Worldbuilding Wednesday – Slavery as a “Necessary Evil” | Zina on Patreon

Why is it that many of us can’t imagine worlds where slavery just… doesn’t exist?

I mean, we’re writing fiction frequently untethered from the horror of our world and yet… one constant throughout much of our worldbuilding as genre writers and whatnot is slavery. Either in sexy slavery stories that ignore context and consent, as the backdrop of sprawling epics that nod to slavery but see it as a necessary and unstoppable evil, or as the main way that supernaturals and other extra-human beings wield power.

This is a Worldbuilding Wednesday post on slavery in non-fandom fiction and my thoughts about how slavery is seen as a “necessary evil” in worldbuilding for many different kinds of fiction genres. Obviously from the POV of a Black person who has written and read this type of fiction.

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Worldbuilding Wednesday – Slavery as a “Necessary Evil” | Zina on Patreon

6 Startling Things About Sex Farms During Slavery That You May Not Know

osunism:

fedupblackwoman:

thingstolovefor:

The fertility of enslaved women was examined by owners to make sure they were able to birth as many children as possible. Secretly, slave owners would impregnate enslaved women and when the child was born and grew to an age where he could work on the fields, they would take the “very same children (of their) own blood and make slaves out of them,” as pointed out in the National Humanities Center Resource Toolbox on Slaveholders’ Sexual Abuse of Slaves.

It was common for the slave to be subordinated sexually to the master–even men with enslaved males. It was part of the enslaved man’s function as an “animated tool,” an instrument of pleasure.

When enslaved males turned 15 years old–and younger in some cases–they had their first inspection. Boys who were under-developed, had their testicles castrated and sent to the market or used on the farm. Each enslaved male was expected to get 12 females pregnant a year. The men were used for breeding for five years. One enslaved man name Burt produced more than 200 offspring, according to the Slave Narratives.

To combat the high rate of death among the enslaved, plantation owners demanded females start having children at 13. By 20, the enslaved women would be expected to have four or five children. As an inducement, plantation owners promised freedom for enslaved female once she bore 15 children, according to Slavery in the United States by John Simkin.

If the enslaved woman was considered “pretty,” she would be bought by plantation owner and given special treatment in the house, but often subjected to horrifying cruelty by the master’s wife, including the beheading of a child because he was the product of a enslaved-master affair.

Often, the plantation owner would entertain his friends by forcing the enslaved Blacks to have orgies–multiple pairings having sex in front of them. And the white men often would participate in the debauchery. 

SOURCE


People often forget to examine and discuss the sexual exploitative nature of slavery and how it was “necessary” to ensure the survival of the slave system. It’s sooooo sick! My soul is disturbed. We are a resilient people but damnit if our history isn’t one of terror and unimaginable evil. God bless and comfort my ancestors! Smh. #Hate it!

If the enslaved woman was considered “pretty,” she would be bought by
plantation owner and given special treatment in the house, but often
subjected to horrifying cruelty by the master’s wife, including the
beheading of a child because he was the product of a enslaved-master
affair.

Just wanted to highlight this part too for people trying to excuse white women’s part in the abuse of slaves back then and their children.

Reading this took everything out of me, broke me down.

This is the reason why your slavery narratives in your fiction and your fetishization of Black bodies are abhorrent. This is why I will always shit directly on anyone who tries to sell the slavery as a ‘romantic meet-cute’ in any form of media.

greenwithregrets:

when we say “it’s okay to enjoy media with problematic elements while also  being critical of it”, we mean elements like “the main female character is a shallow love interest” or “the cast lacks body diversity”.

Not like “the main plot concerns a romance between a white dude and his slave”, that shit’s kind of beyond the scope of a problematic element.

Is that slave post about captive prince? I’ve never read it but from what I’ve heard it’s bad

cassandrashipsit:

eazzy–pink:

That specific post was something done in response to a popular artist in a particular fandom drawing art for that series depicting the slave character in chains and calling themselves liking the dynamic. So, yes, that is true.

But honestly, that post is about more than just the Captive Prince. It’s about how people trivialize and diminish the brutality of slavery and find themselves calling the fetishization of human suffering a fictional trope that can be explored. I think I get what the major premise is, the concept of finding love despite hardship, but the thing is– slavery was more than just a “hardship.” Slavery was an entire system of brutalization that was excused for the sake of profit and saw some of the most egregious human rights violations in the world. Slavery was about the stripping of personhood, of putting a price on a person’s life and selling them as a commodity, enough to the point that an entire economy thrived from the torture, rape, and suffering an entire subset of people endured. Slavery was about enforcing this idea that people could be lesser beings on the basis of some arbitrary thing and, when the slavery ended, the slave masters who lost realized the market just opened up with a large amount of competition they weren’t prepared for so they went through and made it impossible for future generations of freed people to even make it through life. 

