Sexual racism: When does your preference become racist

Sexual Preference or RacismLast month my friend Sheraz Salahuddin posted an interesting article on his Facebook page from the Accidental Bear blog, Sexual Racism: When does your preference become racist?  The full article written by Scott Roberts (@scottjsroberts), former news presenter on Gaydar Radio and editor of Pink News can be read on the UK blog, GMFA, here.

Roberts opens with “No Blacks and no Asians please”.  A line if uttered anywhere – let’s say at a department store, on public transit or in a school – would (rightly so) result in a public uproar.  However, in the world of gay online dating, phrases like this are almost commonplace and dismissed because it is perceived as sexual preference rather than a form of racism. 

Roberts writes, “By writing “no Blacks, no Asians” on a profile, a person is basically announcing that they believe these two racial groups of people should be avoided sexually. It is their personal opinion, but when displayed in a public setting it constitutes prejudice, regardless of the context.” And I wholeheartedly agree.

I understand that physical attraction is a complicated thing and there may be many people who simply aren’t attracted to specific characteristics or physical attributes, but there are exceptions to every rule.  Perhaps those who write such blanket statements are unaware of how such narrow-minded statements reflect upon them? I have similar issue with men who tell me they aren’t into femmes and nellies but that is a post for another time.

I recognize that the world of online ‘dating’ is often all about finding Mr. Right Now rather than Mr. Right – but what does it say about a community that struggles to end both legal and social discrimination if we can’t treat each other as equals – let alone common decency?



27 responses to “Sexual racism: When does your preference become racist

  1. The article is by a black magazine and is obviously slanted towards blacks.

    I disagree with several conclusions in that article:
    1) I don’t think Asians receive the most racism anywhere, especially in comparison to Muslims and Blacks.
    2) The racial categories are useless in terms of identifying racism problems in the gay community.

    I don’t agree that the UK is racist to Asians. I would say they were the most liked ethnic group in the UK.


  2. Pingback: A New Feminist Study Concludes: You’re Racist if You Don’t Have Interacial Sex | murderbymedia2

  3. This article has a major flaw, and that is the insinuation that any kind of racism is inherently evil. Yes, discriminating based on race when it comes to who you date/have sex with is racist, duh. By definition racism means to discriminate based on race… but so what? So what if it’s racist? It’s perfectly fine and LEGAL to be racist in your personal life and your relationships; you can’t be incriminated or tried for it and those who intimidate or threaten you because of it are out of line. If you are white and you only want white friends and white sexual partners – you have the freedom to that choice. Don’t ever feel scared or the need to explain yourself to brainwashed new age intolerant liberals.

    I do agree though, that explicitly stating things like “no African Americans or Asians please” is impolite and for the sake of basic human decency should be replaced with more diplomatic statements like “I’m white and looking for a same-race relationship”.

    Let me just state that, for the record, I’m not totally closed to dating non white men, as I might meet one in the future that I truly like. However, since I can’t have children this isn’t such a big issue. With heterosexual people you have the issue of mixed race children being born and the fear of human diversity (Nordic-looking white people specifically) disappearing in the future, which scares many whites away from interracial relationships – and this is a legitimate concern.


  4. Aussie boy in USA

    Ummm … so let’s take this to another level .. I am not allowed to be ‘not attracted to’ a man with certain physical traits that they can’t help ie their racial physical features. It’s my sexual attraction, also something I can’t help. So are we going to have some new movement for ‘discrimination against men with small dicks’ ? Cos I’m not attracted to them either. ‘Self help group for gay men with challenged follicles’? I’m not attracted to bald men either. ‘Let’s stop bagging the gay fatties movement’ … sorry if I work out, so should you … if you want to attract me, that is. And ultimately, ‘Let’s stop gay men discriminating against having sex with women’ They can’t help who they are either, but I certainly wouldn’t shag one.

    It IS NOT racist to be not attracted to someone from another race. You cannot help sexual inclinations towards certain physical attributes, just as you can’t help wanting men over women.

