I’ve talked a lot lately about how ageist gay culture is. But what about race? The majority of images we see are not only young, but white. That in itself might not mean much, but any gay man of colour will tell you that racism is a big issue in our community.
As an oppressed minority some gay men believe it doesn’t count when they spew racist comments. Things like “No Asians” on hookup profiles, phrases like “dinge queen”, are racist, make no mistake. Many of us consider the fetishizing of minority men completely acceptable. We’ve become a culture run by, and for, wealthy white men, just like the culture at large.
White men aren’t the only guilty parties. Even a man of colour can be racist. A black man who says “no Latinos” in his profile is being just as racist as the white guy who did it.
This isn’t about attraction. It’s the way that you express it that matters. “If you’ve ever said you don’t date Asian, Latino or black guys, either online, in a profile, or with a group of friends, you are practicing sexual racism,” Madison Moore explains. “Period. If your dating profile currently says, ‘white only’ or ‘into white’ you’re a sexual racist.” In my opinion if it says something similar about white guys you’re no better.
Some believe that men of colour are not being racist when they do the same to white men. In other words reverse racism isn’t a thing. I don’t buy that. I agree that white men hold a position of power. That makes our racism much more damaging. However, that doesn’t mean that prejudice of any kind is excusable. Perhaps reverse discrimination is less damaging. But to argue that it isn’t at all is ridiculous.
We should all learn from our experience of oppression. Any prejudice is going hurt more when it is coming from another LGBT person. There is a need for safe spaces in which gay men of colour can relate to one another and share their unique perspectives. The same is true for gay men in general. But our true power comes from sharing our stories with our brothers, and the world at large, so that everyone can learn from them.
A couple of months ago a follower of mine asked me to include images of more men of colour in my advertising. Their exclusion was never deliberate. It isn’t easy to find great images of men of colour on the stock image sites. Images of non-white gay couples is even harder. The experience was eye opening, and disappointing. But I found a few and started using them.
So what can be done? If you’re a gay man of colour speak up and educate. Let us know when we’ve crossed a line, and why it’s hurt you, or pissed you off. If you’re a white guy recognize your position of privilege and ask yourself how you’re using it to make our community better for everyone.