Wednesday, June 6, 2018

When Racists Lie...

Someone lied on me, you guys. 
It wasn’t that big of a deal.  Surprise, surprise, it was on Twitter.  But someone lied on me.  And I don't really mind someone attacking me, but rather he used his lies as justification for why his followers shouldn't read my book.  That was stunning and infuriating.  Because he doesn't like me (or what I said to him), he's going to trash my book without reading it.  I don't mind constructive criticism - or if someone thought my book was boring or whatever, then fair enough.  But don't make sh!t up.  So what happened? 

The Lies... 

So according to this man (who is white), he said that out of the blue, I verbally abused him for “not swiping right” on Tinder, and because of that, his followers shouldn't read my book.  Well, let’s analyze that.  First of all, you can’t attack anyone on Tinder unless they match you back, so that's highly suspicious.  So his assertion is that I swiped right, and when after waiting a certain amount of time, I somehow remembered his face (which is ridiculous, because let’s be honest, you swipe and move on.  I can’t remember the last hot guy I swiped right on on Tinder), so I then somehow tracked him down, and then proceeded to abuse him – and this innocent "victim" just sat there and took my verbal abuse.  How did I find him?  Tinder doesn't give their last name?  And he certainly didn't give me his phone number?  And because of my alleged verbal attacks, his followers, of which there are several thousand (I'm not going to lie - he is conventionally attractive), shouldn't read my book or follow me on social media.  

Okay guys…  Does that sound logical to you?  Hmmm…   Of course, he didn't say that way, it was more akin to "He attacked me for not swiping right on Tinder.  He belittled me, etc etc. So don't read his book."  But I had to break it down, to show how this assertion is absurd and not logical.  

So What Really Happened?

Here’s what really happened.  I messaged this guy on Grindr at least two years ago.  (If he’s lying about the app, what else is he lying about?) I’m not sure which month, but it was long before I even started this Grindr blog or work on the book.  This guy proceeded to chit chat with me for a bit, and then he said, “I might sleep with a black guy but I wouldn’t date one.”  And then I went off on him for saying a racist thing.  (For those of you who don't know, I am a gay man of color)  At least from my recollection, there was no Tinder involved at all.  

Now, we could have a discussion about racism in sexual preferences – in fact, I want to write a whole chapter on it in my next book.  And we could have an honest and genuine debate, where reasonable people can disagree.  But in Grindr Commandment #1 – Don’t be a Douche – I tell people to keep your shady comments like that to yourself.  And certainly don’t chat to people for a bit and then hit them with such a hurtful statement.  And for damn sure, don’t try to make it public on Twitter.  Jesus Christ.  Who does that?  How narcissistic do you have to be do that? 

He also tried to say that I attacked him for "being an artist."  That I looked down on him, because I went to an Ivy-League School.  That’s just stupid.  What’s to attack?  “Oh, you make pretty pictures and love culture – shame on you.”  Come on.  I didn't attack him for being an artist.  But I did sure attack him for saying such a hurtful and arguably racist statement.  Funny… He didn’t mention that in his tweet at all.  Huh… I wonder why?  Why not say publicly on Twitter what he said to me in private?  If what he said was perfectly acceptable, why leave it out of his Twitter rant against my book?  If it's perfectly acceptable to tell a person of color you'd never date them because of their race, then why not add that to your Twitter rant?  Is it because you feel guilty?  Is it because if people knew the truth, they might think your rant against Grindr Survivr would be at best shaky?  

Now maybe I should have just blocked him and left it at that.  But sometimes, people are just so mean and rude on Grindr that I feel compelled to at least let them know how those words are hurtful.  And those were mean words.  Maybe giving people a piece of my mind is not ideal, but if I didn’t feel passionately about people behaving horribly online, then I wouldn’t have written the book in the first place. 

So which scenario is more likely?  

1) That I saved his photo, waited a number of days for  a match, then magically tracked this guy down and berated him for being an artist… 


(2) A white gay guy said something racist and obnoxious and I then told him where to go (which I freely admit).   

What sounds more realistic to you?

