Monday, August 2, 2021

Dance For Me, Negro! Dance! (Are You a 'Mediocre' White Man Demanding Black Guys Tap Dance to Keep Your Attention?)

My friend Josh Rivers, who runs the Busy Being Black podcast, joked in an Instagram story once, "If I'm going to experience racism, at least let it be from nice looking white people who don't avoid the dentist."  


He went on to point out that often what he describes as "mediocre whites" (to be fair in Britain, where their teeth may not be great), who - in his experience - often look down on amazing people of color and imagine themselves as superior to everyone else.  And he encouraged other Black queer men to look to ensure that they aren't chasing these "mediocre whites," whose smiles look like a bag of nails...

THIS WAS A JOKE!

Now this was all a joke.  But someone once said, comedy isn't about being technically accurate, it's about saying what's true.  And at first, I thought he was being a bit harsh.  But then the more I reflected and looked at this scenario, and I definitely thought this joke had a kernel of truth that was worth exploring.  I haven't had an in-depth discussion with Josh about this.  But Josh is an amazing human being, and both he and I have definitely had a similar experience of feeling confident in our abilities and what we bring to the table in terms of dating and having been left feeling devalued or less than by white men.  First of all, he's drop dead gorgeous.  Like mixed-race people are a nice looking people in general.  But Josh stands out even amongst our handsome tribe.  The perfect skin, the amazing bone structure, the rocking body...  Damn it Josh, I hate you for being so much prettier than me, lol... But the man is beautiful.  

Second, Josh is a true intellectual.  Let me keep it real as a Harvard lawyer.  I am NOT an intellectual.  I'm super smart.  But I'm not an intellectual at all.  I'm way to ADHD.  For me, learning new things, intellectual argument and reason is to solve a problem, so I can move on.  Josh genuinely loves the journey of learning and discovering.  Josh has confessed to me on a few occasions that he's mildly envious of the educational opportunities I have had.  And yes, I have gone to some of the best universities in the world.  And if I could magically give Josh a ticket to Harvard, I so would.  He would have made far more use out of it than I did.  

Third and perhaps more importantly, Josh has a calling to make a difference in the gay community.  I love and respect this so much.  I occasionally text him to just to thank him for making a difference.  Now, think about this.  He was a gay journalist.  He now runs an insanely popular podcast that gives a voice to marginalized queer people of color.  He writes poetry.  He helps organize UK Black Pride every year, where queer people of color can have a space to celebrate and feel affirmed.  Josh is just an amazing human being.  

To my white readers who might look down on dating him or other amazing black men (or to those who have treated him terribly in the past), what have you done for the gay community?  

Have you done any of this?  I don't know.  I'm sure some of you have and some of you haven't.  But what Josh gave voice to, albeit perhaps flippantly, is that it can be frustrating when you -- as a gay black man -- know you have a lot to offer, you're confident in yourself, your intellect, your contribution to the queer community and/or your contribution to society at large -- and white men who haven't accomplished a tenth of what you have look down on you, because of your skin color.  

Now, in theory, everyone can intellectual say "Well, that's wrong."  But what Josh flippantly quipped may hold some truth that I'd like to ask my white readers to consider.  

ARE YOU AN AVERAGE / MEDIOCRE WHITE GUY LOOKING DOWN ON AMAZING PEOPLE OF COLOR?


And yes, I accept that this is not a PC term at all.  All human beings are of equal worth.  And the term 'mediocre whites' was meant as a JOKE to provoke thought.  And that's what it did.  Perhaps, some might argue that I shouldn't use the term "mediocre whites" in this blog.  And let me be clear, I AM NOT SAYING ALL WHITES ARE RACIST AND/OR MEDIOCRE.  I'm not even saying the majority of white people are racist and/or mediocre.  I'm sharing a pithy comment that prompted some soul searching on my part.  And as a Black man who grew up in the American south, a lot of white people looked down on me and made me feel "less than."  And yet, Josh Rivers had a pithy joke to both help me see my value, look to make sure I'm not chasing a guy who really isn't a good match for me, and yes, he made me laugh with some politically incorrect humor.  If you have a more PC way of describing this phenomenon, let me know.  (And that's not sarcasm, actually, do let me know!)

But let's be clear: we all look for "good qualities" in men we are evaluating as potential boyfriends.  And yes, these qualities are extremely subjective.  But some of them pop up more than others.  First, I accept, men are more superficial than women -- as a trend.  So let's accept that we all want to date someone we think is handsome.  Career is also status symbol.  Maybe it shouldn't be.  But at the least, it can be a signal for some people.  I'm not arguing that there are lots of contextual factors in dating.  But a number of things tend to come up for most people when looking for a potential partner.  And another is common interest, hobbies, activism, things like that.  

But when I looked in my own life, I definitely saw something similar to Josh's experience.  A number of white men, who didn't have my intellectual experience, credentials, career, or commitment to making a difference, still did things that left me feeling that they looked down on me or they didn't see my value as a human being.  And yes, when you get into the realm of feelings, it's so much more subjective.  And yet, this is my experience, too.  So said another way...  

A LOT OF WHITE MEN LEAVE BLACK MEN FEELING UNDER-VALUED


Now the problem with this assertion, in theory, is that it's harder to prove.  I can ask white readers "How many boyfriends have you had and were any of them people of color?"  And this is a binary number.  Alternatively, I can ask, "How many second dates have you had with people of color?"  And those questions can be very revealing.  By the way, I've already written a blog on how white men should look at their dating histories and look through their phones and ask themselves if they have an unconscious racial bias. 


But when you get into the realm of bad attitudes or nonchalant texting, it's harder to make a solid case.  But given that I've tried to really keep all my previous blogs in the realm of actions and spoken words, I think I've earned a little bit of leeway to discuss my feelings on interracial dating.  And as I talk to other people of color, I find that these feelings are widespread.  

White men -- who sometimes aren't even that hot or accomplished in their careers -- act as if they can just be barely interested in dating a person of color.  

*The black or Asian man is ALWAYS the first to initiate a conversation online.  

* The Black/Asian man ALWAYS asks the white man if he wants to go on a date. 

* The Black/Asian man ALWAYS has to follow up to confirm the date, less the white man flake out. 

