Look at these three sexy men. If given this Grade-A selection, most gay men would lean towards getting hot and heavy with one of them over the others. That’s perfectly legit, since most gay men don’t give much thought into why they desire what they desire and go about happily hooking up. Yet, bring up one little itty bitty teensy weensy topic, and those flames of passion quickly ignite into anger.
Canadian gay magazine Fab recently published an interesting and important article called “Just a Preference,” which offers insights into why so many gay men on hook-up sites like Grindr and Adam4Adam feel compelled to write “no Asians, no blacks” when stating what men they prefer. The startling website DouchebagsOfGrinder.com is an unflinching look at this phenomenon.
Oh, God, you might be thinking, Is this going to be about race? I just wanna jack off, Cedric, dude! We’ll provide plenty of naked men to tide you over. In fact, this is more about the response people have when faced with this topic. Naturally we all have preferences, and no one should be made to feel like racists because of them. But instead of calmly stating this, most men respond with unwarranted, insanely defensive, vitriolic bitchiness.
First, some excerpts from the Fab article:
The negative language so prevalent on Craigslist and Grindr seems to signal that the culture of sexual liberation has been replaced by sexual segregation.
This is true. If a black or Asian gay man logs on to get off, as Manhunt invites, and they are repeatedly faced with “no blacks, no Asians,” seeing over and over the same terminology used to ban minorities during the days of segregation before the 1960s, parallels can easily be drawn in how gay men view race and desire.
[Matilda] Sycamore says that while people have the right to say what they’re attracted to, they have a responsibility to watch how they say it. “On the one hand, people are stating their preference, but on the other, these are not neutral terms. If we were living in a culture where everything was the same, it wouldn’t be a problem. But when sexual preference reinforces dominant systems of power in an unquestioning way, that’s when it becomes problematic.”
Also true. Despite our current president, we live in a nation where the majority in positions of power remain white. So, verbally and explicitly excluding groups of people, even just for sex, strikes as similar a chord of discrimination as excluding certain groups from country clubs. Sure, playing golf with a member of a different race is different than being able to get one’s dick up for them, but the similar “no minorities, thank you” terminology triggers “racism” in the minds of many. Gay men looking for a fuck get angrily defensive at the suggestion that something they’re saying is perceived as racist, and go into very transparent rants. An article on The Sword called “No Fats, No Femmes, No Asians…” is a prime example:
Fab magazine…calls you a racist for not being sexually attracted to Asians. But since when did having an aesthetic preference make you a racist?
That’s a total misunderstanding of the article, which is more about being careful to not use classically segregationist terminology like “No Blacks” than it is about wagging the racism finger. One person is quoted as believing racial sexual preferences equals racism, but that’s hardly the whole article. Also—”Aesthetic preference?” Please. Sexual desire is about who you want to carnally shove your dick into, which is vastly different than whether your aesthetic preference is for Monet over Manet.
According to Fab, many “no blacks, no Asians” statements are qualified by “Sorry, that’s just not what I’m into” or “No hard feelings, it’s just my preference.”
The Sword’s whiny response:
[W]hat’s wrong with having a preference? Don’t tell me I can’t have a preference! I don’t want to have sex with women. No hard feelings. Does that make me a misogynist? The same people who, presumably, believe that sexual preference is genetically pre-determined don’t also believe that that which is visually stimulating isn’t also hard-wired into our brains? What makes someone an authority on how to delineate when and where something stops being a “preference” and starts being racist? The hell?
Clearly this extremely non-empathetic writer can’t wrap his brain around how offensively condescending phrases like “No hard feelings, it’s just my preference” are. Such statements are usually written by delusional white guys who believe that every black and Asian online is clamoring to get into their pants, thinking they’re softening the blow and letting an entire group down easy with a pat on the head and a patronizing “sorry.”
Writing “no this, no that” preferences is clearly a deterrent to prevent an inbox full of non-considerable sex partners. Frankly, those who simply must announce “no this, no that” can be more tactful and simply not respond to hot men who aren’t of interest.
And no, not wanting sex with women doesn’t make him a misogynist, because he’s a homosexual. Naturally he’s not attracted to women. That can hardly be compared to a gay man who refuses sex with a well-built dude and his penis because of the shape of his eyes or hue of his skin. There is no anglosexual or afrosexual terminology anywhere in the scientific tomes on human sexuality. What men consider “visually stimulating” isn’t “hard-wired into our brains,” as the writer at The Sword believes. What we find desirable is a result of years of societal and media conditioning, regardless of our sexuality, rather than something in our genes, as sexuality is.
The Sword goes on:
Oh, bullshit. These people, with their essays. You want to fight racism? Start by getting off Grindr and going out into the real world, where actual racism actually exists. Because there’s a difference between “I’m not sexually attracted to black guys” and “I’m not going to hire this black guy because he’s black.”
Because, you know, racist terminology only comes into play in black-and-white instances of workplace discrimination or public figures using a racial slur. The writer fails to grasp the nuances of thinly veiled, subconscious discrimination when men seek to fuck men. He’s never experienced it himself, not being a minority constantly reminded how undesirable he is to potential fuck partners, so he can hardly relate. He’s relieved he can’t. As he himself points out, “I’m white! (*phew*).”
…instead of using negative terminology that describes what they don’t want, people should explain what they do want and deal with others as individuals. If you aren’t attracted to Asian men because stereotypes suggest they are smooth and you prefer hairy men, you could write, “I like hairy men” on your profile, not “no Asians.”
The Sword’s response:
No! Now you’re just encouraging people to lie…. Furthermore, why should we infringe upon people’s right to free speech? If someone is truly racist, I’d like to know right off the bat…. Isn’t it better to know–from the beginning–that someone is a racist, or at least an idiot?
Ooookay, wait. Earlier, the writer was bitching that someone saying “no Asians,” does not mean they’re a racist. Yet, here he clearly equates such terminology with being racist. In trying to defend sexual preferences as not racist, he circles back around to realize that words such as “no blacks” have an intrinsically racist tone, yet he wants to make it okay because, after all, it’s just a “aesthetic” preference. “No hard feelings. Here’s my cake, let me eat it too.”
Not to single out The Sword, but this writer’s response is endemic of many men, as can been seen from the vastly angry comments to both his story and on the piece in Fab Magazine. They’re not outwardly racist, but they’re clearly intolerant.
Bottom line, men with preferences need to stop being so damn defensive about it, throwing tantrums of “goddammit, we are not racist because we like whites only. Waaaaaa!” As the Fab article mentions, guys can clearly state what they prefer instead of posting which men they don’t want to fuck with the blatant terminology of the Jim Crow era. Sure we can have black or Asian friends, and not want to fuck a black or Asian guy (or a white guy for that matter). It’s okay. That’s cool. No one really thinks you’re out flying the Confederate Flag while wearing a white sheet. You are not racist. We know. But let’s be tactful about it. Because no matter what the situation is, sexual or otherwise, posting “no blacks, no Asians,” even though a preference, is exclusionary, backwards, insensitive, ignorant and tacky.
Or one could just say “Yes Asians, yes blacks, yes whites, yes all.” Doesn’t that sound like a lovely world?