Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 44, Issue 7, pp 1991–2000 | Cite as

Is Sexual Racism Really Racism? Distinguishing Attitudes Toward Sexual Racism and Generic Racism Among Gay and Bisexual Men

  • Denton Callander
  • Christy E. Newman
  • Martin Holt
Original Paper

Abstract

Sexual racism is a specific form of racial prejudice enacted in the context of sex or romance. Online, people use sex and dating profiles to describe racialized attraction through language such as “Not attracted to Asians.” Among gay and bisexual men, sexual racism is a highly contentious issue. Although some characterize discrimination among partners on the basis of race as a form of racism, others present it as a matter of preference. In May 2011, 2177 gay and bisexual men in Australia participated in an online survey that assessed how acceptably they viewed online sexual racism. Although the men sampled displayed diverse attitudes, many were remarkably tolerant of sexual racism. We conducted two multiple linear regression analyses to compare factors related to men’s attitudes toward sexual racism online and their racist attitudes more broadly. Almost every identified factor associated with men’s racist attitudes was also related to their attitudes toward sexual racism. The only differences were between men who identified as Asian or Indian. Sexual racism, therefore, is closely associated with generic racist attitudes, which challenges the idea of racial attraction as solely a matter of personal preference.

Keywords

Sexual racism Gay men Online dating Racialized attraction Racial prejudice Sexual orientation 

