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3 November 2010, 4:30 pm 25 Comments

Commentary: Everyone Loves a Racist Boy

Crossposting submission by Oscar Raymundo from Edge on the Net

Oscar Raymundo is a freelance writer based in San Francisco. He has written for WIRED, Newsweek, BusinessWeek, Fast Company, CosmoGIRL! and the official Facebook blog. He is currently at work on his first novel. You can see his blog here.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that we live in a racist world. Recently, however, much has been made about the tolerated “No Asians, please” attitude when it comes to gay online dating/cruising. But what I found troubling is that indignant white guys are at the forefront of this race-sensitive issue, standing up for the targeted minorities. Not a very convincing way to frame an argument, if you ask me.

Can prejudice be justified by personal preference, or is this just a matter of politically incorrect taste? 

To find out, I went straight to the source – horny, possibly racist guys of all ethnic backgrounds – to tease them into showing their true colors. I spent a week on Grindr, trying my hardest to come off completely racist. Whenever I received a message, I’d introduce myself with a “looking for friends or looking to fuck?” 

I had very important research to conduct here, folks, and I couldn’t afford to waste time. If the person on the other side answered with an interest in fuck-buddying, I would immediately respond that I wasn’t into the particular ethnic category they had listed. Here’s how the spectrum of guys took race-specific rejection right in the face.

The White Guy

“J” understood where I was coming from: he happens to go for Asian guys almost exclusively. He was caught off guard, though, when I became more particular about my racial preference and told him I was into “anything but white.” He found my stance interesting and unusual, since “most people keep ’white’ in their catalogue of possibilities.” 

Interesting, indeed. J still holds on to the erroneous concept that we operate around a white standard – which is perhaps why ethnic fetish flourishes. “I guess it is something I take for granted,” he said thinking no one would ever reject a white guy. Until now.

The Asian Guy

Being perhaps the most targeted in the gay online community in terms of both rejection and fetish, Asian guys must be sick of it all. 

If they are, they play more like they’re over it all. It didn’t bother “Sean” that I was not into Asian guys. “It’s just an opinion,” he justified. 

”Racism is an opinion,” I reminded him. He later asked why I felt the way I did, why “no Asians, please,” and at the point it was easier to just log off. How do you answer that without coming off like a total bigot?

The Middle Eastern Guy

Early on, I realized how terrible I was at racial profiling. I wrongly assumed “Alex” was white, then had to swallow my original prejudice and tell him I wasn’t into Middle Eastern guys, either. 

We kept talking for a while despite how picky and flimsy I sounded. Turns out, he was interested in me because of my ethnicity. “I usually have great chemistry with [Latino] guys,” he told me. But trust me, papi, that’s as problematic an assertion as writing someone off completely because of race.

[Read how The Black Guy, The Latino Guy, The Racist Guy and The Blind Guy reacted on the next page!]

The Black Guy

“L” had no problem with my self-made rule against hooking up with black guys. “I have preferences too,” he admitted. His were mostly physical; he doesn’t really go for short guys. 

He agreed when I pointed out, in my defense, that race is a physical attribute as well, but he would never rule anyone out entirely just because of a specific preference – racial or otherwise. Well, “as long as I find a guy attractive.”

The Latino Guy

My shortest conversation was with “Sebastian.” Even though he was “kinda hammered,” he had the logical capacity to cut his losses and stop wasting time with me. 

When I sent him my customary, “hope you’re not offended” consolation message, he responded that he didn’t care enough. I was thrilled! Maybe that’s the best strategy: turn around and leave the bigots trapped in their own narrow mindset. Sebastian sure made me proud to be Latino.

The Racist Guy

Most of the guys I spoke with during my pseudo-prejudice phase didn’t strike me as consciously acting in a viciously racist way; they just wanted to get laid. 

That is, until I grinded into “Chris.” Not only did he buy into the stereotype that Asian guys had small penises, but he also assumed that I, being Latino, must be a bottom – all in one message! 

Never had I felt so offended, and what is more infuriating is that Chris thought he was being cute and funny. Trust me, you were neither. Thank god for whoever gave us gays the ability to “block.”

The Blind Guy

After disclosing my “preferences,” most guys were surprisingly cool with them. Some white guys even wished me good luck on my search for a more exotic cookie. “Whatever rocks your boat,” was their passive mentality – just letting it happen, even though I kept hoping otherwise. 

Of course, I know it’s futile to argue with someone’s narrow-minded opinion, but I still was waiting for a guy to call me out on being an asshole. What I was doing was totally unacceptable! I cringed every time I sent out that “not into (insert ethnicity here)” message. 