*It's the Black/Asian guy who is ALWAYS asking for a second date or further commitment.  

Conversely...

* It's the white man who always looks for the smallest of reasons to cancel a date or end communication

* It's always the white man who thinks he's right about everything - dating and racial

* The white man forgives very great flaws found in other whites, while condemning the minor flaws in people of color (Just look at Trump supporters if you want to see this on a macro level). 

Again, I refer you to my previous blog post above on implicit bias if you want more ways to quantitatively see what kinds of men you are chasing.  But I also have a more general blog on white privilege in the gay community as well: 


Now some of this is endemic to the human condition.  There are jerks of every race.  Plenty of Black men can be flaky too.  But if one race is held up as the "ideal", then might there not be an incentive or might society not allow mediocre people of the "ideal race" to get away with being jerks to people of the "undesired race"?  

So I'm asking my white readers... Again, look at your dating history to evaluate whether you are giving people of color a chance.  And even if you are, let me follow up with a second question: Are you acting disinterested or making amazing people of color chase you?  And if so, are you genuinely that special?  Or might you be allowing the way society values whiteness to stop you from checking your bad behavior?  

Now often I find that white men have maybe been turned down by one Black guy who was - if we're being superficially inclined -- was WAY out of their league in terms of looks.  And they use that as an excuse not to look closer at their dating trends.  So don't just think of the one Denzel Washington who didn't chat to you on Tinder.  Look at the men who were trying to get to know you.  

And maybe I can't prove this theory in a court of law the way I can other blog posts, but it's my lived experience.  And while I'm smart enough that I can see these signs early on, other Black and Asian men may not.  I have zero qualms about calling out a white man who I think doesn't see my value.  But other people of color might be hesitant to call you out for this.  In your world, you might think you are super progressive, because you aren't ignoring the black/Asian man at all.  But after a while constantly chasing a guy who isn't that keen is not fun.  

TAP DANCING TO KEEP YOUR ATTENTION IS EXHAUSTING! 




TAKE A MOMENT TO ASSESS YOURSELF!


Let's suppose I was going to be a gay Judge Judy figure, as in an intelligent Harvard lawyer were going to give you (the alleged white guy who demands that people of color tap dance for his approval) a frank assessment as to whether you fall into this category...  (And again, I'm not being sarcastic or hyperbolic - if you're white ask yourself if a smart Black guy were assessing me, what would he say?)..  And I were to assess your credentials versus those of the person of color whom you don't seem keen to meet or interact with, what might my verdict be?  

* If I was to look at his CV versus the Asian guy who keeps messaging you, who's got the better university degree or career?  (Not saying this is indicative of your value as a whole.  But I'm saying many people see this as a signal - including probably most of my white readers, and we're trying to figure out who is BF quality and who is mediocre...) 

* If I was to look at the Black Guy's photo and rate his attractiveness compared to yours, even though you told him you didn't want a second date, who is hotter?  (Again, white people have unconscious biases when it comes to what's attractive, so that's why I said imagine a person of color were making this assessment)  

* If I was to look at his contributions to the queer community versus yours, who's done more?  

* Who's making an effort and who is being lazy in the conversation? 

What would I conclude??? 

So again, I have to ask my white readers, "Are you a mediocre white man asking Black men to do back flips to keep your attention?"  

Maybe don't get defensive about it.  But maybe ASK the people of color in your life whether you have left them feeling undervalued!  

Because if every person of color you date feels that way, then there is definitely something for you to look at.  

And maybe the real work that needs to be done is people of color need to begin to examine our own unconscious attitudes on race to where we, as queer people of color, stop interacting with white men who don't value us at all. 

And by the way... Give Josh Rivers a follow!  Instagram @_busybeingblack 
And check out his podcast, Busy Being Black! https://www.busybeingblack.com


Sunday, June 27, 2021

Things Stupid White People Say (on Race)

Here are some of things that white people say when they are typically exhibiting white fragility or trying to see somewhat reasonably well informed on race, but in reality, just super annoy the hell out of black people who might not be as articulate as I am.  But let me explain why some of the things white people often say when race comes up are REALLY STUPID!  

1. I can’t be racist because someone in my family is black.  

Just because you didn’t spit in the face of the black guy who married your cousin (or sister or nephew or whoever) does not mean you don’t have racial blind spots.  And it certainly doesn’t mean you are immune to abusing your white privilege or exhibiting extreme white fragility in the moment.  In fact, it’s a glib excuse that doesn’t hold any real credibility.  

Few people are racist as to say something overtly to a family member.  That’s not to say that some white people still don’t do it.  But simply not doing racist acts does not mean you don’t have racial bias and prejudices.  This is what Professor Robin DiAngelo calls the “Good Bad Binary” approach to race.  White people believe that only “bad people” are racist.  And because most white people believe “I’m a good person, and I surround myself with good people, and because we aren’t actively trying to harm black people, we can’t be racist.”  This is extremely flawed logic, and I’ll refer you to her video.  

White Fragility with Robin DiAngelo.  (Guardian YouTube Video on White Fragility) 

And as someone who comes from an interracial family, I have first-hand experience.  White people only tend to learn about how deep and insidious racism can be when someone in their IMMEDIATE family is affected.  They have to be able to be there when the person of color gets micro-aggressions or gets racial slurs thrown at them.  They have to see the tears in their bi-racial child’s eyes before  they really get racism.  

You telling your second cousin that her bi-racial child has pretty skin does not make you a civil rights champion. 

Let's be clear.  You're using your family members or friends as props or human shields to avoid having to tackle the issue that you might have gaps in your racial knowledge.  

2.  I can’t be racist, because I f*cked a black guy once.

The logic here is ridiculous, but it's not that different to the one above  -->  Because I occasionally find black men (or other people of color attractive), I can’t be racist (or have blind spots or say things that are uninformed and ignorant).  So again, I’d refer you to the good-bad-binary approach to racism.  Just because you find black men attractive, doesn’t mean you don’t have racial blind spots and can’t say stupid shit, like the phrase above.  

But you know who else liked shagging black women???  Thomas Jefferson!!!  



Thomas Jefferson was the third president of the USA, and he was an ardent proponent of SLAVERY!  But he shagged a black woman and was better to her than other slave masters, so he can’t be racist right?  

