts themself, til the other backs down and accepts the subordinate role.

rogerthechorister wrote:

I am oyinbo (white) and my girlfriend is enyo (Yoruba in fact but the word is generic for "black" or "people") . She has a domme tendency (maybe calls herself "Nubian Goddess") but I have made it plain from before we started that I see "switch" as the key to kink. It's the possibility of breaking taboos, going a little (up to safeword) beyond your comfot zone.


I find it odd that you have chosen to use another language and translated it to define white and black. What is the meaning behind your choice?

Also, my bold. Isn't prejudice based on race a taboo? I am not about to suggest you sabotage your relationship with someone who is obviously racially sensitive, and as per everyone elses comments, just ask what she likes. Maybe she wants to call you pinky while she beats you, just make sure you cuddle afterward.

Slavery has always and still exists outside of white culture, I think the reason it is seen as a black/white issue is because white folks are the only slavers to have given the descendants of their victims a place in society and a voice.

How did we get to the point where being aware of and sensitive to the historical associations of words can be thought of as racist or as perpetuating racism? The existence of slavery in other cultures doesn't diminish the magnitude of the African slave trade to the Americas or how long after its end its negative effects have lasted, including segregation and racism.

Even if it's not an obvious part of your personal life or family history, why not be a bit more understanding of those who do experience prejudice?

A large part of it is misplaced white guilt, to be honest. People tend to feel guilty and defensive even if they have not done anything wrong.

In the context of this thread, I don't think anyone could argue that racism is a horrendous thing and it does still rear its ugly head more than it should in this day and age, but the perpetuating part comes from crying racism where there is none. Not only that, but it trivialises real instances of racism if you claim it where it patently is not.

The OP is admirably sensitive to his partner's feelings but, really, slave and master/mistress have far transcended historical slavery, particularly when you're discussing a kink where they're almost as inbuilt as the bonds that give it its name. Maybe the best thing that she could do is reappropriate those terms but if she's uncomfortable with that then, as suggested, there are loads of other terms they could use that might not be so emotive.