Sexual exploitation of male slaves
There is ample evidence of sexual relations, from rapes to what appear to be relatively symbiotic romantic partnerships, between white slave masters and black women in the Antebellum South. Much rarer were sexual relations between white women and black slave men, yet they too occurred. Using an intersectional socio-historical analysis, this paper explores the factors that contributed or may have contributed to the incidence of sexual encounters between elite white women and slave men, the power dynamics embedded in them, and their implications in terms of sexual consent. The paper demonstrates how upper-class white women who engaged in these relationships used sex as an instrument of power, simultaneously perpetuating both white supremacy and patriarchy. The lash and the foul talk of her master and his sons are her teachers.
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Texas Officials Complicit in Gang Rape and Sexual Slavery of Gay Black Man, ACLU Charges
Slave women were forced to comply with sexual advances by their masters on a very regular basis. Consequences of resistance often came in the form of physical beatings; thus, an enormous number of slaves became concubines for these men. Most often the masters were already bound in matrimony, which caused tension and hatred between the slave and the mistress of the house. Many "mulatto" or racially mixed children also resulted from these relations.
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I was sold into sexual slavery
Fourteen scholars presented papers that explored consensual sexual intimacy and expression within slave communities, as well as sexual relationships across lines of race, status, and power. Their papers focused on the use of sexuality as a tool of control, exploitation and repression, but also as an expression of autonomy, resistance and defiance. Taken together, they argued that trials of Blacks accused of rape were actually more flexible than historians usually assume. At least in the legal sphere — that is, beyond the more direct control experienced in plantation spaces — alleged sexual deviance by enslaved men was not automatically punished severely. Not all Black men accused of raping white women were sentenced to death, and enslaved Blacks sometimes even enjoyed more protection from the legal system than free Blacks.
Her characterization of her heritage stands out because those states, like others across the South, had stringent laws and penalties against interracial marriage. In fact, throughout the colonial and antebellum eras, interracial marriage would have been the exception — even though interracial sex was the rule. After much debate, the consensus amongst scholars of American slavery is that sex within the master-slave relationship brings into question issues of power, agency and choice that problematize notions of love and romance even in cases where there appears to be mutual consent. Stevenson highlighted the complexity of interracial sexual liaisons in American slave society with regard to consent.
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