Keep in mind, he started shagging her when she was 13 or 14.  And he never freed his slave until he died at the age of 75.  But he can't be racist right??? 

You know who else shagged black women???  Strom Thurmond!!!  

He advocated for legal segregation and he denounced all attempts to end segregationn and give black people the right to vote.  He fought race mixing in all public venues, eve after it became legal.  

But guess what... He had sex with (and most likely raped) his black maid.  They had a bi-racial child.  And he NEVER publicly acknowledged his black child while he was alive.  


So does his finding his black maid attractive earn him a pass for all his racist deeds?  

Just because you sat on a black cock once does NOT make you a civil rights champion!!!

So... Yes, I accept that these are extreme examples.  But they send the point home.  You can have racially repugnant views and still fancy black people.  In fact, some white men get off on the power dynamics.  They enjoy the fact that they have power over the other person.  (Men in general do this, but it doesn't take away from the fact that there can be power dynamics). 

And speaker of power dynamics...  I have to briefly mention the issue of fetishization.  Are you open to marrying a black man?  Or do you just want a fix of BBC, so you can have your one experience then move on?  I literally just wrote out a test in my previous blog on how to see whether or not you have unconscious biases in your dating life.  So read that and then come back to me on this one… 

Implicit Bias in Online Dating


3.  I’m flaky with everyone – it’s not because you’re black.  

I hate this one.  Perhaps, I hate this one because it’s the ultimate get out of jail free card.  It’s basically a white person saying, “Yes, I know I’m an ass-hole, but I’m like that to everyone.”  First, you’re a dick head.  And I already wrote an entire 240-page book explaining why people like you are ruining the gay scene.  

Grindr Survivr on Amazon

Second, what people don’t realize is that their white privilege, in a way, contributes towards their ability to be flaky and get away with it.  Because whiteness is so admired, deserved and pursued in gay culture, you can get away with being rude and flaky towards people.  Your whiteness makes it easier for you to treat people like shit, because other people will always be lining up to date you.  Now, let me be clear, this does NOT apply to all white people.  You have to be white and conventionally attractive.  But your “hotness” allows you to get away with horrendous behavior in the world of Grindr.  

Ethnic minorities, or whites who aren’t deemed attractive, cannot get away with the same shenanigans.  And as I said in my previous blog: if you know the gay scene is racist and queer people of color have to deal with way more shit than you’d ever have to, WHY ARE YOU MAKING THINGS HARDER FOR US?  

But I have a sneaking suspicion that if we went through your phone and your WhatsApp and Grindr messages, there might be a racial disparity on whom you make time for... 

http://www.grindrsurvivr.net/2021/05/white-privilege-on-gay-scene-aka-things.html

But even if you are just a non-racist flaky person, doing nothing is not enough!  Use your privilege to get involved and raise awareness on ending racism in the gay community, or at the least, be a bit kinder to those people who don’t have your white (and hot) privilege.  Flaky men are still scum of the earth!!!

http://www.grindrsurvivr.net/2016/11/flakey-men-are-scum-of-earth.html


4.  Yes, racism is bad, but at least you (as a black person) don’t have it as bad as Asians...  

This might be true, but it’s a cop-out.  Like… Should I be grateful that white people treat me terribly, because someone else gets it worse?  Think about how stupid that logic is.  I'm not supposed to protest racism, because someone has it worse?  Shouldn't we all be working on dismantling all forms of racism and making a gay community that is open and embraces everyone?  

I don't think anyone means to be so stupid and tone deaf when they say it, but this is also a subtle form of manipulation.  People who say this are unconsciously asking black people not to complain about racism, which makes them feel uncomfortable and triggers their white fragility, and we are to sooth ourselves with the knowledge that someone out there is getting it worse.  Like should I write "No Asians" on my Grindr profile, because someone else wrote "No Blacks" on theirs?  Like this is ridiculously stupid logic.  

So why do white people say it?  

It's a glib answer to HELP SOME WHITE PEOPLE NOT TO CONFRONT HOW NASTY RACISM IS AND HOW THEY BENEFIT FROM IT.  If they can pivot away, then they don't have to feel uncomfortable.   

But this type of thinking is the same type of thinking that Republicans use on the white working class in the USA (and in Britain).  


The logic is parallel.  Don't pay attention to the bigger issue (Murdoch hogging the cookies / wider racism in the gay community) just look down on that other guy over there!  


5.  I’m Irish / Ginger / [Fill in the Blank], so my group of white people get a lot of discrimination too (OR... I can't be racist because my white ethnic group have experienced discrimination). 

Ugh… This is really stupid on so many levels, but I’m too exhausted to go into it.  But again, because people of your background have experienced a fraction of what black people experience today does not make you a civil rights icon.  It also does not mean that you can't have uninformed opinions on race.  

Racism is systemic and pervasive.  People not liking red heads is no where in the same ballpark. 

In one sense, this argument is extremely lazy.  As if to say that because your group in the past has experienced discrimination, you can't possibly have blind spots, say stupid things, or not recognize the systemic issues of racism in society or white privilege.  There's no intellectual weight there.  It's just a glib saying to keep your white fragility in tact. 


6. Telling the Black Person, "You're Angry" or "Crazy"  

I would have thought this one was going out of style.  White people seemed to be getting hip to the fact that telling a black person that they are "angry" is an unacceptable form of racial gaslighting.  

But of course, someone did that to me recently on Tinder.  I was kind of shocked and stunned, because I hadn't heard it before.   I took screen shots and I've got the guy's name.  But I'll refrain from naming and shaming for now.  But it's so crazy.  But nevertheless, I had to add it to the list.  


First, he said that I was ridiculous, because I wanted to figure out someone's racial awareness BEFORE I meet them for a date.  When he got super offended, because he clearly hadn't ever seriously dated a person of color before, he got angry.  

Second, this is classic white fragility.  If you can dismiss the Harvard lawyer as just another angry Negro who complains about everything, it gets you (or other defensive white guys) off the hook.  This Tinder guy doesn't have to examine his behavior, his assumptions, his prejudices or the areas where he's left people of color feeling "less than."  It's intellectually lazy.  It shows that you've done no research into critical race theory, you have no understanding of systemic racism.  And it shows you're a moron when it comes to race.  

