I’m a fit, masculine, relatively good-looking white top, 5 foot 10 inches, blue eyes, short hair. My tribe is “clean cut,” and I’m one of those Grindr profiles you click that says “white for white only.” You should see my message history: I get so many messages from people calling me racist, some of them black guys but also some from other races too (including white guys), and they constantly tell me that my personal preferences are racist, that I’m misguided, brainwashed. But the truth is much more straightforward: I’m just not attracted to black men.
There’s something I can’t explain that just doesn’t feel a sexual attraction to them. You know, chemistry. It’s as simple as that. I’m not attracted to black guys in the same way that I don’t like girls. It’s all a question of preference.
I know it won’t look great when I say I’m not racist because I have lots of black gay friends, but I do. We were all talking about this the other day at a dinner party because one of my black friends who, incidentally, only likes white guys, told me how much it hurts him to read profiles where guys say they aren’t interested in black guys, or Asian guys, or whatever it is. He tells me that once he wrote a guy and the guy responded to him, in all caps, NO BLACK, as if he was shouting. Thankfully, my friend hasn’t seen my Grindr profile a) because I blocked him — we’re already friends and he doesn’t need to know when I’m trolling for tail — and b) because my pic is of my torso so he wouldn’t know if it was me anyway.
He told me it makes him feel so undesirable, worthless, even invisible when he sees racial preferences in a person’s profile.
So that’s when I told him that maybe he should put “only into white guys” to advertise that fact to prospective suitors. Surely there are white guys out there who like black dudes. He told me he tried that and got a shit ton of messages from black guys telling him he was racist against his own kind.
He asked me to think about how invisible he is in the gay world and told me about how he never feels beautiful or attractive because he might send 25 messages to hot white guys on Grindr, but almost none of them respond. As I’m hearing him say this I realize how easy it is for me to find someone to hook-up with. I make the mistake of admitting that when I write someone they typically respond right away, so I don’t really understand what he’s going through.
When I say this I’m immediately checked on my white privilege. I’m told that the reason I get messages right away is because I’m white, that most everyone wants a white guy, so people are thrilled that I give them the time of day. Being a white gay male, they tell me, means that I get the luxury of being picky and getting to choose the perfect sexual partner, whereas everybody else settles for whatever debris they can get (provided they are even into people outside of their race).
We continue talking and my friend goes on to say how mainstream gay culture is only for white gay men and there are no mainstream movie or television shows or pornography that eroticizes men of color the way that white guys are, and he tells me that people who are only into white guys are brainwashed by societal beauty norms. “But doesn’t that mean you’re brainwashed, too?” I go. He agrees, then goes on a rant about how white beauty is idealized for everyone. He told me that if you’re into black men and you’re not black, it’s almost as if you have some kind of fetish.
As I listened to him all I kept thinking to myself was that I don’t mean to hurt anybody’s feelings. I put “white for white only” in my profile because Grindr is not really the place to make friends or to set up meaningful connections. It’s a meat-market. People go on it knowing exactly what they want to find and will search for that and that alone until they find it, so listing personal preferences isn’t about being racist as it is a way to weed people out and get the fast fix you’re seeking. When I go to McDonald’s I know exactly what I’m going to order, what tastes good to me, what I like, and I order that thing every time. I dip my fries in BBQ sauce every time, and that’s just the way it is.
I like white guys and I feel no remorse or guilt about that whatsoever. I’m white! But having black friends and latino friends and hearing them talk about the shitty gay world we’re in, I’ve been wondering if maybe I have been brainwashed in some way. I did grow up in a reaaaaaaalllllly white suburb, and no one in my family has ever dated outside of their race, and I do think my parents would freak out if I brought a black guy or an Asian guy home (they’re ok with The Gay), and I do worry about cultural differences and whether we would have anything in common, and I’ve never seen a black dick before in real life and the thought of a different colored penis does sort of weird me out. But honestly, maybe it’s just that I don’t have the balls to try something I haven’t tried before.