Let’s also take a moment to analyze the psychology of a guy who 1) says “I might fuck a black guy but I wouldn’t date one” to a black guy and 2) then goes onto Twitter and try to make himself the victim.  That’s what’s really perverse and sick about this.  That's what's sick and disgusting about the era of Trump (although this white gay guy was British).  They continue to say and do racist things, but they somehow convince themselves into genuinely believing that they are the victims.  That's what's so disgusting about racism.  It's the fact that people don't pay any societal price for genuine ignorance.  

Moreover, he was implying that because I told him off that my book is somehow worthless or not worth reading.  That’s bizarre logic.  Just because I get angry at one obnoxious gay guy doesn't mean I don't have any insights into Grindr or the gay community.  I mean, even if everything he said was true, which it is NOT, it doesn't take anything away from my book.  But the psychology of some gay men just truly astonishes me, and I'm not easily shocked: the lack of logic, the inability to have empathy for someone of a different race, the inability to reflect on your own behavior, and then the gumption to pretend like it's not all your fault.  That's EXACTLY why I wrote the book, to call out this type of stupid thinking.  Needless to say this guy hasn’t read my book. 

I clearly found this guy attractive.  He didn’t like me because of my race.  No skin off his back (pun intended).  That obviously didn't feel good to me.  So why try and rub salt into someone else’s wound?  Why try to attack the man who’s calling out bad behavior online?  So he’s then going to attack my theories on Grindr and the gay community.  Why Tho?  Seriously, why?  

Maybe this hot guy felt threatened.  Maybe he’s even more petty and vapid than I ever imagined.  Maybe he’s been so good at surrounding himself with people who never correct him or tell him that he’s wrong that anyone who does is an immediate threat.  Maybe he thought I was too uppity and I needed to be put in my place.  But it was bizarre. 

My Grandma once told my mother that when my grandfather would step out to cavort with another woman, he’d come back and say mean things to her, because he felt guilty.  By verbally attacking my grandmother, he justified himself in his cheating.  "It’s okay that I cheated on you, because dinner tonight was terrible."  (It wasn't that simplistic, but you get the idea)  This dynamic is part of human nature.  People like to feel justified.  No one wants to feel like they’re a bad person, even though they do bad things.  So maybe this guy needed to cut me down, so he wouldn't feel so guilty about what he said to me.  If so, that's still pathetic.  

Was White Fragility At Play?

And this phenomenon often occurs when you try to discuss racial issues with white people, particularly those that don't have friends of color and wouldn't date a person of color.  There is a term for people who reacted like this racist artist did; it’s called white fragility.  It basically means that white people have a very limited understanding of the pernicious nature of racism, and when they are confronted with the reality that they might be contributing to it, they find it easier to attack the black person for holding up the mirror, rather than accept the vastness of racism and how they might be contributing to it.  

Here’s a great video on white fragility. 

So I went to an exclusive, predominantly white private school when I was a teenager.  And not yet knowing I was gay, I tried to date some of the girls who obviously happened to be white.  After not having had much success (in large part, I’d be happy to admit that I was a big homo), I took my problems to my sister, who is extraordinarily wise in these matters.   She said something that might help me explain this one guy.  My sister said, “[White] girls will feel guilty, because they’ll look at you, and they’ll know that they should like you.  You’re smart; you’re handsome, you’re sensitive and kind.  But their innate prejudice stops them from finding you attractive, and that just creates a messy situation on both sides.”  I don't know if this applies to that guy or not.  But it’s a theory that fits the FACTS!  (Unlike what he said) 

Look, on one level, if you want to hold yourself out as any type of expert on anything, people are going to attack you.  People will distort the truth to make themselves feel better or feel important.  I have no idea what was going through this guy’s mind when he decided to attack me on Twitter, but I’m sorry, it was petty.  His bizarre attack on my work was more hurtful than him not finding me worthy for having a different skin color.  But I don’t know why, but it shocked me.  Perhaps, in an age of Brexit and Donald Trump I shouldn’t be surprised.  Haters are gonna’ hate.  All I can do is keep writing and spreading the truth. 

But what's truly galling is the ability for some uninformed white gay men to turn a situation where they are hurting people of color and yet they somehow delude themselves into thinking they are the victims.  That's what is so infuriating!

Now time to go sip some tea… 

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