Slavery was awful. So awful it’s left a scientifically proven imprint on the people who descended from them and you’d be surprised at how recent it actually is. This year, I just found out that I have a grandmother six times removed who escaped from her masters in Louisiana and I’ve known for a while that, on the other side of my family, there are two parts of it– the white side that owned slaves and my side, the black side, that descended from them.

Fandom is not a monolith but I find it incredibly disturbing that so many people don’t know or don’t bother to care about the impact of slavery and how the things that went on were damaging. But what shocks me the most is the overt sexualization of slavery and relationships between masters and slaves. People want to believe so bad in the concept of the “kind slave master.” The master that doesn’t whip the slaves or has sex with them or treats them well.

But here’s the thing– there is no such thing as a kind slave master and everything people think they know about it is all horse shit.

Slaves were considered property. They had no rights, they had no protections, and the only law that mattered was what the master did and wanted. There was no such thing as consent between slaves and masters. If the slave didn’t do what the master wanted, they ran the risk of getting beaten, tortured, or sold to a master well known for their brutality. Some slaves that had their masters’ children were as young as 12 and 13 and they would be accosted at even younger ages. Men were also sexually abused by the master’s wives, often times resulting in the wife having the slave’s child and his subsequent torture and death because the master’s wife would claim the slave raped her and, honestly, why would the master believe any different?

When people write about romantic relationships between masters and slaves, ultimately, it’s not the romance that they actually care about– it’s the fetishization that really matters to them. They fetishize slavery, so much to the point that one of the most popular staples of shipping and slash culture sees certain pairings having a dynamic where the white partner steps on, brutalizes, and fetishizes their partner of color and people really buy into that. I can barely get into new fandoms with black or brown characters because inevitably, a huge swath of that fandom will ship that black or brown character with a white person who uses them as a chair, steps on them, sexualizes slavery, and actually calls the partner that, a “slave,” and that disgusts me. 

You got a whole ass fandom of people that romanticize the Founding Fathers and call themselves “Hamilton-kin,” relating to a bunch of slave owning pricks that raped their slaves and fathered children they also kept as slaves. You got a fandom of people that call themselves a fan of a character that escaped his slavery but write fanfic and draw art of him being the slave to their nasty ass, square beard ass, boring ass, default player Garrett or Marian and enacting upon him the same abuse he faced in the canon with the master he escaped from. You got a fandom of people that honestly, when you look at what they say and do, shit doesn’t add up and you realize that the whole notion of safe fandom space only applies when people are using it as an excuse to do horrible shit.

I mean, sure, people can regulate themselves and stay away from certain things if it bothers them, but what happens when a large part of the fandom subscribes to a bunch of gross shit that is everywhere and safe spaces aren’t easy to find for those trying to avoid things? Why is it that safe spaces are for those minorities over there to find and not for people who should be more conscious about the fact that fandom often heavily skews in favor of majority opinions which tend to be really gross a lot of times? Why is it that “it’s your blog/go do it yourself/don’t like, don’t read” when it comes to protecting gross behaviors, but when people bring up the nuance and silencing that happens when people do that, suddenly folks don’t know how to read? Why is it that when queer people of color call out gross racism in a slash ship, the shippers come down and call them homophobic and act like they’re being discriminated against?

So, yes, that slavery post was about Captive Prince, but it was also about my black ass being tired of people using the actual suffering my people endured as a “romantic plot device” when in reality, it was anything but. That post was about how people see actual human suffering as an interesting aspect of a story and not a horrific thing that really happened. That post was about how I have seen far too many people who have no fucking right cherry picking stories and history to fit their disgusting narrative but then want to shout “it’s just fiction, it’s just fiction!” when people who are rightfully angry about the twisting of their history yet again coming down on them.

Media doesn’t exist in a vacuum and I don’t care if that bitch was a “WAG,” if you relate to the concept of being trapped, or if you are a slash shipper, slavery is disgusting, brutal, and ugly and if an entire romantic plot revolves around a master being in love with and sexually engaging with a slave, that is horrible propaganda being passed off as acceptable when in reality it is rape. When a person is denied the right to say “no” by virtue of not even being considered a person, that is not a consensual relationship and I hate how people pass it off as such.

“…slavery is disgusting, brutal, and ugly and if an entire romantic plot revolves around a master being in love with and sexually engaging with a slave, that is horrible propaganda being passed off as acceptable when in reality it is rape. When a person is denied the right to say “no” by virtue of not even being considered a person, that is not a consensual relationship and I hate how people pass it off as such.”