Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Are you into black guys?

I’ve posted profiles on a small number of dating sites—though I have completely given up on getting anything worthwhile out of them. The dates they’ve generated have all been pleasant … but devoid of much chemistry, which just reaffirms my belief that on-paper compatibility counts for very little while personal sparks generate the legitimate heat in any kind of relationship.

(On a side note, I’m completely, utterly, sitting-slack-jawed-in-a-puddle-of-my-own-drool appalled by the number of people who lie like a rug in their profiles and then hope you don’t notice when you finally meet. As far as I’m concerned, dating sites (at least the ones with shirtless pictures) are now strictly for entertainment purposes. Warning! Too much information ahead! And by “entertainment” I mean the marriage between one man and one Kleenex. Or maybe two Kleenexes if it’s been a couple of days.)

Anyway, my profiles are pretty open about my absolute deal breakers (addictions to drugs, alcohol and religion), the things that are important to me (a dominant sense of humor, a passion for life and an innate sense of decency) and the things I absolutely don’t care about (the hair on your head, the labels on your clothes and the color of your skin).

And yet, almost without fail, nonwhite guys feel compelled to start any Internet dialogue with me by asking if I am inclined to dismiss them for being black. Or Asian. Or [insert nonwhite ethnic flavor here].

Which breaks my heart. We, at the dawn of the enlightened, global, gloriously polycultural 21st century, are obviously still living in a white man’s world, where black and brown and red people feel they have to pre-screen for racism before they can begin any meaningful dialogue with white people.

And yet I’m not surprised. I still hesitate to let clues about my homosexuality slip into conversations until I’m sure the people I’m talking to aren’t going to condemn me to hell for it. People have stupid prejudices that often trump politeness and decency when they’re dealing with strangers. And in a culture that celebrates the irrational histrionics of angerphiles and extremists like Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and even Michael Moore, I guess we can’t be shocked.

But we don’t have to like it. And we can’t sit idly by while others perpetuate this culture of sister-fucking ignorance. I usually reply to questions like "are you into black guys?" by expressing my sorrow over the fact these guys feel they have to start our conversation on the topic of race. They usually respond with silence. (I have no idea what that is about, but it’s not cool. A guy who abruptly, wordlessly ends a dialogue HE started is just an asshole in my book, no matter what color he is.)

But yes, I'm into black guys. And brown guys. And tan guys. And white guys. In no particular order. But that stuff isn’t important to me. So—unless you want to tell me about a cool ethnic festival you just attended—can we talk about something else … at least at first?


Steve said...

"Anyway, my profiles are pretty open about my absolute deal breakers (addictions to drugs, alcohol and religion)"

Jake, could you clarify? Are alcohol & religion deal breakers? Or an addictioon to them?

Steve said...

"I still hesitate to let clues about my homosexuality slip into conversations until I’m sure the people I’m talking to aren’t going to condemn me to hell for it"

Admittedly, I love a good argument more than most people & yes, I carry my soapbox everywhere ... but these are the kind of people that I feel you MUST slip not just clues, but clear references to your homosexuality to ... they've convinced themselves that we all have tails & cloven hooves & want to broil their infant children ... the more we demonstrate that we're human beings, the quicker prejudice will end ...

Jake said...

Addictions to them. It's why I used the plural.

Why on earth would you focus on THAT part of my post?

Steve said...

"Why on earth would you focus on THAT part of my post?"

'Cause I'm a snarky nit-picker ... ;)

Erick said...

I still am a little hesitant with letting any "gay" slip into the start of a converstion. Especially at things like weddings or get togethers of friends of friends. I guess I'm still realing over gym class.
PS---I made those cookies today---I have the flu---they were the BEST!

Will said...

"We, at the dawn of the enlightened, global, gloriously polycultural 21st century"

The trouble as I see it, Jake, is that at the beginning of the 21st century we may not be at the dawn oa an enlightened, global, polycultural anything. I'm deeply concerned that we're backsliding faster and faster.

To give one example: as of today, teachers in Pennsylvania are required in science classes to inform students that Darwin's Theory of Evolution via Natural Selection is only speculation but that there is also the belief that a Supreme Intelligence created all of life in seven days. They passed this law in liberal, northeastern, blue state Pennsylvania! The majority of science teachers have apparently refused to tell the students this so others will have to do it in order to be in compliance with the law.

IOt's going to be a bumpy four years.

vanguard said...

Oh my God! You're white aren't you?

Homer said...

It really bothers me when I meet racist gay guys. What's up with that? The color of your skin really doesn't matter- I'm guessing we all look the same with the lights out.

Jase said...

In the age of modern society, some people won't put down a preference to put on a façade of tolerance, or they've convinced themselves that they're 'open' to everyone. I'm not saying this is you, but I've met people who say looks don't matter; and we already know this is a lie. :P

About those black guys who remain silent to your asking the same question back - the simplest answer is: they're not into black guys. The silence is again the product of the façade of tolerance. He can't say 'no' because it would stigmatize him as a 'self-hater'.

Back to the main topic. Although I am not a racist, I do have preferences in who I'd date or consider a serious relationship with; in both personality and physical features.

The good thing about having preferences is that they can change too.

Andy said...

Actually I've sort of experienced this from the opposite direction - I've dated a few black men in the past, and without exception, they have mentioned to me that their friends gave them a hard time about them dating a white guy. I think we educated progressive white yuppies very earnestly try to be colorblind (a hot man is a hot man, regardless of his color), but I think we are also somewhat blinded to the actual racism that still does exist in other communities on either side of the color line. We want to take being color-blind for granted, but I think the opposite is still very much a rarity for non-yups. You might think a guy of color is rude for not continuing a converstation after you answered his simple question with a utopian diatribe - he just may be dumbfounded or embarassed by your cluelessness. OTOH, I've found that most guys doing the internet meat market thing are really only interested in the one thing and you may be scaring them off by giving them the impression that you actually plan on talking afterwards....

Dennis! said...

I can actually understand why someone would need to ask the questions you're railing against, because, as an Asian man, I've been on the receiving end of race-based idiocy myself.

Even though my profile identifies me as Asian, I've had cyberconversations actually begin with "are you white?" (such conversations end when I tell them "no" or refer them to my profile which they clearly haven't read), or guys who will chat me up for minutes before I tell them I'm Asian, which results in a flip "oops, sorry not into Asians," ending the conversation.

Guys like the ones I describe above are the reason some non-white guys may feel the need to make sure the white guy they're talking to isn't barking up the wrong tree.

Derek said...

Funny . . . At Roscoe's there's never been a time when at least one black guy doesn't hit on me and they never ask if I'm into black men. Online it's the same thing. Hmmm maybe they figure because of my young age I wouldn't be blinded by color? *shrugs*

It doesn't bother me mind you, I'm flattered even though I'm mainly attracted to Caucasians. (though there are exceptions to every rule) I’ll be anyone’s friend if they’re a good person however.