S inakhone Keodara reached his breaking point last July. Loading up Grindr , the gay dating app that presents users with potential mates in close geographical proximity to them, the founder of a Los Angeles-based Asian television streaming service came across the profile of an elderly white man. He is now considering suing Grindr for racial discrimination. For black and ethnic minority singletons, dipping a toe into the water of dating apps can involve subjecting yourself to racist abuse and crass intolerance. Seeing that all the time is grating; it affects your self-esteem. Style blogger Stephanie Yeboah faces the same struggles. Racism is rife in society — and increasingly dating apps such as Tinder, Grindr and Bumble are key parts of our society. Where we once met people in dingy dancehalls and sticky-floored nightclubs, now millions of us look for partners on our phones. Four in 10 adults in the UK say they have used dating apps. Globally, Tinder and Grindr — the two highest-profile apps — have tens of millions of users.
Is racism an effect of racial dating preference?
First, understand that acknowledging the ways in which you perpetuate racism is not nearly as painful as being on the receiving end of that racism. As a black, Latino gay man raised in the conservative South, I too once internalized problematic beliefs. To unpack and understand what makes sexual preferences racist, you have to understand that anti-blackness is a core American value.
Men of every race can be short, hairy, or have green eyes.
As college students, many of us use dating apps. They provide convenience in meeting people you find attractive. However, something I have.
Unfortunately, this is one of the most common refrains on gay dating apps. From Grindr to Scruff, some users defend internalized ideas of racial desirability as a simple matter of choice, and innocently balk at the suggestion that it betrays a deeper, unexamined racism. In the past, those of us in the gay community might have patronized local bars and mutually acknowledged cruising zones when looking for sex, romance, or friendship.
Some may even have even turned to the classified sections of publications like the Advocate. But while these old school gay spaces were certainly not exempt to the strains of racism, dating and hookup apps like Grindr and Scruff have drastically changed how gay men seek out and find intimacy — and in turn, vocalize their preferences. While these apps have created an important new space for many users to celebrate and explore their sexuality, they also allow for unprecedented, sometimes malicious exclusion masquerading as personal preference.
But research says otherwise. Studies have shown that among gay men, those who are tolerant of sexual racism — defined as the sexual rejection of a racial minority — exhibit tolerance of general racism, which challenges the idea of racial attraction as solely a matter of personal preference.
Dear White Gay Men, Racism Is Not “Just a Preference”
A few weeks ago a girlfriend of mine, who happens to be a black woman, sent me a screenshot of an exchange she had with a man she came across on an online dating app. I’m accustomed to friends sharing their ‘WTF’ moments, and generally I love living vicariously through their dating experiences. My friend was in the early stages of a chat with a man she’d matched with and he straight away asked about her ethnicity — projecting his assumptions of her by focusing on her race. I made a documentary about the role race plays in online dating, Date My Race , a year ago.
So I empathised with the frustration my friend felt by having to explain her blackness to this complete stranger.
Sexual attraction doesn’t exist in a vacuum – it’s not some innate whim of biology that you have no control over.
I do feel you have a right to like what you like. I’m just here to argue that the phrase, “I can’t date outside my race. People just use those words to hide behind that fact. Let me give some examples:. Before you get all weird about it, these are here to build my argument! Focus on the fact that they are literal mannequins with features. Better yet imagine a normal mannequin. Humans are visual creatures, that’s a fact. You can’t deny these images or store mannequins are made to have ideal features.
Not dating blacks is racist
Upon doing so, I received a number of messages of people thanking me for sharing a voice less heard, even if it meant being destroyed in a political bubble. This is the inspiration for my new column, Outcry on Overheard. I look to also call out the hypocrisy of one-sided debates. However, after extensive research on the matter and discovering an endless sea of contradictory studies, my conclusion is this: it depends. Like most issues, staunchly taking one stance or the other does not result in a constructive discussion.
It is common nowadays for 21st century millennials to search for partners, whether it be romantic or sexual, through dating apps. Apps such as.
