I appreciate how far this nation has come since the Civil Rights Movement and the days of Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. However, there still seems to be a long way to go. I had the idea to do this article in the fall, and find it fitting during Black History Month to feel motivated to write it.
I always say, “People are people, regardless of what they say they believe and where they are.” When I first immersed myself in the kink community, I thought everyone would be welcoming, we’d all get along. I felt that way because we all do things that society, family, and religion says we shouldn’t. I thought that’d be our common ground. It didn’t take long for me to laugh at reading and hearing others say things like, “I’m looking to meet like-minded people,” etc. There’s bias, judgment, discrimination, sexism, misogyny, misandry, and the like within the community just like outside the community.
I’ve noticed in the last couple of years the immergence, or maybe I finally fully acknowledged the presence, of POC events. Parties and meetings where POC attendance was the majority or only POCs were permitted to attend. There’s recently been an additional POC meeting scheduled and I’m torn about it. Honestly, I’m conflicted by all POC events.
I understand some people think they wouldn’t be welcomed in certain places, I recognize some have had bad experiences at one event or another, I agree that all of us deserve to feel safe wherever we go. At the same time, I wonder if having POC events or meetings is the answer for all of us to get along, to effectively share space, and enjoy play together.
There’s only one organization I can think of off the top of my head that intentionally works to make everyone feel welcome regardless of orientation, gender, and ethnicity. They made it a point to have pictures on their website include persons of all colors. At one of their conferences, they had a special event to recognize an ethnic holiday/observance. The Board Members recognized the need to be inclusive and brain-stormed to make their conference welcoming to all peoples.
I wonder if people don’t recognize POCs may not feel welcomed at their events and meetings, or if they’re simply oblivious to the fact that as they look around the room everyone looks like they do. I don’t know which it is. Or, maybe they notice the discrepancy and don’t care to make any changes.
Personally, I’ve noticed discrepancies and feel it’s my duty to simply show up if it’s an event or meeting I want to attend. I don’t let the lack of POC presence deter me. I know it’s important to represent as not only a POC, but also as a woman, and as a Female Master within the kink, BDSM, and Leather communities.
I’ve been invited to attend the most recent POC meeting. I haven’t gone yet and am torn, as I mentioned above about POC events and meetings in general, especially those where only POCs are permitted to attend. I’m not convinced that having a POC meeting will help POCs feel welcome in non-POC specified places. I feel it encourages segregation. I feel there’s this ‘separate but equal’ thing being created. I read the meeting’s description and wondered if it was going to be a gripe session. POCs are mostly aware of the problems and discrepancies, but what are the solutions? That’s what I’d like to listen to. I know I won’t know unless I actually go and listen in for myself. The meeting is held once a month and I’ll go when I’m able to fit one into my schedule.
For now, however, I remain conflicted. I’ve attended events and meetings where ethnic presentation discrepancies were discussed. It was nice seeing the light bulb go on in someone’s eyes. It was encouraging to hear non-POCs verbally process possible solutions. I appreciated it being an ethnically mixed group. A POC-only invite meeting: How will it help POCs who’re concerned with feeling unwelcomed at non-specified POC events? How will it help shed light for event organizers who may be unaware of the discrepancies or who are aware and aren’t sure how to fix it? Those are my questions and my feelings. I admit to not knowing what the answer is. Although, I don’t see a separate group as the answer. Once I do attend this POC-invite only meeting, I’ll likely do another article with my thoughts.
In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this article. Regardless of your ethnicity, or whether or not you’re involved in the kink community, do you or have you recognized a discrepancy in what ethnicities attend events, parties, meetings, and conferences you attend. What do you think may be the answer to being, or presenting as, inclusive to all peoples?
I look forward to reading your thoughts.
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