Dear White Gays: “No Blacks” is Not a Preference; It’s a Prejudice

Happy Pride Month to everyone except people who have “no blacks; just a preference” in their Grindr profiles.

Philadelphia recently unveiled a new Pride flag with brown and black stripes to pay tribute to gays of color who are so often marginalized in the LGBT community. I don’t like the stripes for aesthetic reasons but I do like the sentiment behind them. Thank Gay God for the conversation it’s started. If it takes an ugly visual aid to make the White Gay™ check himself, by all means, fuck up the rainbow and call it a Tuesday.

You’d think a community so demanding of inclusion would be . . . I don’t know, inclusive? Surprise, no surprise: an overwhelming majority of white gay men, as they lament their one and only stigma, couldn’t give three shits about all us intersectional crybabies. Don’t believe me? Try browsing the Grindr grid for five minutes without stumbling upon the line “no blacks; just a preference” in some variation or other.

The hegemonic scarring of the white beauty standard on people of color results in many PoC expressing a primary interest in whites too (which is more sad than anything). And because Grindr enables men to be their natural trashy selves, it’s also acceptable to list criteria like “no fats” and “no fems” to deter any man who lacks washboard abs or whose vocal register is an octave higher than what’s considered traditionally “masculine.” If you’re not masculine, you’re not even a man — AMIRITE BRO?!

Look, fat shaming and femmephobia are to be expected in a community that sets a Tom of Finland-esque steroid junkie as its beauty standard. And the race thing is an obvious result of America’s long-lasting “preference” for Caucasoid features, or at the very least, an exotic, biracial artifice (see: the millions of black people on the apps who list themselves as “multiracial” rather than “black” to get a leg up). So, yes, gay people are discriminating, and sometimes gay people of color are discriminating toward their own people.

What irks me most about the infamous phrase is the “just a preference” bit — the offender’s paltry attempt to absolve himself of responsibility for a statement as inherently racist as “no blacks.”

Let’s assume that behind “just a preference” is the following sentiment: “It’s not racist not to be sexually attracted to black people. I just like what I like. It’s my sexual preference.”

Alright. Now we’re getting more articulate!

It’s possible, of course, to prefer lighter skin, thinner lips, and a narrower nose. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with preferring certain facial features over others. But last time I checked, a preference is a greater liking for one alternative over another. Preferring something would require you to first like, or at least consider the thing you don’t prefer. If you’ve crossed out one option before considering it, you haven’t come to a preference. You’ve started with a prejudice — one based on the tiny fraction of black faces you’ve seen in your lifetime. So, sorry, “just a preference” is a direct negation of “no blacks.” Your coding failed, you blatantly misused the word “preference” and you look stupid now.

But wait! More filth lies deeper in the cave of dumbassedness. Join me on the magic bus of common sense and we’ll see what we can find.

The phrase “no blacks” ignores genetic diversity. “Black” is an identity — not a look. If you haven’t seen a black person with light skin, a narrow nose, thin lips, straight hair, or whatever other ridiculous “white” criteria make someone beautiful in your image, you haven’t been looking.

And there’s the rub! You haven’t been looking. In public, you hold your neck stiff enough to look beyond black skin before looking at black people. It takes but a peripheral glance to notice skin a few shades too dark for your liking. The face of the human you’re passing is a prematurely rejected addendum, because, well . . . it’s on a body too brown, and you’re just not into that.

When you’re caught in a face-to-face encounter with an attractive black person, you’re likely to be shaken to your fragile core. You handle it by saying something like,

“You’re not just black! You’re too cute to be just black!”

“You’re mixed. You have to be.”

“I don’t like blacks, but you’re sexy.”

Skrt skrt. On to the next one.

Dear white gays: own up or shut up. My skin is brown, my eyes are brown, my hair is dark and curly, and my lips are chock full of sexy fullness. I look black. I am black. And you still think I’m pretty.

Your prejudice against black people is not about sexual attraction. It’s a socially conditioned response to what you’ve been taught “blackness” is — “dirty”, “unintelligent” or whatever other falsehoods your granddaddy’s daddy fought hard for Robert E. Lee to pass down. You don’t like black people sexually because you don’t like “black” as an identity.

So, you’re racist. Hard pill to swallow, I know, but good news! Being racist is a freedom white people can afford in this, our current political climate, where the law backs the murder of our people and our very own president is one of your kind!

However, if you’re going to say “no blacks”, at least admit that your statement is racist. If that is your position, take it, and you can catch these black hands on your way out. But for the love of everything sacred and gay, don’t publicly present yourself as a hateful person whilst pretending you’re doing nothing wrong.

frequent writer, occasional talker.