Third, it's a way to invalidate my life experience, which is part of the reason I am writing an entire book on racism!!!  If I've been dealing with this nonsense for years, and you as a white person have not, the last thing you should be doing is trying to dismiss my educated analysis of systemic racism with your stupidity.  It's like you trying to argue that the world is flat with a geologist.  There is zero evidence that systemic racism does not exist.  There is zero evidence that people of color are dehumanized and degraded by white people.  But you're going to put your fingers in your ears and pretend that I'm the problem when you're the one who's ignorant and close minded and refuses to learn. 

Fourth... But even if I am angry, so what?  You'd be angry too if you dealt with racism and white people saying stupid things to you all the time!  Dealing with racism is EXHAUSTING.  Dealing with the stupid things that white people say is EXHAUSTING.  If at times, I'm frustrated with your ignorance, don't get mad at me.  EDUCATE YOURSELF!  As Robin DiAngelo keeps saying, stop putting the burden of your ignorance on race onto black people.  

By the way... Did you notice that in this exchange he also strongly implied that he can't be racist, because he finds tanner people attractive?  

Again, I refer you to point 2 above.  



                SO WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU SAY SOMETHING STUPID ON THIS LIST?  

I reserve the right to send you a link to this blog and not to engage with you on racial issues until you read at least one book and make a minimal amount of effort to educate yourself.  

It's not my job to sit there and take your stupidity or micro-aggressions and hear all of your uninformed skeptical notions on race.  If you can't even read a book or watch a five minute YouTube video that I linked above, why should your opinion hold any credibility?  

Should someone who believes that the earth is flat have just as much credibility as a guy with a PhD in Geology or Biology?  

Here's a book that often summarizes my mood... 




Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Implicit Bias in Online Dating: What White Men Need to Know!



A LITTLE STORY ABOUT MUSIC:

In the 1970's the New York Symphony orchestra (one of the most prestigious orchestras in the world) was over 93% white men.  That's right.  93 per cent!  For years, women and minorities had stated that they felt like good, qualified applicants were the victims of discrimination.  But the hiring board of the orchestra fought back.  They claimed that they were liberal and progressive and so "NOT RACIST," but they just believed that all of the white men who came in to apply were just stronger musicians.  The hiring board refused to engage in what they called "tokenism" or "affirmative-action."  But they claimed that there was no racial bias.  

So after years of wrangling, the hiring board agreed to do something different.  All the applicants would perform from BEHIND A CURTAIN.  They would only hear the applicant's music.  They would not get to see the race or gender of the applicant until the final stage.  

Guess what happened???  

Within ten years, the number of women and minorities in the New York Symphony Orchestra jumped from 7% to 34%.  That is an increase in almost FOUR HUNDRED PERCENT!  

Hmmm...  So what happened?  Did a bunch of women and black musicians magically appear from thin air?  No...  Once the white men started hiring purely on the basis of aptitude and they removed the ability to pre-judge a candidate's performance purely by their race and gender (at least until the final stage of the interview process) they found that their own implicit bias was cutting out a lot of qualified women and minority candidates.  

ANOTHER LITTLE STORY ABOUT LAWYERS: 

I'm sure you've all heard news stories of organizations sending applications with the exact same credentials to potential employers: one has a "black sounding name" and the other has a "white sounding name."  And overwhelmingly, the resume with the white sounding name gets moved to the next round of interviewing...  

But let's take it one step deeper.  Years ago, in New York City, an academic wanted to examine implicit bias in hiring among lawyers.  Keep in mind, most lawyers are Democrats.  Many of whom are/were liberal.  So this is a group that doesn't believe that it's hostile to diversity.  Here's what one NYC academic did.  

He sent a legal memo that was IDENTICAL to two different groups of white male law firm partners and asked them to read the memo and decide whether they would hire the person who wrote the memo.  Now in reality, the professor wrote the memo himself (he just told the groups that his law students had written the memo).  The professor added specifically 26 errors to the legal memo!  Twenty Six!  And he wanted to see how the white men would react.  

The white men who reviewed the memo from a student they were told was a white male student said two things: First, they caught less than half of the errors!  Second, they said of the theoretical white male applicant, "Yes, he's a bit rough around the edges, but we'll give him a chance to prove himself."  

For the group of white men who were judging the theoretical black applicant, they found almost all of the 26 errors and they said that they would not hire this black applicant, because their work was sub-standard.  

So what can we conclude??? 

CONCLUSION: WHITE MEN HOLD OTHER WHITE MEN TO A DIFFERENT STANDARD THAN THEY DO WOMEN AND PEOPLE OF COLOR.  

There is literally no shortage of articles and data that backs this point up.  Again, white people may not be intending to be racist or prejudiced.  But it happens.  That's why it's called IMPLICIT BIAS.  Whites are often not aware that they are doing it. 

And yes, black people and women can also have implicit biases.  Everyone can have implicit biases.  But when one group dominates politics, business, culture, entertainment and all the other groups have relatively little power or positions of prestige, the biases of minorities have a much harder time impacting the white majority in any substantial way.  

LET'S SEE WHETHER YOU HAVE AN IMPLICIT BIAS IN DATING! 

So if white men can have implicit biases in business and hiring, isn't it also possible that white men can have implicit biases in dating?  

When I write about race, I hear some of my white friends, who are definitely not racist and I love them to bits, often say things that are just really stupid.  I'm sorry, there's just no other way to say it.  The opinions are ignorant, uninformed and just don't really show any awareness or understanding of white privilege and white fragility.  But I know for a fact that these people aren't racist, and as I said, I LOVE THEM.  These are good people.  So if good white people can have very uninformed views, then so could a lot of other people.  And perhaps, racial bias on dating apps if far wider and pervasive than many "non-racist white people" believe.  

So if you're white, let's do a little experiment to see if you have an implicit bias in your dating habits.  


DATINGS APPS:

Who Are the People That You Message First? 

Open up Gridr, Scruff, Hinge or Tinder and look and see.  Look at the people where you begin a chat.  Only when you start the chat.  Look and see the results.  Do you only message white people first?  (It very well could be the case that you tend to message Black men first.)  I'm not saying you're bad or wrong.  I'm just asking you to look and see.  

Who Are the People YOU Ask Out on a Date? 

