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“Please don’t think this is racist but…”That was the disclaimer that an Asian man sent to Rokashi Edwards, 25, a black programmer living in Toronto, before telling him that he would never consider having sex with a black man.Shocked, Edwards tried to push back on the man’s claim that he wasn’t being racist but he ran up against the same obstacle that many gay men of color face in the world of online dating.“It’s just a preference,” he was told. If you’re a gay man, phrases like “no blacks” and “no Asians” aren’t just words that you’d find on old signs in a civil rights museum, they are an unavoidable and current feature of your online dating experience.Men who had experienced racial exclusion in the past were, predictably, more likely to report being bothered by it than men who hadn’t but, still, a staggering 70 percent disagreed with the argument that sexual racism is “a form of racism.” A majority of them perceived racial exclusion as “a problem” but were reluctant to attribute it to racism.“While society is generally pretty comfortable condemning racism, there has been a surprising reluctance among people—gay or otherwise—to challenge racialized sex and dating practices,” Callander told The Daily Beast.The correlation between the men’s online dating attitudes and their QDI scores was even more disappointing, if not unexpected.All the eateries serve Asian cuisine from various countries: Singaporean, Thai, Malaysian, Cantonese, Japanese and Vietnamese.We found a table and then went to order something different from each eatery.Callander told The Daily Beast that his team’s survey will require further refinement going forward but he called it “a good start.”Even before the researchers compared the men’s attitudes on race and online dating to their QDI scores, they unearthed some telling data points.Sixty-four percent of the men said it is acceptable to state a racial preference on an online dating profile and 46 percent said these preferences do not bother them.
Respondents were asked whether or not they agreed with statements like “People who indicate a racial preference in their profile are not trying to offend anyone,” and “As long as people are polite about it, I see no problem in indicating a racial preference on my profile.” Remaining “neutral” was also an option.
In fact, men who used online dating services more frequently were generally more likely to register as racist on the QDI, which might explain why a full 96 percent of the men in the study reported having seen a racially discriminatory profile over the course of their online dating experiences.
For gay men like Eric, 30, who lives in Atlanta, navigating the thorny issues surrounding race in the gay community is a disheartening “day-to-day experience.” (Eric asked that his real name not be used for this article.)Eric, who is mixed-race, told The Daily Beast that some men who list “no Asians” on their dating profiles have messaged him anyway, explaining that he is “white enough” for them or that he is attractive to them because he can “pass” as white.
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