Policing Privilege

Is This The Brutal Truth White Gay Men Refuse To Hear?

Two Latin men cuddling in bed, candid

“Keep it white or Latin.” “Not into Black or Asian.” “Less than white? Not interested.”

These are snippets culled from real Grindr profiles, and included in an article published by Mic.

Related: Scruff Founders Defend App’s Ethnicity Filters — “Personal Preference” Or Casual Racism?

Entitled “Here’s One Brutal Truth Every White Gay Man Needs to Hear,” the first-person piece —  worth a read in its entirety — finds journalist Matthew Rodriquez discussing his experiences as a Latino gay man, sharing examples of the discrimination he regularly faces on dating apps.

“Gay white men were born gay, but they were also raised and socialized as white men — the social group vested with the most privilege in America,” he begins. “But here’s the brutal truth — the social privilege of whiteness still affords them a disproportionate amount of power in the gay community.”

He continues: “That privilege elevates white, gay men above men of color. They cover both gay and mainstream magazines. They lead primetime shows about gay men. White, gay men set the standard against which other gay men’s attractiveness is measured.”

Rodriquez says that the only way to “eradicate racism within the gay community” is for white gay men to “acknowledge their privilege — and the way it’s used, in ways subtle and not, to denigrate minorities.”

He goes on to discuss his own firsthand experiences of how his skin color impacts the way he interacts with the gay community at large:

“Like other black and brown gay men, I feel the effects of racism in everyday interactions with white gay men. But perhaps the most casual and most common place minority gays experience racism is in interactions on apps like Grindr, which to some degree have replaced gay bars as a nexus for dating and hookups.”



If you think Scruff or Grindr are hardly worth getting upset about, Rodriquez begs to differ.

“It is serious,” he writes. “Grindr is the new watering hole. How you comport yourself on there matters.”

Related: This Is Nelson. He Has Something To Say About Racism In The Gay Community. You Should Listen.

That’s why he feels it’s imperative that gay white men stop framing “desires according to racial categories — no this, no that.” It’s a point that seems readily obvious, but perhaps it’s one that bares repeating (over and over and over.) After all, we still see plenty of profiles with “No Asians, please.”)

If you want to help simplify your search for sexual partners, Rodriquez encourages readers to “frame your desires around specific acts and qualities you like. It could actually get you laid faster. Wanna play a sub bottom? Just say so. Wanna take it from a hung top? Say it loud and say it proud.”

Hmm. We tend to see a lot of that, too.

So what do you think? Is “the social privilege of whiteness” still leading to an uneven level of power in the gay community? Sound off in the comments below.  

Don't forget to share: