Online dating is a booming market with apps such as Tinder, Grindr and match.com; they’re popular enough that even celebrities such as Hilary Duff create accounts.. Many dating sites offer a free, safe haven for you to find your ultimate partner, but for many people of color it is the exact opposite of that.
They are prone to receiving many racist messages from people who don’t see them as people beyond their ethic background. For example, this woman received a racist message from a man off of the online dating website OkCupid.
He sent the 38 year old woman a message saying ‘I’d like to ruffle your hair like you are my dog’ to which she responded saying that she found it offensive, he then replied, ‘OK, how about I put a chain around your neck with a sign saying “N***** Slave” and ride you around the place?’ He has since been banned from the website but this is a shocking reality that many people have to face. The woman immediately reported him to OkCupid and has since got in contact with the police.
On many accounts, especially some like Grindr, the version of Tinder exclusively for gay men, people contain many degrading slogans in their bios such as “no oldies,” “no fems,” and “no fatties”. These terms are all extremely derogatory and offensive.
They also use many racist terms that dehumanizing POC by referring them to food types. ‘No Chocolate’ to deter the black men, ‘No Rice’ to prevent the Asian men, ‘No Spice’ to stop the Latinos and ‘No Curry’ to redirect the Indian men.
This is racism; they are refusing to consider these men as potential love interests because of their ethnicity. Some people use the excuse that this is a preference, for example they may say that their preference is men but they don’t like any other races.
The fact that they’re saying that they’re attracted to men but not attracted to black, asian, latino and Indian men shows that they don’t recognize POC races as attractive or recognize them as men. It makes it harder for young POC gay men to come to terms with their sexuality when the gay community shuns them for not being attractive.
A study by Kevin Lewis of the University of California, San Diego, found that racial prejudice has a significant impact on dating decisions. For example, users are more likely to start a conversation with their own race. Women are more likely to respond to the advances of white men then to men of any other ethnic background and men of all races are less likely to respond to black and asian women.
On the other hand, having phrases such as ‘Only Black Men’ is a sign of fetishization. They aren’t attracted to these men because of their personality or who they are but their skin color. They are reducing these whole human beings with brains, opinions and unique personalities to just their skin and the features they were born with. Another form of fetishization is the phrase ‘He probably suffers from yellow fever’. It is used to describe men who date asian girls, in particular Japanese, Chinese and Korean girls. This phrase is obscenely offensive as it gives the impression that men must be sick in order to find an asian girl attractive. The same goes for the phrase ‘You suffer from jungle fever’ which is used to describe people who are dating black girls or guys.
To conclude this article, I would like to say that both fetishization and refusal of POC because of their skin color are both forms of racism and no matter your race, this degradation and micro aggressions need to stop.