Imagine seven billion apples. What can you tell someone about those apples? But what do they taste like? But you can probably say that Granny Smith apples are sourer, that gala apples are sweeter, and that red delicious apples taste like dust and regret. The human brain is very bad at conceptualizing really large numbers. When we have to think about large numbers of objects and then describe these objects, we usually do so by grouping them. The same applies to how we think about other people.
There are, after all, over seven billion people on this planet, and the likelihood that you personally know more than a couple hundred of them is fairly small. So, in our eternal quest to understand everyone around us, we often assign general characteristics to groups of similar people. One of the most common ways of grouping people in this manner is by race. In the last issue of The Tartan , staffwriter Brandon Schmuck wrote about the racism — or lack thereof — in sexual and romantic racial preferences.
‘Least Desirable’? How Racial Discrimination Plays Out In Online Dating
We utilize an experimental Speed Dating service to examine racial preferences in mate selection. Our data allow for the direct observation of individual decisions of randomly paired individuals; we may therefore directly infer racial preferences, which was not possible in prior studies. We observe stronger same race preferences for blacks and Asians than for Hispanics and whites, with insignificant overall level of racial preferences for female Hispanics and males of all races.
Females exhibit stronger racial preferences than males.
So you have a preference for partners of a certain race to the exclusion of other races? Maybe you like Asian guys. Maybe Latinas are more.
This conversation, with one of my friends who is a white man, happened only a couple of weeks ago, but took me back to an adolescence peppered with similar microaggressions. The medium of porn, and the endemic racism that threads through parts of the industry is a very complicated conversation. Many elements of our romantic and sexual choices are influenced by society. A study by the University of St Andrews found that exposure to online media pushes our attraction closer to stereotypes of masculine and feminine extremes.
Whilst we could definitely spend some time unpacking the social and cultural connotations attached to those physical attributes, their histories are so distinct to the history of race, it feels undignified to waste word count even explaining it. But I will point out that the way race is conceptualised has long been hierarchical, and sexual and romantic segregation has been historically enforced as a tool of maintaining that hierarchy.
This same issue of hierarchy serves to demonstrate why a person of colour choosing not to date white people is a different issue entirely. Choosing not to date white people is often a result of experiences of racism and fetishisation. And many of us have lived it.
Is race preference in dating really racism?
Subscriber Account active since. This isn’t language taken from a segregation-era poster. Rather, they’re “dating preferences” listed on some queer men’s online dating profiles, found on apps like Grindr and Scruff. Queer digital dating spaces — especially those involving men — have a race problem. And while apps like Grindr have launched campaigns to combat racism on their platforms, there’s little existing research on how this form of racism impacts young men of color. There isn’t even a way to clearly measure the impacts of this kind of racism in general.
Whether you’re into bad boys, funny girls or your complete opposite, chances are you have some preferences when it comes to sex and relationships. Who you like is who you like, and that’s totally okay, but how do we know when our preferences cross the line into prejudices? You may have heard people describe their type in physical terms: “I love tall guys” or “I’m really into redheads. But when someone says, “I don’t date Asians,” or “I’m only into skinny chicks,” that’s not a preference: that’s straight up discriminatory.
What you’re really saying is “this person is not attractive because they do not fit white, Western beauty standards. If someone says they only date a certain race or body type, that’s fetishization. They’re objectifying people by reducing them to a sexual fantasy. While this sort of discrimination can apply to fat, disabled and trans and gender-nonconforming people, let’s use race as our main example. Wanting to only date a specific race a race that is not your own defines people solely by their race, and also plays into stereotypes that there’s a specific way people of certain races are “supposed” to look or act.
Implicit in this is the assumption that all people of a certain race look the same, which is obviously not true.
‘I used to only date white men. This is why I’ve changed my mind’
When it comes to dating, there are a lot of opportunities for people to sound like assholes. Totally right! Except for this one, teensy, tiny exception:. I meant monumental and indicative of an entrenched and deeply troubling societal prejudice that we have been unable to overcome throughout the course of human history.