    The problem with online dating sites, is when you state your preference and people ignore it and contact you anyway… that’s where you have to set done in clear terms what physical traits you will not be interested in doing!!!

    There are also many cultures within the gay scene who won’t even do people of their own race ie Asians. Most only want white guys, should we be telling them … ‘sorry you can’t ignore other Asians – that’s sexual discrimination’ ??

    Find another fag-band-wagon…. this is just plain stupid. You cannot help who you are sexually attracted to… unless you are a rent boy with a tonne of viagra.


  5. Sexual racism is a falacy, it is called preference. I met many people who don’t feel attracted to some physical attributes from a race, so they will not consider to get sexually involved with the guys but they travel to those countries, appreciate their music, food, traditions and they have close friends from that race. I think the concept was generated by frustrated men who feel somehow rejected because their race. I know gay activist believe is such a term, I never met any intellectual person who has those funny believes. Racism is one concept and does not allow categories such sexual racism, religious racism, age racism, body racism, safe sex racism, hiv neg racism …


  6. As a black gay man, that some people practice sexual racism, stings, but if it was just that, I would be ok with it, but it’s not just that. In the gay world sexual attraction (in which race plays a stronger component than in the straight world) and social acceptability are tightly entangled. I’d bet most people who practice sexual racism, practice it socially as well.


  7. As a black gay man, that some people practice sexual racism, stings, but if it was just that, I would be ok with it, but it’s not just that. In the gay world sexual attraction (in which race plays a stronger component than in the straight world) and social acceptability are tightly entangled. I’d bet most people who practice sexual racism, practice it socially as well.


  8. As a gay black man, it’s a tale that is all too common. At the end of the day, it boils down to respect. You can be attracted to whom you prefer, however, we need to respect each other. Sadly, we fall short of that in many ways within the gay community, which is painfully ironic juxtaposed to the LGBT struggle for equality, recognition, and visibility.


  9. Hello,
    I wrote a long article about this a year ago based on my own experiences and some anecdotes as a gay black man. Would there be anyway to email you. I’d like your thoughts


  10. It’s funny I was talking about this with a friend the other day. I’m open to dating outside of my race, however, I’m always excluded a lot of the time from people within my race. So I typically date Caucasian men. This is an age old debate that just never ends. What about those who only date certain age groups, then there’s the issue of ageists and the debate that causes. Preferences are preferences. As long as nobody is being physically harmed, they should be allowed to at least be up front and honest, right?


  11. Is it not also rascist or perhaps reverse rascist for a white person to say he wants blacks or Latin or asians?


    • Is it really the same? I don’t find it racist to say you are attracted to someone of a particular race. Do you think it is the same to say, “I find Asian men attractive” as it is to say “No Asians.”? It strikes me as quite different.


  12. Thanks for sharing this.


  13. The original post makes things seem more black and white (pun intended) than they are. I’m not sure the line between preference and racism is that thin. And the medium of hook-up sites, I like to think people know this is preference (same w age, weight, kinks, etc).

    I don’t get what is supposed to be the end result to that article. It sounds like wanting that we should all get along – which is great, but is it realistic? We preach acceptance – at least from straight and religiously intolerant people – but as a group, we are so hateful to each other it is frightening. Check out any comments on JMG and see how we turn on each other for voicing any opinion that isn’t about hating the other guy. Don’t try to be the voice of reason on sties like that, you’ll get hate mail.

    I get not using wide brush strokes to excluding any racial group, but is one supposed to hook-up w people (and let’s face it, they’re not dating sites, they’re hook-up sites) they don’t have a preference for to prove their not racist, or just secretly hide their preference (not racism) by ignoring specific replies to a profile? Or do you tell them individually that you’re not into them? Where’s the line?

    A Jewish friend of mine dates other Jewish men exclusively, which will almost always eliminate not only Blacks and Asians, but most white men too. Is he racist? He is not, but if he only dates within his religion he excludes many.Where does that put him in this racial spectrum? Or is he just a religious bigot?

