Is a Whites-Only Dating Policy Racist?
As part of my ongoing study of the dating and mating rituals of gay men around the world (okay, in Argentina and Australia — so far), I recently put up a new profile on Manhunt after about a year and a half off the online meat market. Though I haven’t met any of the guys who’ve messaged me and likely never will, hearing them out has cleared up what I admit may have been a rose-colored view of the typical Aussie male.
Yes, he’s still more ruggedly handsome, more charming, taller than his counterparts just about everywhere (those photos and screen images of Hugh Jackman, Eric Bana and all of the hunky Aussie up-and-comers currently crowding the Hollywood scene don’t lie), they aren’t necessarily as flawless as I’ve made them out to be in my mind.
In fact, they’re only human. They’ve got warts and all, and they, too, are cursed by one of the most shameful of all human character defects: racism. While I haven’t actually witnessed racism of any kind in my day-to-day offline Melbourne life, two weeks of Manhunt messages have taught me that whether it’s against black, red, white or blue people (yes, blue — Didn’t you see “Avatar”?), racism lurks in every corner of the world.
The other day, someone sent me the following message:
You are hot! Anymore pics?
Flattered, I checked out his profile to see what he had to say. At first, I was impressed. He was good-looking, and he seemed to have a decent grasp of the English language. Unfortunately, in offering all of the pertinent details about himself, he saved the worst for last.
Only interested in caucasian guys between 25 and 45.
I cringed but decided to take the bait, so I responded.
Thanks, buddy. But I’m not caucasian!
His response did nothing to reverse the negative impression he’d already made. In fact, I was even more turned off.
I can see that! lol!
For some reason I get alot of asians messaging me, that was for them!
His words got me thinking: Is what he’s saying really so bad? We all have our preferences, be it for a certain height, a certain hair color, a certain body type, and for some, even a certain religion. We accept all of that, so why should skin color be exempt?
Is a white person wanting to be with another white person any worse than a black person wanting to be with another black person, an Asian wanting to be with an Asian, a Latino wanting to be with a Latino. Does that make them all racist? Am I just being overly sensitive after watching the ladies on “The View” spend two days debating the implications of Donald Trump’s demand that U.S. President Barack Obama release his birth certificate for public inspection?
Here’s what the Oxford English Dictionary has to say.
RACIST: An advocate or supporter of racism; a person whose words or actions display racial prejudice or discrimination. Also in extended use: a person who is prejudiced against people of other nationalities.
PREJUDICE: Preconceived opinion not based on reason or actual experience; bias, partiality; (now) spec. unreasoned dislike, hostility, or antagonism towards, or discrimination against, a race, sex, or other class of people.
Going strictly by the Oxford definition, if you’re so unyielding in your racial preference that you’d take the time to include it in your Manhunt profile, then yes, you are racist. This guy is discriminating against an entire group of people (Asians) presumably based on the way they look or act, as if they all look or act one particular way. His blasé attitude and response, the way he almost seemed to be inviting me into his circle of bigotry (note the “you know what I mean?” exclamation mark), indicate that he doesn’t even realize how dangerous his attitude is, which makes it even more so.
No matter how hard you try to make the apples-and-oranges comparisons work, skin color is different from hair color or height or body type. Yes, discrimination because of how tall you are, how thin you are, or the hue of you hair hurts, but deadly wars have been fought, crusades have been launched, people have suffered and continue to suffer around the world because of skin color. It’s not something you can change with a trip to the hair dresser or a few months with a personal trainer. Like being gay, you’re born that way, and you stay that way.
Appealing to “Caucasians only” in your Manhunt profile is not just about whom you want to f**k. It sends out a message that it’s okay to disregard entire ethnic groups and casually advertise it online. Attention, so-called chocolate queens who are “interested in black guys only”: I’m talking to you, too! To those who say, “I can’t control to whom I’m attracted,” I say, oh yes, you can! I don’t believe that racial preference is as ingrained as sexual preference, and it’s even less black and white (no pun intended). Gravitating toward one race doesn’t have to mean completely dismissing another, especially so publicly and so off-handedly. An open mind leads to an open heart. And one need not wear a white sheet with a pointy top or go around burning crosses to be racist. We all harbour prejudices of some kind, and many people are casually racist while being perfectly pleasant otherwise.
The guy above could be one of them — at least his words were somewhat polite. Not so the profile of this other man who messaged me — let’s call him Bigot_in_Au — in which he wrote the following:
IF ANY OF THESE DESCRIBE U YOUR NOT FOR ME THANKS!!
*do not offer me money
*dont be way hairy/over weight
*dont be queeny
*dont just be out to get laid
*most important DONT be up yourself
Well, he gets his points across (in an annoyingly ungrammatical way), and I’m sure all of the Asian guys leave him alone, but I suspect so do all of the decent white ones (and this black one), because on Manhunt, or anywhere you happen to be looking for the perfect male, racism and a nasty attitude are even uglier than love handles.
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