Recently I was asked to participate in a survey, from an Australian University, about attitudes regarding ethnicity in gay dating.
The vast majority of the questions were centred around –
- Have you ever been exposed to racism in dating/hook-up sites?
- Have you ever engaged in racist behaviour in dating/hook-up sites?
Not much more than that, really. I’m no psychologist of course, but the questions seemed borderline histrionic at times, and weighted towards the politically correct idea that we should find all racial types equally attractive.
The survey bugged me for the simple reason that it implied that people who aren’t attracted to particular racial types – or state that in their profiles – are engaging in racist behaviour.
As with all life though, there are always shades of grey. In particular here, the shades of grey centre around the differences between attraction and racism. This is a complicated topic; attraction is not a simple binary activity. Stepping away from race for instance, the overall gay community has many different subcultures in terms of attraction, and not all of these overlap. For a simple scenario, consider bears and twinks. While it’s not uncommon to find bears who are attracted to twinks, and vice versa, it’s just as common to find twinks who find bears sexually repugnant, and vice versa.
So, if you don’t find people of ethnic background X attractive, are you being racist to say so, or just being honest? The answer is likely in the telling. If it’s polite, and simple, and saves everyone a hassle, is that racist, or good manners?
I don’t have the answers. But I don’t think it’s as cut and dried as the survey tried to make it out to be.