Bias


In the rarified world of gay hookups, apparently being a racist asshole it's called 'a preference'. Many moons ago, when I was on Grindr, I had the chance to check out how the unbearable lightness of being white affected anybody who was not well, white. When I decided to go on Grindr, I had other things in mind (I'll make a post one day on that experience) but I thought nothing of disclosing age and race. I was like, duh, the guy WILL eventually meet me, so there. 

Full disclosure: Grindr was not my main source of fun those days. I was busy changing cities and changing jobs and meeting people in real life, so the app was more an icing on the cake than the actual cake. I did not rely on Grindr to get some dick and took it as a fun way to use my phone to explore a new city. Still. Some of the men were super cool. And some were absolutely not.

I seldom got the 'you look nice but...' concerning my race, but I did get the 'It's just a preference' excuse for not hooking up with someone who was not 25 and not white. And I did get ghosted once or twice. Those men who go on a date with you and seem to enjoy themselves and then just disappear. Overall, it was fun. With the occasional awkward first and only date and the hookup that morphed into something bigger, it was a fun ride. Grindr was a mixed bag but I imagine it happens in every hookup app and in real life, too. We don't go through life with people throwing themselves at our feet confessing their undying admiration. We have ups and downs and everything in between when we date without the help of a handheld computer. 

But I'm not Asian. And when your race is explicitly mentioned in the no-no section of a hookup app, your psyche must suffer. Along with the 'no blacks', 'no femmes', 'no fats', apparently 'no Asians' completes the racist, bigoted holy quartet with which many gay men sit to pray for dick. I cannot fathom putting something in a hookup profile that would directly address somebody's most inherent quality and then deny their right to be considered attractive. That's downright rude. Unacceptable.

I understand that in matters of sexual attraction the idea we have of the object of our affection is paramount. We tend to almost fetishize the qualities and perks we find attractive in others and make that the focus of our search for the Holy Grail: perfect sex. And therein lays our trap: then we get trapped in a one-way-out street. We want something (sex) but we only want it one way (our way) and that does not always reflects what we live and the people we interact with.

Basically, there's explicit bias agains gay men of color, especially Asian and Black males. Both driven by racism and stereotyping. I imagine that in the same way the Mandingo shades all Black gay men, the Geisha taints all Asian gay men. And I call bullshit. How can we overgeneralize and just blanket cover a whole race with such stupid assumption? How can we be so closed up to reality that we could state it's a 'preference' without looking for clues to our blatant racism?

Cabernet over Chianti is a preference. Stones over Beatles is a preference. Fucking only white dudes over any Asian guy and openly stating it in a hookup app as a 'preference' is racism. Pure and simple. There's implicit bias when we state a 'preference' when what we mean is that we would not fuck someone because of the way they look because of their race, without a second look or actually interacting with said person. We buy into any and all stereotypes we have heard about somebody belonging to a race -being a geek, being 'small', dating only other asians, being meek- roll them all up and then decide that everybody belonging to that race checks those boxes. I find that inadmissible. 

I have only dated two Asian men. And they were both very cool. I know, it's a low number considering how many men I have actually dated, being the conscientious slut I've always been,  but I was on Grindr for a short time and the Chicago suburbs are not a hot hub of diversity. But I have done it. And they were just as hot and awkward and fun as any other guy I've dated. They had funny stories to tell and coming out ordeals to share and interesting things to say. And they could kiss and fuck like any other man. So why the bias?

I guess it has to do a lot with the dominant paradigm that White is Best. That Western parameters of beauty and Caucasian ideals are the norm. And anything outside the norm is well, not welcome. Gay men are constantly bombarded by images in media of White gay men pushed as the ideal of masculinity, sex appeal and the epitome of physical perfection. Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter et al. are also full of White men showing the world what it means to be attractive. And many gay men buy right into that.

Is it comfort? The idea that same is safe? Is it laziness? The idea that it would be too much work to try and understand someone who has a different worldview? Is it narcissism? The idea of fucking yourself while fucking other? Or is it just unconscious racism, something that along with internalized homophobia plagues the gay community?

I don't know. And I don't have the answer. What I know is that by stating a 'preference' we can hurt and marginalize people that are as hot, as sexy, as smart and as deserving of joy as we are. So let's be a little bit more mindful and let's stop and think about that 'preference'. It may prove illuminating.

xoxo


Comments

  1. I totally agree. Pigeonholing yourself into a preference closes off a world of opportunities. But like you said, in the suburbs you have a very homogenized population. Especially the further out you get from the city limits. So, do they seek comfort in the sameness as they explore their desires and come out? Is it immaturity? Fear? Look at the political climate these days, full of fear of the "other."

    Some ingrained behaviors are hard to overcome. But like an addiction, if you try, and try, and try again, you can overcome it.

    When I was on Grindr, I never expressed a "preference." Was it desperation because of my circumstances...I'll take all comers? I don't know. But I met some great guys, and some that I hooked up with multiple times. Interracial sex is so fucking hot! The contrasts in the bodies is such a turn on. So, yeah, break out of your little shells. Sample what's out there. You may surprise yourself and find the guy that will cause you to get rid of the the app.

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