Online Dating: Gay White Men and Jim Crow Era Ideology


My intention isn’t to pull focus away from and erase the awfulness and inhumane laws and policies that once kept black people from attaining any rights whatsoever, and the on going insidiousness of systemic and institutional racism and discrimination that still exists today.

My idea is to call to the spotlight how certain online gay dating behaviors often mimic the “No Colored People” ideology that existed during the Jim Crow Era. Online dating profiles for gay men are a way for us seek dating and relationships in safe ways. However, upon utilizing those sites myself, I have often come across phrases like, “No blacks” “Not Into Black People” in men’s dating profiles.

Let me briefly share what Jim Crow Era was.

Jim Crow law, in U.S. history, any of the laws that enforced racial segregation in the South between the end of Reconstruction in 1877 and the beginning of the civil rights movement in the 1950s.

Let that sink in. That was almost 75 years of laws and policies that forced segregation and denied most rights to black people. It may have been strongly enforced in the south, but in reality, the whole country was unsafe for black people. For the most part, it still remains unsafe.

Does this mean that the owners of such sites enforce online segregation mentality? Not necessarily. It’s about how we as gay men utilize the anonymity of internet to exhibit racism and discrimination and then disguise it as “preference.’

Let’s call a thing a thing. A “preference” of partner , and describing details of your preference, can also hold racist attitudes, and is very telling of the person who is hanging the symbolic “No Black Men” sign on their profiles.

We need to do better than this.

We need to stand up and work to dismantle these ideologies that cause violence and harm to those who we tried to separate and other.

Can’t we, as marginalized people too, who struggle in the darkness of heterosexism, understand how much this hurts people of color? Can we learn from our own oppression?

Well, whiteness does not exclude.

Even for gay people, racism and discrimination can often take center stage.

It’s time to stop.

It’s time to either learn about racism, the history of anti-blackness in the US or keep your “preferences” to yourself.

Here’s hoping we can begin to be better humans.

Greg HalpenComment