So keep looking at your messages.  Find the guys that you ask out on a date.  (Or a shag if you're that way inclined).  Not the people who approach you.  Look at the people that you openly state "Hey, let's definitely meet up."  

Is there a racial discrepancy?  

What Happens When Black People Start the Chat?

Now... Go back through your Grindr, Tinder or whatever and look for areas where someone from a Black or Ethnic Minority background started a chat with you.  Do you continue the chat until you decide to ask them out?  Or do you just let the chat die?  Does the BME person ask you out and you come up with a polite reason to decline?  

Look for racial discrepancies.  


TEXTING / WHATSAPP

Who Are the People YOU Ask Out on a Date? 

Now... Keep this same question going, but look through WhatsApp, your texting messages, Facebook Messenger or Instagram Messages.  Look for the people that YOU AFFIRMATIVELY ASK SOMEONE TO MEET UP.  Again, look for a racial discrepancy.  If you have WhatsApp look and see - maybe all the profile pictures are all white.  Just notice and observe a racial discrepancy.  

Again, this doesn't mean that you're racist.  I didn't say that.  But you might be noticing an implicit bias at this point. 

Who Are the People That You SPONTANEOUSLY Re-Start a Chat With?

So... We've all done it.  Maybe the chat fizzled out for some reason.  Maybe you got busy with work and forgot to message someone back.  Maybe you were going through a tough time and needed to disconnect.  

But now, go back through your phone and look at the people where things fizzled out and yet YOU MADE THE EFFORT to re-start the conversation.  Just look at the different people.  What do you notice?  Is there a racial discrepancy. 

ACTUAL DATING

It's about to get real uncomfortable...  

Who Did You Last Rearrange Your Schedule For?  

Anyone can wait for the "perfect" time to find a date.  But circumstances rarely align perfectly -- except on Saturday nights at 3AM, apparently...  Some men you are keen to meet and others, less so.  So take a moment and go through your phone - either texting, apps or your memory and ask yourself "Who was the last guy that I inconvenienced myself for?"  Maybe you rearranged something for him?  Maybe you canceled a drinks with a mate for a shot shag?  Maybe you got someone to cover your shift at work...  Just think back to these kinds of situations.  Who did you rearrange your schedule for?  Was he white or black?  

This also works in the hypothetical sense as well.  Maybe look and see - Who was the last guy when he messaged you online, you thought "Yeah, I'd cancel on my best friend to shag this new guy!"  What did he look like?  

Now nobody has to know the truth other than yourself.  But ask yourself "Do I rearrange my schedule for white guys?  And do I make men of color wait until the timing is perfect?"  Take a look at the situations above and tell me what you think. 

Who Did You Want a Second Date With?

Go through in your head the last three or four dates that you had.  Maybe five if you've had a busy month since the pandemic started to ease up.  (And yes, this can involve hookups, assuming you are up for an on-going friends with benefit interaction with someone).  Ask yourself, who did you want a second date with?  What races were these people?  Is there a racial discrepancy?  

Who Did You NOT Want a Second Date With? 

Now... Look at the last 3 to 5 dates you had and ask yourself, who did you DEFINITELY NOT want to have a second date with?  Is there a racial discrepancy.  If all the white guys you met got second dates, but none of the black guys did, you might have an unconscious bias.  

Who Were You On the Fence About? 

Now, go back and look at these 3 to give dates and ask yourself, who were you ambivalent about?  Maybe yes, maybe no, you really weren't too bothered either way.  Again, look for a racial discrepancy.  

What Happened on the Last Three Dates w/ a Non-White Person?

So... Think back to the last three or four dates that you had with men who were not white.  (Maybe you haven't even had three dates with men who weren't white, which that is a big signal that you have a very strong bias against people who aren't white).  

How did those dates end?  What was your reaction?  Did you want a second date or were you just not that fussed?  (It's entirely possible that you did want a second date, and he didn't text you back).  

I'm not saying that you are racist or he is racist.  I'm just asking you to look for racial discrepancies.   But if none of the white people you are meeting for coffee are making it past Starbucks, after a while your track record speaks for itself. Maybe you just don't want to date a non-white person.

But here's another place to look... Has more than one person of color called you racist?  I don't know you. at all  And I don't know if you are a racist.  But if the people you are dating get a racist vibe off of you (even if you don't mean to send it out), maybe your energy towards people of color is definitely sending a signal that they are not affirmed, desired or wanted.  Maybe you're being rude to them, because on one level, you're trying to push them away.  Again, I am no mind reader, I'm just asking you to look. 

COMMITMENT

So... Who are you likely to commit to?  Are there any trends?  Let's look and see. 

What were the races of your last two or three boyfriends?  Do you have a type?  Do they all look alike?  Do they all look like you?  Are they all one race?  They might have other characteristics - like maybe they all had really BIG... Personalities! Lol...  Maybe you go for gregarious, confident men.  Maybe you like bad boys.  Look at the characteristics - both internal and external.  But also observe whether there are any discrepancies in race?

By the way, I'm not saying you're racist.  If you live in a town like Aberdeen, Scotland, it's going to be significantly less diverse than cities like London or New York.  But still... The point is to constantly be questioning your own biases.  If you never question your own biases, how can you expect to grow?

***

I posted this meme purely as a joke on my @GrindrSurvivr Instagram account.  It was purely meant to be a little funny.  And this made me laugh, but it created a lot of controversy.  A lot of people got into a massive debate into the comment sections. 


I thought it was funny, because it's kind of true.  I notice a lot of couples date people who look just like they do.  Again, that's not bad.  But it's what I observe. 


IN CONCLUSION...  WHAT DID YOU SEE ABOUT YOURSELF?

Well, to be honest, the main issue is for you to look at your behavior and notice who you are willing to invest time into and see who you are not willing to invest time into.  Maybe there are racial discrepencies.  Maybe there aren't.  

By the way, this exercise is still great from a non-racial perspective.  Maybe you just chase muscly meat-heads who you know are going to treat you like crap.  Maybe you're looking past some really great guys (of all races) to chase the perfect body or the largest "eggplant."  Again, I wrote a non-racial book to help empower you in your dating choices.  It's called @GrindrSurvivr.

So What if You Noticed Racial Discrepancies?  

