C*ck Blockers for equality
The ultimate way to deal with racists on dating apps.
So here we are on the tail end of a global pandemic and diving head-first into a race war (joking, but also kind of not really?).
Which isn't to say racial tensions on this planet weren't fraught before now; only that the unconscious biases of society seem to be accelerating towards a confrontation with complicit institutions in a way the late Charles Manson would be thrilled to see (Helter Skelter anyone?).
Charles Manson aside, it's important in this moment (and any, for that matter) to put our own biases under a lens and determine where we could possibly be contributing to the perpetuation of casually toxic attitudes around racial difference. This is often uncomfortable because it means admitting to violence in ourselves, scrutinising behaviours and ways of thinking that we might not even be aware of as violent; cue the refrain 'I'm not a racist, I have plenty of (non-white) friends'. SMH.
By: Samuel Te Kani
In our community especially, racist attitudes can often go unchecked - maybe from an engrained exceptionalism we have as gays, as if having a minority status that somehow exempts us from the bigotry we ourselves have faced (and continue to face in varying degrees).
This in itself is problematic because race and gender/sexual identity discrimination are not one in the same, and do not experience the same kind of systemic marginalisation, and most certainly do not invite the same resistances on the street from both the police and certain sectors of the public, and subsequently their 'main-streaming' should not be lumped into the same nuanced formation of 'progress' (whatever that means).
As an example, the sexual liberation of the sixties freely appropriated the language and flows of the Civil Rights movement, an inherently problematic co-opting, which the gay community is yet to address or rectify. - And before you ask the answer is no, I do not have a recommended course of action for that specifically.
I would, however, like to address the more insidious (for being so 'casual') forms of racism which have permeated the language we use around sex. Which, of course, also ties into a grossly neoliberal habit of reducing human beings to body-normative consumer items, like hooking up via Grindr is equivalent to ordering takeaways on Uber Eats; and I'm of course talking about stating racial preferences on dating apps (I don't actually mean 'dating', you know what I mean).
I mean, how did this even normalise as being okay? Is there a clear trajectory between our last global encounter with fascism (meaning WW2, though of course there've been unofficial accounts since; like I don't know, America's whole foreign policy?) and this weird laxity, where we can tolerate casual forms of racism so long as they don't spill over into an overt hate crime? So, we're fine with having the social conditions of hate-crimes, defending low-boil disdain of racial minorities as freedom of speech just so long as no one actually acts on those harboured, infectious animosities which society has been infuriatingly lassiez-fare on. If this is the go, are we even surprised about what's happening around the world and predominately in America?
I hate to give the impression that America's treatment of race relations is somehow worse than ours, because that's certainly not my point. If anything that idea will only serve to maintain the 'casually racist' status quo we have here, like their problems are reason to celebrate our comparative utopia - a common trope in the "us-versus-them" comparisons Kiwis like to draw so often. But, alas, no, we are just as bad, the symptoms of which include deeming things like: 'no Asians no Indians' on a Grindr bio an entirely acceptable to most of the community.
Also, if you think having something like 'smooth Asian twinks to the front' is somehow redeeming then you're mistaken. Fetishising racial minorities is the whole problem, that their presence in society is to satisfy the 'exotic' leanings of a white gaze and not qualify as citizens in and of themselves.
There's obviously been much discussion around Afro-culture being consumed in such a way, existing in popular zeitgeists as performers, as generators of 'cool' which dually scythes histories of oppression while making a token gesture towards inclusion stripped, however, of history and context.
Visibility is NOT the same thing as reparative or transformative justice. It does not even vaguely approach a plural society which accounts for the needs of every individual and behaves accordingly, with radical equality, with attentive equity.
What should you do the next time you're scrolling Grindr at four o'clock in the morning? Drunkenly smearing your phone with tahini from your kebab and you encounter someone's casually violent racist 'preferences' in their bio..
Block until the casual racists in our community, all equally horny, are left wondering where all the trade went? Join me in becoming cock-blockers for equality.
"Why won't anyone have sex with me?", they'll wonder with building frustration. And maybe, just maybe, that thwarted horniness will lead them down a path of enlightenment.
At which point we will gladly welcome them back into the fold of meaningless and frequently dissatisfying sex we call home.