Racial preference in gay dating
With both sets of survey results in hand, the researchers ran two regression analyses to test for any correlation between them.The results are bad news for anyone who still believes that a disclaimer like “no blacks” is “just a preference.”“Almost every identified factor associated with men’s racist attitudes was also related to their attitudes toward sexual racism,” the researchers reported.Eric confronts these men by asking them to explain in detail why they think he passes, a question that would require them to talk about his physical features in uncomfortable detail.“I usually end up with a version of ‘I don’t know, you look kind of white,’ or ‘You seem white,’” he said.Eric’s experience with online dating highlights another troubling possibility raised by the study’s authors, namely, that gay dating services may actually be encouraging men to sort potential partners by race—at least, more brazenly than they would in person. ”For Steve, 28, a white gay man living in Philadelphia, one solution is understanding that the word “racist” applies to more than just, as he put it, the activities of the Ku Klux Klan.“The road to hell is paved with good intentions and ‘I’m not trying to be racist’ does not mean ‘I am not racist,’” Steve told The Daily Beast.“For me, the findings of this study are a reminder that even though society and individuals may actively reject racism, racial prejudices are increasingly subtle and they can find their way into even the most private and personal corners of our lives.”The study also found that certain independent factors were associated with higher QDI scores and a more critical stance on sexual racism: a college education, past experience with racial exclusion, identifying as gay, and living in a more sexually diverse neighborhood.Other factors like being white and using online dating services more frequently were linked to lower QDI scores and a more favorable attitude toward sexual racism.
The paper says around 15% of Americans have used dating apps (what it calls ‘initimate platforms’).The authors suggest that dating services that allow users to sort others using racial categories like Grindr, Scruff, Growlr, and others may even “encourage the belief that [these categories] are useful, natural or appropriate for defining individuals and sexual (dis)interest.”“Thus, men who frequently visit such web services may find their beliefs confirmed and reinforced in an environment that appears conducive to sexual racism,” they speculate. “It just blows my mind that people could write off entire minorities without any exception and not see that as at all problematic.”For his part, Callander would like to see his team’s findings used in “implementation research” that could identify “strategies for reducing sexual racism and changing the way that people think about race and romance.” After all, if racism and sexual racism are indeed linked, then strategies to reduce the former should affect the latter as well.“I am not interested in condemning or criticizing people’s desires, but if we recognize prejudice within ourselves, we must be willing to challenge and confront it,” Callander told The Daily Beast.