But my next book is about racism in dating apps.  And implicit bias is a major issue.  

So, if you looked back at your behavior and you noticed a racial bais against people of color, what are you going to do about it?  

There are only two options really: either you actively choose to work on it, and you actively choose to NOT work on it.  

But be clear... It's your choice!  Obviously, it's better for more white people to work on their racial bias.  It can in fact save lives.  But also be clear, if you choose NOT to work on it, you're unwilling to make the gay community a more welcoming place for queer people of color.  So if we complain about racism or "racial preferences" you can't get defensive about it.  You powerfully chose to do nothing, so please just politely keep your mouth shut.  

Also, you need to be honest with yourself and stop LYING to people of color (not to mention yourself) about how open and "woke" you are.  If you're not going to go to work on your racial biases, then you're not really woke.  You just want to virtue signal.  And that doesn't help queer people of color at all.  

I have one final thought to leave you with...

Given what I've explained here (regarding implicit bias), and given what I've explained in my previous blog post (about white privilege in the gay scene)...

Why should a queer person of color take a risk on you?  Why should we put our mental health (and occasionally our safety) on the line for you?  

I'm not being rhetorical.  I actually want you to take a moment and think about this.  Why should a person of color take a risk on someone who has a lot of implicit bias against them?  If you now know that you are very likely to not text back, if it's unlikely that you actually want to date us, but only use us to either fulfill a fetish fantasy or meet us for a drink only for you to say "Yeah, we just didn't hit it off", why should we interact with you at all?  

Maybe it's better for our own self-esteem to try to find people who don't have your implicit biases...  

And maybe you need to quit kidding yourself about it.  Stop patting yourself on the back for meeting an Asian guy for coffee, when you knew deep down inside you had no interest in him.  Stop wasting the time of people of color.  Stay out of the way.  Don't be rude or aim your now overt biases at us.  Don't make us feel less than for not being white -- there are already way too many white people who do that.  Just politely be silent and let us find other BME queer people who can affirm us or other white people who genuinely appreciate our good qualities.  

Alternatively, would it kill you to put a little bit more effort in when it comes to dating people of color?  I'm not asking you give a kidney to a stranger.  But a little bit of kindness goes a long way.  You have a lot of privilege and opportunity in the gay community.  White gay men bend over backwards to accommodate other white gay men - whether that's sexually or their personality quirks.  

Would it kill you to demonstrate some genuine interest in people who are awesome but don't get all the perks of white privilege that you take for granted?  

What's the point of having that privilege if you never use it to help other people who don't?  

Be Prepared for a Direct Question: Have you Ever Dated (as in a Committed Relationship) with a Person of Color Before???

Now... As a Harvard lawyer, who spends way too much time thinking and analyzing these issues, I am very well aware that many white men have an unconscious bias against nonwhite people.  But obviously, I can't send everyone a link to this blog, expect them to read it and give me an excel file print out of how their dating preferences play out in the real world.  I ask my readers and the people I date to give me some honest answers, but even this would be too much.  

So what if I've told you that I, as a Black gay man, have come up with a super simple question that has over a 90% success rate at letting me know whether your unconscious biases against non-white people might be a problem if I wanted to date you.  

And if you hadn't guessed from the heading, the question is simple: Have you ever dated a black or mixed-race guy before?  

This question is simple and it's INSANELY EFFECTIVE.  I'll get into the full details of the effectiveness in my next book.  But this is the perfect question to suss out someone's potential implicit biases.  And the results don't lie.  

The vast majority of white men who HAVE DATED someone who looks like me (ie a Black guy or a mixed race guy) ask for a second date.  The vast majority of white men who have NEVER DATED a person of color do NOT ask for a second date.  (I'll get into the details of this in my next book, but this is totally valid evidence for me)

In the age of Grindr, gay men have a LOT of dating options.  So who they are willing to commit to is extremely revealing.  If you are willing to cut off all dating options (white men and Black men) to pursue a relationship with a Black man, there is over a 90% chance that either don't have a strong implicit bias AGAINST dating people of color.  And it certainly would make me feel more comfortable before I expend any energy in getting to know you.  

If you've only met a few Black guys for coffee once, and none of them got second dates or even got to date you causally for a few weeks, then you're probably not someone I want to get to know.  Your dating history shows that you probably don't value people of color.  And I don't want to upset you or deal with your white fragility.  But it is my right to take this limited amount of data and act accordingly.  

Noe some people will scream "That's not fair!"  And in some sense, they're not wrong.  You genuinely do have to meet everyone to a get a full sense of who they are.  (In my book, I argue that people should always give second dates to guys who ask them, simply because first dates can be so awkward.). But at the same time, racism is rampant in the gay community.  And lots of gay men want to act racist in their boyfriend choices, but want to pretend to the outside world that they are open minded to dating people of different colors.  But I've just gotten a little ahead of the curve, and I would encourage more gay men of color to follow suit.  Black men should not feel afraid or hesitant to start asking these types of questions...

START ASKING WHITE MEN IF THEY DATE and/or FORM RELATIONSHIPS WITH NON-WHITE MEN!!!

I'm a muscular, Harvard lawyer, who is intelligent, funny, kind and sensitive.  I write books; I have no fear of commitment, and I am actively working to transform my community.  I'm not a basic bitch. I'm the real deal.  And I don't want to date someone who only thinks "Yeah, he's hot for a black guy."  Or,... "He's okay, maybe I'll meet him for coffee."  Or... "Maybe I'd fuck him at 3AM, but I'd never date him."  

I want someone who thinks I'm amazing and wants to get to know the real me.  But because I'm not white, the easiest way to suss through people's unconscious biases is to look at the results they are producing for themselves.  Look, I know I have a lot to offer.  But I also know that most white guys just can't look past my color.  And I want to avoid those people at all costs.  And if asking this one question helps guard my self esteem and mental health, white people need to respect that without calling me "crazy" or "stupid."  (And yes, these insults tend to come from people whose academic backgrounds are not as prestigious as my own.  But since when have white people not derided intelligent black men that they deem to be "uppidy.")

And in my experience, the data doesn't lie.  Don't get me wrong.  I still get disappointed.  Things often don't go the way I want.  But for the first time inn my life, I can enjoy being single.  I can enjoy dating!  I don't have to walk into dates with the burden and fear that this white gay has an unconscious bias against my skin color.  We're just free to connect, laugh and get to know each other.  And by the way, I'm really good at that.  