Sexual racism, or racialized sexual discrimination, on queer dating apps like Grindr and Scruff is a significant problem.
Any time that we delve into discussions about race it’s a sensitive issue. Conversations often force people to take a deeper look at their own thoughts and feelings towards others. Even though the world around us still has its share of racial complications, it’s slowly becoming more open and inclusive for some humans. The dating landscape is also changing in a similar fashion. Still, there are many people that prefer to only date within their race.
That mindset sparks an interesting question.
The myth behind racial dating preferences
One Asian-Canadian woman examines the racial stereotypes she faces on dating apps—and confronts her own biases. Anna Haines February 18, You as well? The conversation moves on. A couple hours later he returns to the topic. I cave.
An open letter to gay white men on the prevalence of racism disguised as sexual preference.
Sexual racism is an individual’s sexual preference for specific races. It is an inclination towards or against potential sexual or romantic partners on the basis of perceived racial identity. Although discrimination among partners based on perceived racial identity is characterized by some as a form of racism , it is presented as a matter of preference by others. The origins of sexual racism can be explained by looking at its history, especially in the US, where the abolition of slavery and the Reconstruction Era had significant impacts on interracial mixing.
Public opinion of interracial marriage and relationships have increased in positivity in the last 50 years. After the abolition of slavery in , white Americans showed an increasing fear of racial mixture. There was a widely held belief that uncontrollable lust threatens the purity of the nation. This increased white anxiety about interracial sex, and has been described through Montesquieu ‘s climatic theory in his book the Spirit of the Laws , which explains how people from different climates have different temperaments, “The inhabitants of warm countries are, like old men, timorous; the people in cold countries are, like young men, brave.
As the men were not used to the extremely hot climate they misinterpreted the women’s lack of clothing for vulgarity. This created tension, implying that white men were having sex with black women because they were more lustful, and in turn black men would lust after white women in the same way. There are a few potential reasons as to why such strong ideas on interracial sex developed.
The Reconstruction Era following the Civil War started to disassemble traditional aspects of Southern society.
Racism in online dating is rife for women of colour
This practice has been met with many objections along the way. Of course, you have freedom in your dating choices, yet there are systemic causes and effects to your decision that are worth examining. We are attracted to the image of beauty that is currently being marketed to us and, unfortunately for people of color and Rubenesque women, historically most models in fashion magazines have been white and waifish. Regarding familiarity, we tend to be attracted to people who remind us of someone we know or have dated in the past.
Perhaps that explains why you keep attracting tatted-up bad boys with no job and sketchy childhoods. Plus, most families reinforce cultural continuation, which is why Grandma keeps encouraging you to date the grandkids of her mah-jongg friends.
An infamous study by OKCupid found that black women and Asian men were likely to be rated lower than other ethnic groups on the site. A.
So you have a preference for partners of a certain race to the exclusion of other races? Maybe you like Asian guys. Maybe Latinas are more your thing. Maybe you prefer partners who look like you. A recent study of gay and bisexual men in Australia found that racially discriminatory dating beliefs were inextricably connected to higher levels of racial bigotry in general.
There was an undeniable correlation linking those respondents who were discriminatory in their dating preferences to more obvious forms of racial bigotry. While the problem is usually understood as being concentrated in the gay community, it would be flippant to deny that sexual racism is an issue regardless of sexuality. The more odious corollary — excluding certain races outright — is a very questionable commitment to have.
If one recognizes or confesses to a racially discriminatory approach to prospective romantic or sexual partners, then one is obligated to consider the origins of this discrimination. In Canada at least, our society does a comparatively decent job of condemning most forms of overt racism. If someone openly states their aversion to doing business with Arabs on a purely racial basis, a severe majority of us would be disgusted and say as much.
There are preferences that are actually just that, preferences. You can prefer brunettes to blondes and not be racist.