Deep down, it just felt wrong rejecting someone based solely on race. It might have been my personal “taste,” but it was not tasteful. Where’s that snarky gay bitch-out when you need it the most? I guess I’ll have to try harder next time.

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  • BTop said:

    Ok – I didn’t read the whole article . . . but mostly I think its a lot of todo over nothing. You’re not saying “I don’t want to sleep with an Asian man because I hate Asian people” or something more disturbing that Archie Bunker (or Chris) might say [for those under 40 - look it up]. You’re stating your preferences for what you are attracted to. Race, in this case, is like nose size, hair color, height, etc. And, doing it in the context of Grindr isn’t exactly how you meet the man you’re going to marry so the physical has more significance.

  • michael said:

    I’m concerned about using the term racist to mean explicit racial preferences for attraction. And I’m not surprised by the non-confrontational replies you got. No one wants to ask someone why they don’t like them. Interesting experiment.

  • Mike said:

    seems like he was mostly just looking for trouble, and interpreting anything that happened in the context of his already-made-up mind. most of the responses seemed pretty low key and non-offensive to me. for example, “I like Latino guys” didn’t mean he only wanted to hook up with a Latino guy, he was just responding to the weird race questions that were offered by the blogger. I especially like how he’s implying that we should make generalizations about the types of guys online based on one representative of each racial group — where did I put that definition of stereotyping again?

    I’ve always felt that the way around this problem of “preferences” is to use more positive language than negative. It’s very offensive and hurtful to say something like “no blacks EVAR!!!!!1!!” but I don’t see much wrong with just being honest and saying that you’re “really attracted to short white scruffy guys” or whatever. It doesn’t shut anyone out, while still being truthful — and given the purpose of the site, cuts to the chase! After all, if both parties aren’t feeling the sparks, there ain’t gonna be no fire. If you’re looking for love and friendship, go to a three dimensional gay space and say hi to a guy who catches your eye. Yeah, that might take a little courage, but that’s part of what it means to be a man (masc/fem/cis/trans whatever — real men have the courage to speak up and say what they mean).

  • zack said:

    Here’s something: No one is attacted to every single white guy, ever, but they wouldnt put “no white boys.” Or if you’re not attracted to blondes, you wouldnt put “no blonds.” You just woundt sleep witht hem. There are millions of black guys, latin guys, etc in this world. Its crazy to across-the-board say you aren’t into any of them. I just dont believe that. Wouldnt it be easier and more respectful to just not sleep with these people than put up a note rejecting all of them outright? Thats where the racist/offensive connotations come in.

  • Jake said:

    Umm, I have heard people say, “No white boys” and “No blondes” before, although it is rare. Actually, to be honest, most of this is pretty rare. Maybe it’s just me, but I hardly ever hear or read guys saying “No” anything. They might state a positive preference, like, “I love Latino guys,” or even I personally have expressed on DList in a little icon “I love Native Boys.” (Maybe it’s just from growing up in the northern Midwest and having a lot of exposure, but there’s something about the features of Native American guys that I find really striking.) But rarely do I hear people blatantly write off an entire demographic (although there is likely some unspoken discrimination, I’m sure.)

    Me myself, being blessed with red locks, have been both fetishized multiple times and rejected a couple of times for my ginger status.

  • Chuck said:

    “No White guys” and “no blondes” are not the same as saying “no Asians” and “no Blacks”. In the former, the guy is still referred to as a person, and his race in this case is an adjective. And blond is a hair color, a preference of physical traits. Had the ads said “not into Asian MEN” or “no dark hair guys with almond eyes”, it would have completely different connotations, but we all know that’s not the implication here.

    Racism does not need to be pitchforks and lynching, and you can define it in terms of power differentials: One group of people believing their own group is superior and has the right to rule over others. In this case, “white” is the standard, and if you don’t fit into this mold…

    In any case, I find all these racial stuff quite silly anyways, as our preferences or what we find attractive is quite fluid over time. And for those of us who are lucky enough to have exposure and get to know others on a visceral level, regardless of how much melatonin are produced on their skin, what we find sexy and attractive may change completely.

    This is a really interesting experiment Oscar and I enjoyed reading it, as well as the proceeding discussions :D

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  • Another_Jeremy said:

    To Mike:


  • John said:

    So just because they don’t occupy themselves with fighting your battle against racism, you look down on them?
    Guess what. I don’t believe the modern governments of this world can be trusted, especially their attempts and globalization such as the UN; You probably don’t care about that, do you? But it concerns us all, and your passiveness might doom us all.
    Should I look down on you? Should I treat that like a flaw in your mindset? No.