Am I asking for special treatment? Definitely not.  Most white men get to take this for granted.  It's a very rare date where a white guy can't walk in and know with absolute confidence that his race will not be held against him. So if you get this white privilege, then don't begrudge me trying to get a fraction of it in my own life, particularly as it helps keep me sane.  If you know that the gay scene is racist, if you know that Black gay men have to deal with a lot more shit than white gay men, why are you getting fragile and butt-hurt when I ask you to answer a simple question that will help increase my chances of finding happiness.

I have more to say on this topic, but it's getting late, and I'm getting tired.  But I think you get the gist... 



Sunday, May 30, 2021

White Privilege on the Gay Scene: (aka Things White Men Never Have To Worry About)


While I'm working on writing a book on racism in the gay community, I wanted to start to begin to have a conversation about listing a lot of things that people of color don't get from a gay community that largerly only affirms whiteness and holds Black people as less desirable.  Since this is a blog, it may not be a perfect explanation.  (I promised that it will be handled better in my forthcoming book: Grinding While Black...). But for now, it's a start.  

If you have thoughts to share, let me know on Instagram: @GrindrSurvivr 

So let's talk about white privilege and things that white men don't have to consider or be worried about when dating in the gay community.

1.  PEOPLE WILL HIT ON YOU AND BUY YOUR DRINKS. You can walk into virtually any gay bar or club (or certainly the overwhelming majority in the West – North America, Europe, Australia) and never have to worry about whether your skin color will be an issue for people.  AKA – people are more likely to buy you a drink, chat you up and hit on you if you’re white. 

        (A) To this day, I can count on one hand, the number of times men have offered to buy me drinks.  This seems to be a regular occurrence for my white friends.  

        (B) Often, white men give me strange looks when I go to clubs, as if to say that they don’t want me there or I’m taking up space.  

        (C) Alternatively, sometimes white people are nice to me, but only when I’m hanging out with a white guy that they fancy, so they try to use me as an intermediary to get to the white person they truly desire. 

        (D) I've noticed that many of my white friends get offered things, beyond drinks, that no one has EVER offered me.  This can include: free holidays to places, free theater tickets, invitations to exclusive parties etc etc.  The fact is, when people think you're attractive, they go out of their way to impress you.  When you're not deemed desirable for whatever reason, they don't.  (Again, that's not to say that every white person gets this A-list treatment.  But what I'm saying is hot white guys get it a whole lot more than hot black guys). 

(2) MORE DATING OPTIONS ONLINE! You can go onto any dating app and be absolutely assured that your skin color/race will not count against you with the majority of Grindr users.  Guys online message and interact with people they find attractive.  That’s just the nature of the beast.  And if white is deemed attractive and black/non-white is deemed unattractive, people of color have far fewer options online.  

        (A) While it is becoming less common, white men still make overtly racist statements on their Grindr profiles and in messages about not dating outside of their race.  They publicly sneer at the prospect of dating a person of color, and they don't care how this nastiness damages the self-esteem of others.  This is something that white people never have to endure.  (That's not to say white people never get rude messages, but is will rarely if ever be simply because of their skin color)  

        (B) One study, which I'll properly source in my book, found that a blank profile with the word "White" as their race classification, got FOUR TIMES as many messages as a handsome black guy with a profile picture.  

        (C) I've noticed that many white men often brag about how many guys they can get.  While this is not racist in and of itself, bragging about all your Grindr conqeuests to a person of color is the emotional equivalent of Paris Hilton telling people to "Stop being poor."  It's rude and tone deaf.  It's a not-so-subtle reminder that you get loads of advantages and privileges that I and many other people of color will never get.  


(3) WHITE MEN CAN AFFORD TO BE FLAKY (AND RUDE).  The more dating options a white man has, the more he can be casual, flaky, and rude to people, and gay men will tolerate it, because he’s hot and white, and he doesn't need to be mindful of other people's feelings.  That’s not to say that super-hot people of color can’t also be flaky or out of touch with reality due to their good looks.  But it is a lot rarer -- and society doesn't placate them or bend over backwards to affirm them BECAUSE of their race. It's in spite of their race usually. 

The more people who fancy you, the more you can be a slime ball and get away with it.  (And yes, I wrote a non-racial book on how we all should treat each other better, regardless of race.  So if you want to hear my views on that, go read it!  But we can’t talk about dating privilege and bad behavior online, without addressing racial issues and disparities). 

        (A) When a white man cancels a date on another white man, the white guy is reasonably assured that he can find other options, even if it’s last minute.  All he need do is open Grindr.  Since people of color have far fewer dating options, we literally can’t afford to be flaky.  And when a white man flakes out on us, we have fewer opportunities to rescue our evening.  

        (B) Also, when a white man cancels on a black man, the black man has to wonder whether his race played a factor.  

If the white guy simply isn’t keen to meet a person of color for a date, but he doesn’t want to confront his own internal racial dating preferences, he might casually flake on a black guy, but tell himself, “Well, I flaked on him, but it wasn’t because he was black.”  This may or may not be true.

But as a person of color, white people send you signals that you are not desired and you don’t deserve basic respect.  So because white people don’t want to confront their own racism, sometimes that can and will express itself as flakiness.

This is an extremely heavy emotional burden for us to carry.  And yes, white people can be flaked on, but they don't carry the same burden of constantly questioning whether the flakiness was due to racism.  

        (C) If you're white, here's a quick test.  Go through your phone and look at the last three people you flaked out on or brushed off.  And then look at the last three men that you chased, or re-arranged your schedule to meet.  And look to see if there is a racial disparity.  You may not like the answer...

(4) EASIER TO FIND COMMITTED RELATIONSHIPS! You can go on any date and be virtually assured that your race will not be a hinderance in the other person’s perception of you or his ability to connect with you - physically or mentally.  AKA – you don’t have to worry about your race working against you if he is looking for a boyfriend.  You don't have to go into a date wondering, “Will this guy be closed to a relationship with me, simply because of my skin color?”  You never go on a date and wonder – “Does he have the mindset of ‘I’d shag a black guy but never date one.’”  In fact, you can be confident that anyone you have met has likely been in committed relationship with another white person.  

