I’m back to picking at that piece on how fandom and romance circles see “slavery AUs” as just this commonplace and harmless fact of fandom and I’m rewatching I Am Not Your Negro. I’m thinking of things. Painful things.
Slavery AUs just… A majority of the works in and out of fandom that center and sexualize slavery on alternate Earths or otherwise take everything that Black people’s ancestors have experienced (the rapes, the torture, the murders, the lynchings, the trauma) from slavery to the Civil Right’s Movement to now and just… divorce them from Blackness, from the bleakness of Black history, just so that they can write sexy sex with two of their white faves.
I’ve seen stories that literally take the plantation experience to use as the backdrop of their shitty stories. I’ve seen writers take the horrid, horrifying relationship that masters had with the people they claimed to own, and sexualize it. Slavery as something that gets you off rather than something that was (and that led to) some of the worst atrocities this country has seen and committed on its shows.
There is a difference between fiction that shows slavery in a BDSM context (where the submissibe chooses to give up power and control) and the slavery that entrapped the ancestors of Black people for centuries (where there was no consent to be seen).
I don’t think many non-Black people get that it’s a really thin difference.
People dismiss this as purity wank and you know what, maybe it is. To them. To people that see conversations about what the kinks we like in our lives and fiction really mean. I don’t think that sanitizing fiction is the way to go, but neither is writing content little better than Mandingo – and perhaps even worse for the fact that Black people are (thankfully??) afterthoughts in these pieces.
How do you take a slave narrative and not only turn it into actual masturbatory wank fodder, but whitewash the realities about what enslaved Africans and their descendants went through?
How do you miss the fact that what you find sexy, is literally something that remained a real nightmare for people well into the sixties?
How do you say that all of this content, content that I’ve found in actual published novels (like C@ptive Pr!nce), doesn’t pull from and eroticize the actual suffering millions of people went through?
How can you say that you believe #BlackLivesMatter when you take the suffering our ancestors went through, strip Blackeness from it, and then add it to your mediocre porn?
I keep picking, picking, picking at that damn post on slavery AUs but I don’t even think it’s going to get off the ground because I cannot (will not) handle non-Black people telling me that it’s just a kink or that fiction doesn’t in any way pull from reality. (Like I don’t agree that fiction affects reality like some of these weirdos in the voltron fandom say it does, but can we all agree that at the least, fiction and fandom aren’t formed in vacuums?)
I have had nonBlack people explain so many things about antiblackness to me, but if slavery winds up being one of those things…
I will hurt someone’s feelings badly.