    You simply, to put it gracefully, don’t give a fuck about the battle I’m fighting. Maybe these guys have their own struggles. Maybe not everyone cares about race or racism.

  • Another Jeremy said:

    @ John

    There IS a flaw in the mindset of someone who discriminates on the basis of race. Do you also troll articles about LGBT rights and remind the authors and commenters that not everyone cares about their disenfranchisement? I guess since there’s a problem with starvation in Africa that your local activist isn’t mentioning in the same breath as the struggle for LGBT equality, he has no right to address those who oppress them and view their mindsets as flawed. Heaven forbid intolerance be looked down upon.

    Obviously you are hostile toward this article because you see a little of yourself in it. Instead of admitting that and reflecting on your own behavior, you want to create a nonexistent hypocrisy in the people who support the ideas raised in this article.

    Many of the comments on this website concerning this issue are so idiotic as to be downright scary.

  • Ben said:

    As interesting an experiment as this is, I agree that’s it really much ado about nothing. Yes, prejudice can be justified by personal preference, and is all the time. If only tall guys get your rocks off, you’re being prejudiced against the shorties. If you’re a bottom, you’re being prejudiced against other bottoms. So why is it that some get worked up over racial preferences?

    When I’m confronted with an irrational overly-PC person who calls me out because I’m not sexually into Asians or black guys, I follow with this argument: You’re gay. Does that also make you a sexist because you’re not sexually attracted to females? (The whole “Oh, but I would never discount someone because of a physical attribute” argument falls on its face here. The last time I checked, le vadge is a physical attribute).

    If you don’t want to even be someone’s friend based on their race, that’s a completely different ballgame. However, the bottom line is that when it comes to a sexual relationship, both parties have to be into it.

  • Another Jeremy said:

    @ Ben

    Your “argument” is neither intelligent nor unique. It’s been brought up almost race blog on this website and has been shut down in every instance. It’s amazing to me that the some of the same men who will argue with conservatives to the death that we are born gay will conversely look African-Americans and Asians in the eye with a straight face and tell them that this exclusionary choice is the same as their biological sexual orientation. I guess we should have white on white made into a sexuality too.

    My favorite response to this topic was posted on a blog over a year ago and it succinctly addresses the lunacy of these hysterical “arguments.”

    “Nice strawman. Maybe someone born yesterday will buy it. No one asked anyone to have sex with anyone they aren’t attracted to. Forest/Trees
    The real and larger issue is the normalization of superficiality derived from the very pernicious effects of a culture of objectification. Are all feminine guys alike? Do all chubby or African American men look alike? Despite the voices of those toeing the gay party line on any issue of sexuality, there is nothing “natural” about being attracted to / repelled by isolated features rather than a whole person. We are moving into a society of fetishism. Is that ideal? A few evidently believe this topic to be a piece in political correctness. But in reality, it’s the gay ideology that as long as the criteria of “consenting adults” is satisfied, there is nothing that need to be challenged in regards to human sexuality. And I know that many are deathly afraid of having their ideology questioned.”

    As for me, I’m not attracted to races. I’m attracted to individuals. To many on planet gay, not being white is often the same thing as not being a man. If you unilaterally dismiss the possibility of being someone’s partner because of their race, it says more about your shallowness than it does their political correctness.

  • Ben said:

    As much as you would have liked it to, your rebuttal did not dismiss my point. The bottom line is that you’re attempting to demonize people for their sexual preferences. You may convince some of the more guilt-ridden and weaker-minded individuals of your argument, but not me.

    On a side note, you seem to imply more than once that I’m white. Interesting, because I’m not.

  • Another Jeremy said:

    Um, no sweetheart. The bottom line is that phrases such as I’m not attracted to blacks, whites, Asians, Hispanics, etc. are racist. To say as much presupposes that all men of a particular race look the same, and they do not. You have not met every member of every ethnic group in existence, and as such judgments about the attractiveness of the entirety of the individuals within these groups would need to left to individuals in order to avoid blatant racial stereotyping.

    Self-professed affirmations of your intelligence and lack of whiteness will not alter this obvious fact. The fact that this process occasionally involves your dick does not change what you are doing in practice.

  • Ben said:

    Lol whatever. Look, I’m not going back and forth with you all night. Thanks for lighting up my evening with plenty of laughs, however.

    And really, try not to worry so much about who likes to have sex with who. People are allowed to have preferences, regardless of your (very questionable)convictions.

  • Another Jeremy said:

    I’m sure it would make you feel better if I had argued that people were not “allowed” to have sex with whomever they so desire, but I did not. I”m sure it’s easier to act like everyone who has trouble with this type of racism that goes unchallenged by many are “guilt-ridden” or “PC,” but they aren’t.

    You can fuck whomever you choose, but you can’t generalize on the basis of race and then use juvenile arguments to excuse it just because you don’t want your views on interpersonal relationships to be challenged.

  • Rick said:

    I stumbled on this thread tonight and would like to give my perspective.
    I agree that it’s rude to be exclusionary so, although I’m not generally attracted to blacks or asians, I don’t include that in any of my profiles. I also tend to reject guys whose profiles include language such as “no fats/fems…”. Yet, it is true that attraction is subjective, may be fluid, may not. I’ve been in love with a guy for 4 years, who is attracted only to asians. I’m an Arab-American (and as such of “:western asian orgin, but that doesn’t apparently count). Why is he attracted solely to Asians? Because he was born and grew up in an asian neighborhood of San Francisco. Had he grown up in Detroit, I might have had a chance….

    I also interacted online with a guy for 7 years who misrepresented himself as white, because he was afraid I would reject him if I knew he was black. He gave me a fake name, fake physical description (always had an excuse why he couldn’t supply a photo), fake location. On the basis of his fake information, I did relate to him online. Then at one point, he decided to tell me the truth. I was devastated because the person I had been relating to was totally fictional! I felt that someone had died! At the same time I felt sorry for the young guy. Now he cries himself to sleep at times because I don’t have the same response to him as I did to the fictional person, which breaks my heart. I told the guy I’ve been in love with about this deception and about how bad I felt for the black guy. He said, why should you feel bad, he’s the one who should feel bad for lying to you, he victimized you. While maybe I was victimized, I still fetl/feel sorry for him.

    To return to “profile etiquette”, some people reject guys based on habits (smokers, drinkers, drug-users), on political affiliation, on religious or ethnic bases. When I was younger, I was attracted to/wanted a relationship with someone like me (an Arab, Greek, other mediterranean type). I wanted soimeone who could say terms of endearment to me in Arabic. But as I grew older my range expanded. As an ESL teacher, I’ve had many Asian students and have become attracted to a number of them. I am a supporter of Palestinian rights and reject the state of Israel because it was established at their expense and because of its apartheid treatment of Palestinians in Israel an in the rest of Palestine. So my natural inclination is not to seek out Jewish guys. Still I have had an Israeli girlfriend and a Jewish boyfriend. I am also a socialist so would not easily countenance a relationship with a republican or member of the Tea party.

    Still, so far, I’ve only been attracted to one black guy (who maybe was mixed). Why not? While attraction is somewhat amenable to change (you can learn to like “olives”), I’ve been forced to accept that it is NOT totally volitional. No matter how much I would like to be attracted to blacks, I’m not. Since I don’t state that in my profiles, I frequently get responses from black guys. While these are difficult for me to respond to, I feel that anyone who indicates an interest in me deserves at least an acknowledgement and appreciation. So I respond in a very non-committal way, avoiding any rejection language, but this is effortful and in a sense deceptive to the person. But I don’t know what else to do…. They say that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. Maybe the “eye” is not the same as the heart or mind… Thanks for reading my thoughts.

  • John said:

    Racism is the belief that one (or some) race(s) are inherently superior to another.
    For example, if I said I’m not attracted to black women because black people aren’t evolved or whatever.

    A personal preference (or un-preference, could you say?) for another race is completely different and you try to tar them all with the same brush because you’re an ignorant fascist.

    No person has any duty to respect or like anyone else. But what I would generally expect is that if someone doesn’t like someone else for something like race or physical traits, they should keep it to themselves and don’t lash out against them. If I didn’t like, or didn’t trust all black people, who are you to say I should even talk to them? It’s not like I’d tell them to shut up every time they opened their mouths, I’d simply refuse to communicate with them.

    If you want to criticize and hate people for that, why don’t you hate those misfits who stay inside all day, or those left-wing fascists who refuse to even let -certain people- speak without protesting against them in the name of freedom?

    You’re a fascist. You might think you can play the minority card on me in order to defend your beliefs, but you’re a fascist. You think you have the right to decide what people can and can’t think or feel.

    But you can’t remove those thoughts by lashing out at them or hating them. Just remember that.