        (A) Also, sometimes white people – feeling guilty that they might be “sexual racists” – will meet a person of color for coffee in order to pat themselves on the back.  “See. I’m not a racist.”  But they never had any intent of taking it further.  They might lie to themselves and say, "Oh, I would date a black man - so long as he's insanely hot, insanely smart, wealthy, etc etc" - aka, they'd date a black man who was perfect.  But even then, they don't hold other white man to the same impossibly high standards.  In short - WHITE MEN WILL IGNORE A "PERFECT" MAN OF COLOR TO CHASE ANOTHER MEDIOCRE WHITE MAN.  

        (B). White people are always held up in the gay community as the “ideal” that all others should strive for, particularly in matters of relationships.  This rarely happens for people of color.  So we're not seen as people's husband material.  WHITE PEOPLE PUT US IN POSITIONS WHERE WE CONTINUALLY HAVE TO PROVE OUR WORTH, AND I FIND IT EXHAUSTING.  They can be dumb and basic as f*ck, and yet, they have become so accustomed to everyone placating their bad behavior, they no longer see it as an issue.  
                    (i) And yes, much of this might be subconscious or an unconscious bias!  The white men who are flaky and rude are used to being flaky and rude to everyone, but people of color have a much harder time on the gay scene, and they never factor this in when deciding how to treat us.  But yes, everyone should treat everyone with a basic level of respect and decency - and I wrote a book about it!  GO BUY IT!  But I would assert, and most people of color that I've interacted, feel like white people are shittier to them then they are to other white people.  (Again, I'll have more evidence and research in my next book.  But maybe take it on faith for the next month or two). 

        (C) Also, I’ve found sometimes white men use my positive attributes against me.  I’m proud of the fact that I’ve got a Doctorate from Harvard and that I wrote a book about gay ethics.  And I've been on a few dates where people have described me as "uppidy" for lack of a better word.  


5.  YOU WON’T BE FETISHIZED!  You know that in most interactions people will not fetishize you simply because of your race.  While few people say it, many white men have the attitude of “I’d shag a black guy, but I’d never want to bring them home to my parents.”  

Few people have said this to my face, but it has happened.  However, my white friends tell me that other whites confess this to them quite regularly: that they enjoy occasionally shagging a black guy, but they would never seriously consider dating one.  


6.  LACK OF RACIAL AWARENESS WILL NOT PUNISHED! Your ignorance of racism will never be punished.  You can be as stupid, clueless and moronic as you want to be, and for the most part, the vast majority of white people – including many gay men, will not punish you for your ignorance.  You can then exhibit white fragility and racially gaslight people of color and literally tell yourself “He didn’t prove racism to me, so he must not have a point.”  

        (A) White people love to racial gaslight black people.  If I, as a Harvard lawyer, can't argue racism exists in a palpable fashion to the ignorant white person, the white guy can shrug it off and not face a consequence.  This is an extremely heavy burden to place on black people.  WE CONSTANTLY HAVE TO PROVE RACISM EXISTS TO STUPID WHITE PEOPLE.  AND IT'S EXHAUSTING!!!  
                    (i) It's exhausting, because I have to re-live my trauma constantly, lest this stupid white person won't agree that my REALITY is VALID.  Think about how draining that is.  It's FRUSTRATING to constantly be questioned about your reality.  
                    (ii) White people have the privilege of simply ignoring the truth.  They can ignore facts, testimony, and yet, even despite all the books that exist on critical race theory, they can shrug their shoulders and simply ignore the truth.  
                    (iii) IMAGINE, WHITE MEN, IF EVERYONE IN SOCIETY JUST PRETENDED HOMOPHOBIA DIDN'T EXIST!!!  You'd be furious.  (And yes, I'm aware that much of society did exactly this throughout most of history).  So imagine how frustrating it is for people of color.  

        (B) Also, as a black person, my ignorance of the other white person’s intentions can cause me very serious damage - both emotionally and even physically.  (See below).


7.  YOU NEVER HAVE TO FEAR PEOPLE WEAPONIZING THEIR WHITENESS! You can go into any social interaction and be confident that white people will not “weaponize their whiteness against you.”  This may be rare, but it does in deed happen.  Some white men are aware that people of color are deathly afraid of the police or other authority figures.  And so they prey on and scam people of color, knowing that if the person of color goes to the police, the police will not believe them.  Alternatively, they know that some people are so scared of the police, fearing for their safety, they won’t report the crime at all.   

        (A) Lest you think I'm being hyperbolic, let's talk about Ed Buck.  A rich white man in LA, who would intentionally target black gay men.  He would drug them to the point of death and then watch them die.  Black people tried to tell the local officials that Buck was only targeting black men, and no one did anything - until the SECOND BLACK MAN WAS MURDERED.  And even then, they only arrested Buck after a two black men were dead and a third man (whom Buck attempted to kill) came forward to accuse him!  Buck would target poor black men, because he knew that they wouldn't go to the police!  


        (B) This can happen in smaller ways, however.  White people have threatened me with statements like, “Piss me off, and I’ll get you banned from this club for life.”  While the white person who did this may not have intended to be racist, it’s a power play.  And it’s one that I as a black man will very ever rarely have.  

                    (i). Moreover, these types of incidents, if they escalated (and luckily for me, they never have) could involve the police, who might just shoot a black person first and ask questions later.  


So if you have all this privilege, what are you going to do about it?  Why be shitty to people of color who don’t have this privilege?  Why be a dick and flake out on them at the last second? 

Queer people of color have it way harder than you!  That’s not to say that all white people have it easy, but you have it easier than a black person in the same situation.  We endure abuse and sometimes acts of terror (and I’m not kidding) from white men.  It takes an extreme toll on our mental health.  And yes, sometimes many people of color simply withdraw from predominantly white gay culture in order to find spaces where they can be loved and affirmed, but this isn’t the reality for most queer people, particularly those that don’t live in cities with large enough ethnic populations to have black gay clubs and a black gay scene.  

So you should keep some of this in mind when you’re interacting with people of color.  Why make our lives harder than it already is?

I don't know when I'll finish my book on racism in the gay community, but if you'd like further reading, I can recommend the following book:  White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo