A Real Examination of Racism and Gay Dating Apps
A popular heterosexual social media personality that I follow, solicited Black homo/bisexual male volunteers to discuss gay dating apps. He wanted to know of experiences when interacting with white or Black men, first dates, any loves lost, racism, etc. I’ve been in a committed relationship for years, so obviously it’s been awhile since I dated. Being that I enjoy most of the commentary and observations on racism from this blogger, I decided this would be my area of focus with our conversation after I replied to his open invitation.
Over the last couple of years there have been an exhausting abundance of articles, essays and videos across media addressing preferences and racism via gay dating apps. In my opinion, most have the same tone and message, which is ethnic preferences equal racism or bigotry. Many of these writings are told or delivered from the perspective of the rejected or offended gay man. Others are from the viewpoint of observer, preaching to the preference driven bigots or racists on how they need to be more open, change their thinking and update profile messages that have offensive language. I also want to point out that I think many times the usage of the term racist(ism) is misused and bigot(ry) should be instead. Racist basically means one thinks a certain race is superior or inferior, while bigotry is treating another group or race with hatred or intolerance. Being a bigot doesn’t automatically mean one is racists. Institutionalized racism exists along with bigoted and negative perceptions or stereotypes towards people of color. I think it safe to say that gay men who use bigoted or racist language in their online profiles most likely harbor these same sentiments in their offline day-to-day lives.
Even though I have written before about the No Fats No Fems controversy and discussed the subject in podcasts, I’ve been delayed with discussing the dating app racism topic until now. I realized once I completed my Q&A with the blogger, I basically had written my thoughts and main talking points that could be reformatted into my own essay. The blogger shared with me something that I kind of already knew once I had given him my responses; my views greatly contrast with those from the other Black gay men who he had interviewed on this subject.
*FYI, I’m will be using the term “gay” even though I’m referencing homosexual and bisexual men.
The topic of racism via dating apps is only a real issue for two groups of gay men. One group is non-white gay men (men of color) who are exclusively looking to date only white gay men. The other group is white gay men who go out of their way to preach to other white gay men that rejecting non-white gay men for dating, sex, or relationship is racist. This is not an area of huge concern for gay men of color who exclusively or primarily are only seeking other gay men of color.
A member of Cypher Avenue conducted his own personal survey while using OKcupid. He created two identical profiles, with matching academic qualifications (Master degree), “nerdy” interests in addition to hobbies and activities. He then selected two pictures of very attractive shirtless chiseled men as the profile pictures. The only difference was that one was White, while the other was Black. He then chose the same 25 Black men; one message was sent to each from the White male profile and the other from the Black male profile. None of the Black men he messaged responded to the profile that featured the Black male as the profile picture but all of them responded to the message with the White male as the profile picture. After conversing with these Black men while using the White male profile, he stated that “most of them had a warped idea of the intellect of Black gay men and one even stated that he sets his filters so that he only sees white men.”
When I have read articles and seen videos featuring Black gay men giving their testimony on how they feel rejected by racist White or Asian gay men on dating apps; there is never mention of why they (these Black gay men) only seek non-Black gay men. While crying racism, somehow they don’t examine themselves and ask why they’re rejecting other Black gay men.
I’m all for calling out bigoted or racist language that exist in dating app profiles, such as stating, “No Darkies, No Rice (meaning Asians), No South of the Boarder crosser (Latinos/Mexicans), etc.” However; I’m not for policing this type language. If one is on a dating website or app, they’re searching for something from the men that are available. The men who write these types of remarks within their profiles are revealing an honest open door into their true selves. This is a gift in the form of a large warning sign helping the reader to avoid them if they don’t agree with these attitudes.
I’m almost 40 years old and have been online since 1997 in AOL chat-rooms via dial up. When I became more active online, reading comments to certain articles or news stories, there were plenty of racists or bigoted comments from other users. When I begin gaming online, I found out the gaming community is filled with young and old trolls spewing racist comments. Racism and bigotry takes place all over the world and all over the internet. Why would it not exist on dating apps and online dating sites?
Let’s pretend that a white gay man didn’t use any racist or bigoted language in his profile but simply stated his preference is only for white men; for some this is still considered problematic. A Black gay’s preference for seeking white, Asian or Latino is ok and not racist but a white gay seeking another white gay is racist…how so? White and Black gay men who produce these anti-racism dating app articles condemning white gay men (who have white only preferences), while wearing their badges of liberalism, progressiveness and equality are eerily silent when it comes to Black men who have a preference for and only date other Black men. Why are they not calling the “Black man seeking Black man” profile racist?
The double standard message being presented is that the only preference to have is an all-inclusive one, unless it’s “Black man seeking Black man”, then that’s ok. If there is any group that should be against telling another group who they should or shouldn’t sexually interact with, its gay men.
Let’s put this in a larger perspective. This is not housing discrimination. It’s not police brutality or discrimination within the work place. It’s not homophobic persecution or #BlackLivesMatter. It’s seeking sex or relationships using gay dating apps.
Not wanting to date or have sex with someone doesn’t inevitably mean the person rejecting the offer, feels they’re better than the person pursuing. If these white gay men need to broaden their dating preferences, maybe these “seeking white only” Black, Asian and Latino gay men need to do as well. If a white man doesn’t want to fuck you or doesn’t want you fucking him, it’s not automatic racism or bigotry. You’re not a victim, you’re simply not desired.
Many of these Black gay men who seek only white men will also say that they feel sexually objectified or that some white men see them as only something to experiment with sexually. Or the Asian gay men who only seek white men will profess that they feel they’re regulated to the submissive bottom geisha stereotype. I’m sure anybody who is open to interracial coupling, wouldn’t want to be used as some “sexual experimental jump off.” I should point out that many people of a particular ethnicity do have sexual curiosities of those belonging to other ethnicities. Sexual curiosity is a human feature that is not limited to race. The peculiar thing is, are they (gays of color seeking white men) being used for sex or are they allowing themselves to be used for sex because of their thirst for white men? I think a white man at some point during the “getting to know you phase” will say, “I’ve never been with a -fill in the blank ethnicity- man before.” This could be a possible indication that he is viewing the male of color, as a “sexual experimental jump off.”
In this sometimes overly sensitive politically correct society, there are elements within it pushing the narrative that it’s not acceptable for certain individuals to pursue who they want because their preferences are offensive and others will feel rejected or shamed. Yet these same progressive minds will still profess that “you should be able to love and marry who you want to.” This is the same mindset far right conservative use when they say they want the over-reaching Federal Government out of their private lives but are against a woman’s right to choose and want a federal ban on abortions.
The vast majority of the human beings on our planet are intra-racially coupled. Why would it or should it be any different for LGBT individuals? Even with some people who are interracially coupled, many times if you look at their dating history, they still may have been with more individuals within their race vs. outside of their race.
As a Black man I have encountered racism and bigotry countless times in my life. Racism has “rejective” components within it being that people in power can discriminate against, thus reject. I feel and understand the pain it causes. Within the context of dating, I will not feel diminished because some white man on a dating app doesn’t want me; which isn’t any different than a Black man turning down my advances.
I’ve dealt with rejection throughout my entire dating life as I’m sure most people have; the caveat is that I don’t think people know how to rejoice in their rejections. Rejections are blessings. This is something that I learned and grew into overtime. Dating can be frustrating AND rewarding. Looking back, after all the dating rejections, I was still able to find sex and companionship with people who didn’t reject me. This should be the focus, not the afterthought. I know my stance is on the outside of this popular topic but I’m not gonna cry any tears over these dating racism “victims.”
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