Dating app “preferences” encourage racism and discrimination

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. In other words, sexual racism and general racism come from the same place. At the end of the day, we live in a world rife with racial inequality, so it is not at all surprising that racism should permeate our desires as well.

Sexual racism

Sexual racism is a specific form of racial prejudice enacted in the context of sex or romance. Although some characterize discrimination among partners on the basis of race as a form of racism, others present it as a matter of preference. In May , gay and bisexual men in Australia participated in an online survey that assessed how acceptably they viewed online sexual racism. Although the men sampled displayed diverse attitudes, many were remarkably tolerant of sexual racism.

The debate around ‘sexual racism’ is particularly heated within the gay community. Some call it preference, others call it prejudice.

Lately, my single, female friends have been telling me about the extraordinary messages they receive on sites like Tinder, OkCupid and Hinge. Pls no foreigners. Jessie Tu has been told by her friends on dating sites that “no blacks, no Asians” is acceptable. Or this: “Only keen on Aussie chicks”. Or this: “No Blacks or Asians”. When my friend, whose parents are Korean, initiates a conversation with the Hemsworth doppelganger, he messages, “Sorry, not into Asians.

SHE: So am I. HE: Nah. Why is it okay, then, to announce a ban against engaging with a race of people on your dating profile?

‘Why is it OK to ban certain races on your dating profile?’

Dating and hook-up apps have become a fundamental aspect of the gay community. Grindr, launched in , is a mobile app designed to help gay and bisexual men meet other men in their area. As of early , it reaches countries and has 3. Those so-called preferences are often linked to underlying social attitudes about race or sexuality. Thomas Passwater, a composition and cultural rhetoric Ph.

The app has been criticized for not taking sufficient action to prevent the display of offensive, racist and homophobic language by some of its users, but those at the helm have resisted stifling that sort of speech.

Lately, my single, female friends have been telling me about the extraordinary messages they receive on sites like Tinder, OkCupid and Hinge.

Take, for example, a recent video by LGBTQ commentators Arielle Scarcella and Blaire White , which argued that lesbians are not transphobic if they are only attracted to cisgender women. Trans feminists and YouTube personalities, such as Riley J. Dennis and Contrapoints, have been arguing for some time that a lack of sexual attraction to trans folks is, to some degree, shaped by societal prejudices and stereotypes.

As a PhD student in sociology and a trans feminist, I am concerned about how the debate has misrepresented trans critics and led to attacks on trans feminists and activists. This video struck a nerve in far-right circles, which led to a harassment campaign against Riley carried out by an angry cyber-mob of thousands of users systematically downvoting her videos and sending her hurtful content, comments, and venomous response videos.

For instance, her video mentioned above has two thousand likes and fifty thousand dislikes followed by an endless stream of abusive comments, many of them misgendering Riley. Such an argument would understandably irritate a lot of people. Critics argued that Riley was attempting to coerce straight men and lesbian women into having sexual attractions to trans women.

This debate has riled trans exclusionary radical feminists TERFs , which has heightened the already intense transphobic harassment practiced over online spaces like YouTube and Twitter. Many of these TERFs already go out of their way to harass, intimidate, and dehumanize trans women, especially those women in publicly-facing positions. As any woman and feminist killjoy could likely tell you, gendered online abuse and harassment is not only highly prevalent and commonplace, but very damaging and traumatizing.

It is especially dangerous for trans women who speak out against transphobia and abuse.

Racial and Ethnic Preference

Federal government websites often end in. Sex discrimination involves treating someone an applicant or employee unfavorably because of that person’s sex. Discrimination against an individual because of gender identity, including transgender status, or because of sexual orientation is discrimination because of sex in violation of Title VII.

Policy Brief #9, by Thomas J. Kane and William T. Dickens (November ).

From music taste to appearance, everyone has preferences when looking for a partner. However, where is the line between a preference and being exclusionary or discriminatory? As a gay man that uses dating apps, I have been exposed to these dating preferences and often deviate from these standards for many reasons. For one, I am a person of color and race can play a huge role when it comes to finding a partner and being in an relationship.

However, when a person only seeks white or lighter-skinned partners, those preferences cross over into new territory of racism and colorism. NPR reported that Black women and Asian men are more likely to be discriminated against on dating apps. This shows how important race can be on these apps and how people can be stereotyped and seen as undesirable when compared to whiteness.

Another huge issue is body shaming.

BBC Trending

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.

Being attracted to certain traits in people is fine, but discounting an entire group of people? Not cool.

As college students, many of us use dating apps. They provide convenience in meeting people you find attractive. Having a type of person you are generally interested in is OK, however, broadcasting that you are not interested in an entire racial group is not. As with most social platforms on the internet, dating apps provide a screen to hide behind. Unfortunately, as a black male who occasionally uses dating apps, I get to feel these effects first hand.

I am made to feel like no matter what I do, the most unchangeable part of myself will always be seen as ugly. Racial preferences validate insecurities in a situation where the victim has no control. People cannot change the color of their skin, and they should not have a desire to. Preferences are a form of modern discrimination and enforce outdated perspectives on racial groups. There is no need to classify an entire racial group as unattractive. Instead of putting negativity out there for everyone to see, keep it to yourself.

There is no reason to put out a message making everyone of a certain ethnicity feel bad about themselves.

NewStatesman

In our All The Arguments You Need series, we take on mindsets standing in the way of progress and rebut them with facts and logic. In the brief, record-scratch moment that followed, my brain readied itself for an argument to come. Uh, no. Desire turns into fetish when the only thing that is attractive about a person is a single identifier, and one they often have no control over.

There’s something about the phrase “I only date black boys” or “I’m not really attracted to Asian girls” that instinctively makes everyone.

In the aftermath of the California Civil Rights Initiative vote, many more states are likely to reconsider the use of racial and ethnic preference in college admissions. This Brief summarizes the best available evidence on two issues vital to that burgeoning debate: the true extent of racial preference in college admissions and its impact on the careers of the intended beneficiaries.

While the evidence of racial preference in admissions is strong at elite universities those with average SAT scores in the top 20 percent , racial preference is less evident outside the elite sector. Despite the hopes of supporters of the CCRI and the fears of its opponents, the end of racial preference will have little impact on the college-going prospects of most high school students.

But, contrary to the assurances of many of its opponents, racial preference does not do more harm than good for minority youth. Rather, selective institutions seem to enhance the earnings prospects and raise the college completion rates for both minority and nonminority youth who are admitted. Although this need not mean that the benefits of affirmative action exceed the costs, ending affirmative action is not likely to be a painless step for minority youth.

Your dating “preferences” are discriminatory


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