    I disagree w the statement that one is “announcing that they believe these two racial groups of people should be avoided sexually.” As if they are the only two groups who people exclude. And I’ve yet to see one profile telling others to not accept a certain race. If we are calling this out, how many black men put in their profile “brothers only”? Plenty. It cuts both ways, so the above article is taking only a partial stance on what they see as racism.

    Yes, saying you have a preference can be painted in broad strokes that doesn’t (or shouldn’t) include everyone in certain groups. But I still don’t know the end answer.


    • I agree that there is a fine line when it comes to sexual attraction. I suppose what I was focused on in his article is people writing things like “no Asians” or “no Blacks”… I get it that this is more likely all about a hook-up but where is this kind of attitude (let alone language) acceptable. I think dating along religious lines is quite different. I get that some people grow up wanting to have a family they can raise in their religious traditions. I don’t feel that way but I see it differently than drawing lines along race. Do you or is it just me?


  14. I think “No blacks, no Asians” is the epitome of racism. It goes beyond refusing to date someone other than a particular race, to telling the world you aren’t even willing to turn them down *directly*, as an individual. It’s a blanket message: “I can’t even be bothered to say ‘No’ to every black/Asian person who contacts me without considering them at all; so I’ll short-circuit that by telling them not to bother.”


  15. Thanks so much for writing this.
    This has been a perception of mine for several years now . I’ve never understood how most times we as gay men tend to be our worst enemy. We treat ourselves at times with such hatred & dislike for one another. No better than the racist, hate spewing, homophobes out there. As a gay man of color, I’ve never understood why there are those in our community who limit their lives & experiences. We should be the ones who are more accepting. We pride ourselves on being extremely cultural. Yet we exclude those who might add to life’s ever changing cultural experiences.
    I thank you once again bosguy for taking the time to say something , I feel worthwhile reading.


  16. It also depends on what you mean by dating. If you exclude people as friends and LTR material then that’s racist. If you do it when looking for Mr Now then I don’t think so but I also think it tells me you spend a lot of time on that/those sites and are trying to reduce the number of men you have to turn down/block/ignore.


  17. It also depends on what you mean by dating. If you exclude people as friends and LTR material then that’s racist. If you do it when looking for Mr Now then I don’t think so but I also think it tells me you spend a lot of time on that/those sites and are trying to reduce the number of men you have to turn down/block.


  18. I have a strong preference for Black or Latino guys for some reason. Does that make me, a white guy a racist?


    • Hi Truthspew,
      I think everyone has preferences. One wouldn’t presume someone who goes weak in the knees for blond haired and blue eyed guys is a racist. However, when a person publicly proclaims on a dating site that particular races need not contact them or categorically saying you are repelled by an entire race, that is quite a different story. Wouldn’t you agree there is a significant difference between a strong liking for specific physical attributes and categorically ruling out an entire population because of skin color or some other racial characteristic.


      • Well – were I in the dating pool again I’d never put specific racial language. You just never know what you might be missing.

        But like I said my main attraction is Black and Latino. And here’s the thing – the only guys I’ve really gotten any interest from are the above. When I was younger I had dirty blond hair and hazel eyes that tend more toward green.


  19. Good comments. I have often wondered why some men who are objectively as hot as can be do not attract me. I suspect that some unconscious racism is at work in me despite my efforts to eradicate it. Since I have never used a dating site, I confess I don’t know for sure what I would have put there. I will say that my partner of ten years does not fit my own preconceptions of what I was looking for appearance- or age-wise in a man when we met. What won my heart was not his skin but what was beneath it.


  20. I’ve been called a “Rice Queen”many times , yes I do prefer Asian men . I also like Native guys . I don’t majinalize other men those are the ones I notice first


  21. A blanket dismissal of an entire group of people based just on their race is racism. No matter the setting. Like anybody, I have preferences, but I also have come across many guys outside those parameters that do it for me. I’ve always had a problem with the way so many gay men faction off, not just racially. You hit it on the head with decency.



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