"I began writing what you are about to read ten hours after the incident occurred. I wrote this piece as a Facebook post, and with minor editing, I’ve kept it intact for this publication. My hope is that the result of me telling, and telling, and telling my experience is that the circle of allies for people of color will widen. Primarily, I share my stories of oppression so that other oppressed peoples can know that they are not alone. That said, I do not expect for any oppressed person to feel less alone, not until every community develops an understanding of privilege and oppression so well-cultivated that the event I describe below becomes rare, unlikely, not the norm."
I seem to have reached that inevitable stage of living when I am, not obsessed, but fascinated by the question of how my life turned out the way it did, rather than some other way.
I’m not unhappy. I’m the happiest person I know. But when the first digit of your age becomes a six, it’s […]
"by Herman Groenewald- I want to tell you about me, and various people in South Africa. Please understand that I will use typically South Africanisms to explain my story. I was born before the apartheid era, and lived through it, and am still here in Cape Town, where I was born, in a mixed race area. That is, there were white people and people of mixed race locally known as coloured people all living in harmony. At a very young age I went with my family (Dad, Mother and youngest sister who is three years older than me) to a big building in town to proclaim that a family living four doors away from where we lived were known as white. The father was a white man from England and the mother was coloured. They had three sons and a daughter, who were my childhood playmates. We as a family, had to state that we knew them as an all white family so they could be classified as white and therefore benefit from certain privileges, such as, they were able to go to cinemas, restaurants and white schools,where the learning was better."
"by Jaco Lourens-I was born in Pretoria in the height of the struggle of against apartheid, little did I know that all this craziness was around me. I grew up in a small town called Newcastle, a miner's town. My earliest memory of meeting someone of colour was our maid who would come and clean our home once a week, besides her, I never met anyone really, as the group area's act was in place. Being raised well with manners to be friendly to everyone, I would see people of colour in the street, one would smile and go on with your own business. One particular day my dad got a man to come clean and shape up our garden, and he brought his son with, Thabo, he was a year younger than me, I was very happy to see someone else to play with me, and in the dirt with my toy cars."
"by Ahmad Refky- When I was first approached about writing a piece for this series, I was a bit bewildered about where to start. How do I sum up everything I feel about race relations into one article? How do I sum up 14 year of experience as an immigrant into one coherent piece that articulates my views on race in the United States without offending or alienating everybody in the process? The truth is I can’t!"
"By Ruff Wray I have spent the past two weeks being angry. I’ve been seeing the reports of the lack of indictments for Darren Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo for the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. The anger is for two reasons. One is the lack of even a pretense of justice. The other is how other white people have reacted. Many have been as outraged as I am and taking action. Joining protests, engaging others, doing what they can to boost the signal. Others… they don’t see the problem. They think the grand juries made the right decision or since it’s done it’s over. Or they don’t see the point of protesting. Even better, they’re angry that the protests are in their way."
"by Tobin Britton When first asked to contribute to this peace I’ll admit I had hesitation. It came on the cusp of insane rulings that have the Black Nation reeling and those of us, including myself, who have firsthand experience of, or witness to, police brutality feeling fearful and enraged. I have my own personal accounts I could relate but I have decided that is not my goal today. I need no sympathy, we now have awareness. The awareness of the Nation. What we have apparently needed, to remind people that racism in all of its insidious forms is in no way, dead. It had been sort of, swept under the rug in the wake of gains in the 60’s and 70’s. We thought we had come out victorious with sweeping cries of tolerance and Jim Crows laws struck down. Desegregation and the mixing of races on a daily basis had us fooled because of” tolerance”. You read that correctly, tolerance. I’m sure you are thinking, “what could possibly be wrong with tolerance?”."
" By Ramien Pierre- Part of my titleholder privilege is unearned acceptance when I go into most leather spaces, so I’m often insulated from moments when my race is conspicuous. But I’ve had a few since being named IML. These moments occur frequently enough to me and other leather men of color that I can’t dismiss them. None of these were riot-worthy or chair-throwing incidents. And without knowing the hearts and minds of the other people involved, I wouldn't even call them “racial” incidents. But they were definitely moments when I was reminded that, as a black gay Leatherman, I’m a member of a sub-culture within a sub-culture within a sub-culture."
"I don't talk about this much because I always feel like I am preaching, admonishing, whining or shaming. None of them are my intention. I want to talk about reality. Just because there are more (not a lot compared to the years of contests and entertainment history) POC on tv or leather titleholders does not mean there is not racism in our community. Racism has never gone away. Some is blatant. Some is covert. All is insidious. I have known Schon for thirty-three years, been a couple for 25...there is not a day, A DAY, that goes by that don't fear for her. As an African American and Blackfeet butch living in Southern Minnesota (the entire community of colour is about 5% of population and the John Birch society flourished) she was not safe. For the ten years we lived deep in the country, I would worry every night until she got home. She is constantly time challenged and some days by the time she got home I was pretty much hysterical. She looks like a black man. They kill black men. Everywhere. "
Rummaging through the storehouse of old leather half-truisms (“Slaves are submissive,” “Masters have had years of training and study”), we inevitably come across this one: “To be a good Top, you must start at the bottom.” No one tells architects they must start out by bashing their thumbs with a hammer. Still, I worked my […]
"Most of the time when people speak and write of Old Guard values and protocols, a heated debate ensues, with one or more of our kinfolk ending up feeling insulted and no one finding consensus about the topic. Basically, we agree to disagree and we go back to our own lives creating more memories, adding to our journeys. Leather Culture is an endless amount of experiences that are developed from many rituals, traditions, scenes, and learned skill sets, many of which have been passed down from person to person. I think the one thing that many will agree on when it comes to Leather and our defining of Le Olde Guarde, is that we want to identify those aspects that individuals can hold on to and proudly say that, “Yes! These things are what made me who I am as a Leatherperson!” We want to give and pass down our most coveted items and memories to those deserving Leatherfolk so that our cultural carbon footprints are not forgotten, so that some tiny part of us lives on. But what is it really that we are passing down and preserving? And thus, I want to talk about lineage."
Peter Fiske has been a player longer than many of us have been alive and along the way he’s amassed a truly spectacular, and one-of-a-kind, collection of whips. And trust me, Peter’s whips don’t just gather dust!
Check out this great video by Lord Lugh of Peter showing off some of his Tawses. […]