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Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Thesis: Campus only access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Jeffrey Hass


This paper examines racial discourses in BDSM subcultures, focusing on online “race play” discussion forums. A controversial topic within BDSM communities themselves, race play has received little academic attention and is therefore ripe for analysis. A review of online race play spaces suggests that online critiques and contestations of race play function to solidify white privilege and entrench sexuality as private, as practitioners disavow the political referents of race play and bracket race in BDSM as separate from race in “real” life. Instead of being external to “normal” sexualities and racial discourses, the discourses surrounding BDSM race play is emblematic of larger color-blind racial thought and neoliberal cultural ideals. Thus, an examination of race play discourses illuminates the construction of contemporary racial ideologies.