  • Another Jeremy said:

    Do you know what the word fascist means? Because I’m pretty sure you’re just an idiot. If you want to believe that all African-Americans are (x) that is your prerogative. It is not your prerogative to try and argue that just because a person extends racist ideologies (internalized or not) into the dating pool that this is exempted from criticism. Just because it does not feel “volitional” does not mean it isn’t. It is an exclusionary choice, plain and simple. What I always find so interesting about these white men who claim that this merely a sexual preference, almost to the person their statements bely blatant racial supremacy and extreme hostility toward the perspectives of men who are not white.

    And if you believe white people are by definition more attractive than black people, then you DO think white people are superior. All black people do not look the same and neither do all white people.

    Gay men tend to seek validation though their relationships with men. It often manifests itself as a laundry list of physical traits that make up the ideal, and the ideal gay men in the US in this day and age is young and white. Gay relationships often have nothing to do with the other person. They exist only to feed the narcissism of the parties involved. If you have a specific list of physical wants in a partner, then what you are looking for is sex. Period. Some people grow out of this mentality and some people don’t. Incorrectly applying the word “preference” which defines what one likes instead of what one dislikes would be no different than someone straight saying they have an “un-preference????” for gay people. All gay people do not look and act the same, and neither do all Blacks, Asians, Hispanics, etc.

    The most narcissistic, superficial, entitled, dishonest and immoral people I have ever met have been white, homosexual men. But some of my closest friends have been gay white men too. But I guess that doesn’t matter. It’s my prerogative to generate an “un-preference” for gay white men, and anyone who objects is a fascist.

    You can fuck whoever you want. But that does not mean I am going to sit back and listen to you explain how it’s not your fault that black people are not attractive and that this is just the natural order of things. The problem is not liberals, blacks, or political correctness. The problem is YOU. I heave a sigh of relief when I hear someone try to pass off such as tripe as “natural” because that alleviates me of the time and stress involved in getting to know them. That tells me all I need to know about someone. If your “love” is drawn along racial lines, then you are no one I want to be with. That monogamous relationships in the gay community are such an anomaly belies the pernicious affects of superficiality that has rendered the categorical dismissal of entire races of human beings as not different than someone being attracted to tall men or even women.

    And thus it comes as no surprise that I know almost all of the gay men I know my age and older are in utterly dysfunctional relationships. Rampant insecurity. Cheating. HIV scares. To be fair, I’m sure I’d be terrified of my boyfriend cheating on me if what connected us was my lust for his blonde hair and his six pack. Fortunately, I find myself attracted to individuals and not isolated features. Unfortunately, it seems that most young gay men cannot tell the difference.

    It’s blogs like these that make me ashamed of the gay community.

  • John said:

    So first off you make the assumption that being more attractive makes you superior, then you say “I find myself attracted to individuals and not isolated features”.

    You need to learn to let people have their opinions. Anyone can have whatever opinion they want and it’s not within your oversized list of human “rights” to challenge that. You seem to think you can force people to like people they don’t like, no matter the reason.

    But in the end, if someone says he doesn’t like black men, he doesn’t. Fucking. Like. Black. Men.
    End of.

    Quit your whining and go type up something useful with they hands of yours, which seem to be in pretty good condition, considering the essay you just typed me on your opinion. Sitting here whining about other people’s personal opinions (which I’ll remind you are not within your authority) is doing nothing; Even for the fight against racism. Now go fight some KKK or Aryan Brotherhood members and stop your fascist ranting.

    As I said, anyone has a right to their own opinions. In your life you can choose who or what you want to allow into it, and it’s nobody’s right to change that. Only when your preferences spill over into other people’s lives does it really matter. The worst case scenario here is that some black guy is gonna be butthurt about this white guy’s decision and go kill himself. That’s his problem.

  • Another Jeremy said:

    Your first sentence did not highlight an inconsistency.

    Here it is moron.

    Only an idiot would liken one’s desire to have their attractiveness evaluated on its own merit instead of being pigeonholed because of their race to demanding that someone date or be attracted to someone in whom they have no romantic interest. That’s like saying that when a straight person doesn’t like gay people, someone who calls him a homophob is demanding that he/she be friends with everyone. That is not a logical thought process.

    Straw man anyone?

    This conversation is not about one’s “right” to have opinions. It’s about the nature of those opinions and whether or not they are formulated as the result of the internalization of racist ideologies. Besides, am I not entitled to my opinion that your opinion is racist? After all, this isn’t spilling over into your life. I guess you’re a fascist too, huh?

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