References

  1. Allport, G. (1979). The nature of prejudice: 25th anniversary edition. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  2. Altman, D. (2002). Global sex. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  3. Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2013). Australia 2011 census data. Accessed on 15 August 2013 from www.abs.gov.au/census.
  4. Ayala, G., Bingham, T., Kim, J., Wheeler, D. P., & Millett, G. A. (2012). Modeling the impact of social discrimination and financial hardship on the sexual risk of HIV among Latino and Black men who have sex with men. American Journal of Public Health, 102(S2), S242–S249.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Bolding, G., Davis, M., Hart, G., Sherr, L., & Elford, J. (2007). Where young MSM meet their first sexual partner: The role of the Internet. AIDS and Behavior, 11, 522–526.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Bowleg, L. (2012). “Once you’ve blended the cake, you can’t take the parts back to the main ingredients”: Black gay and bisexual men’s descriptions and experiences of intersectionality. Sex Roles, 68, 754–767.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brown, R. (2011). Prejudice: Its social psychology. West Sussex, England: Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
  8. Callander, D., Holt, M., & Newman, C. (2012). Just a preference: Racialised language in the sex-seeking profiles of gay and bisexual men. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 14, 1049–1063.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Callander, D., Holt, M., & Newman, C. (2013). Preference or prejudice: Exploring and challenging race-based attraction among gay and bisexual men in Australia. Poster presented at the conference of the International Association for the Study of Sex, Culture and Society, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/QcgzYy.
  10. Callander, D., Holt, M., & Newman, C. (2015). ‘Not everyone’s gonna like me’: Accounting for race and racism in Australian sex and dating webservices for gay and bisexual men. Ethnicities. doi:10.1177/1468796815581428.
  11. Caluya, G. (2006). The (gay) scene of racism: Face, shame and gay Asian males. Australian Critical Race and Whiteness Studies Association e-Journal, 2, online. http://www.acrawsa.org.au/files/ejournalfiles/80GilbertCaluya.pdf.
  12. Chuang, K. (1999). Using chopsticks to eat steak. Journal of Homosexuality, 36, 29–41.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Dasko, D. (2003). Public attitudes towards multiculturalism and bilingualism in Canada. Paper presented at the Canadian and French Perspectives on Diversity Conference, Ottawa, Canada. Retrieved from http://www.queensu.ca/cora/_files/diversity_dasko.pdf.
  14. Dunn, K. (2004). Racism in Australia: Findings of a survey on racist attitudes and experiences of racism. Paper presented at the Challenges of Immigration and Integration in the EU and Australia conference, Sydney, Australia. Retrieved from https://digitalcollections.anu.edu.au/bitstream/1885/41761/4/dunn_paper.pdf.
  15. Dunn, K., Forrest, J., Burnley, I., & McDonald, A. (2004). Constructing racism in Australia. Australian Journal of Social Issues, 39, 409–430.Google Scholar
  16. Franssens, D., Hospers, H., & Kok, G. (2010). First same-sex partner and the Internet. AIDS and Behavior, 14, 1384–1386. doi:10.1007/s10461-010-9685-0.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Hage, G. (1998). White nation: Fantasies of White supremacy in a multicultural society. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  18. Han, A. (2006a). I think you’re the smartest race I’ve ever met: Racialised economies of queer male desire. Australian Critical Race and Whiteness Studies Association e-Journal, 2, online. http://espace.library.uq.edu.au/view/UQ:229149/AlanHan.pdf.
  19. Han, C. (2006b). Geisha of a different kind: Gay Asian men and the gendering of sexual identity. Sexuality and Culture, 10, 3–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Han, C. (2007). They don’t want to cruise your type: Gay men of color and the racial politics of exclusion. Social Identities, 13, 51–67. doi:10.1080/13504630601163379.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Han, C. (2008a). A qualitative exploration of the relationship between racism and unsafe sex among Asian Pacific Islander gay men. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 37, 827–837. doi:10.1007/s10508-007-9308-7.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Han, C. (2008b). No fats, femmes, or Asians: The utility of critical race theory in examining the role of gay stock stories in the marginalization of gay Asian men. Contemporary Justice Review, 11, 11–22. doi:10.1080/10282580701850355.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hernton, C. (1965). Sex and racism in America. New York: Anchor Books.Google Scholar
  24. Holt, M. (2011). Gay men and ambivalence about ‘gay community’: From gay community attachment to personal communities. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 13, 857–871. doi:10.1080/13691058.2011.581390.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Holt, M., & Griffin, C. (2003). Being gay, being straight and being yourself. European Journal of Cultural Studies, 6, 404–425. doi:10.1177/13675494030063008.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hull, P., Mao, L., Kolstee, J., Duck, T., Prestage, G., Zablotska, I., et al. (2014). Gay community periodic survey: Sydney 2014. Sydney: Centre for Social Research in Health, UNSW Australia.Google Scholar
  27. Jeffries, W. (2009). A comparative analysis of homosexual behaviors, sex role preferences, and anal sex proclivities in Latino and non-Latino men. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 38, 765–778.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Lin, K., & Lundquist, J. (2013). Mate selection in cyberspace: The intersection of race, gender, and education. American Journal of Sociology, 119, 183–215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Malebranche, D., Fields, E. L., Lawrence, B. O., & Harper, S. R. (2007). Masculine socialization and sexual risk behaviors among black men who have sex with men: A qualitative exploration. Men and Masculinities, 12(1), 90–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Mansfield, T., & Quan, A. (2013). Sexual racism sux! Accessed 1 June 2013. http://www.sexualracismsux.com/.
  31. Matheson, J. (2012, December 14). I’m a sexual racist. Sydney Star Observer. Retrieved from http://www.starobserver.com.au/opinion/soapbox-opinion/im-a-sexual-racist/91678.
  32. McBride, D. (2005). Why I hate Abercrombie & Fitch. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Oliver, E., & Mendelberg, T. (2000). Reconsidering the environmental determinants of White racial attitudes. American Journal of Political Science, 44, 574–589.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Paul, J., Ayala, G., & Choi, K. (2010). Internet sex ads for MSM and partner selection criteria: The potency of race/ethnicity online. Journal of Sex Research, 47, 528–538. doi:10.1080/00224490903244575.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Phua, V., & Kaufman, G. (2003). The crossroads of race and sexuality. Journal of Family Issues, 24, 981–994. doi:10.1177/0192513x03256607.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Plummer, M. (2008). Sexual racism in gay communities: Negotiating the ethnosexual marketplace. Doctoral dissertation, University of Washington. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.washington.edu/researchworks/handle/1773/9181
  37. Ponterotto, J., Burkard, A., Rieger, B., Grieger, I., D’Onofrio, A., Dubuisson, A., et al. (1995). Development and initial validation of the Quick Discrimination Index (QDI). Educational and Psychological Measurement, 55, 1016–1031. doi:10.1177/0013164495055006011.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Raj, S. (2011). Grindring bodies: Racial and affective economies of online queer desire. Australian Critical Race and Whiteness Studies Association e-Journal, 7(2), 55–67.Google Scholar
  39. Rapley, M. (1998). Just an ordinary Australian’: Self-categorization and the discursive construction of facticity in ‘new racist’ political rhetoric. British Journal of Social Psychology, 37, 325–344. doi:10.1111/j.2044-8309.1998.tb01175.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Rapley, M. (2001). How to do X without doing Y’: Accomplishing discrimination without ‘being racist’-‘doing equality’. In M. Augoustinos & K. Reynolds (Eds.), Understanding prejudice, racism, and social conflict (pp. 213–250). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  41. Ridge, D., Hee, A., & Minichiello, V. (1999). Asian’ men on the scene: Challenges to ‘gay communities. Journal of Homosexuality, 36, 43–68.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Riggs, D. (2012). Anti-Asian sentiment amongst a sample of White Australian men on gaydar. Sex Roles, 36, 768–778. doi:10.1007/s11199-012-0119-5.Google Scholar
  43. Smith, J. (2012). Sexual racism in a gay community on the US-Mexico border: Revisiting the Latin Americanization thesis online. Master’s thesis, University of Texas. Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.utep.edu/dissertations/AAI1513118/.
  44. StataCorp. (2011). Stata statistical software: Release 12. College Station, TX: StataCorp LP.Google Scholar
  45. Stember, C. (1978). Sexual racism: The emotional barrier to an integrated society. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  46. Suler, J. (2004). The online disinhibition effect. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 7, 321–326. doi:10.1089/1094931041291295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Teunis, N. (2007). Sexual objectification and the construction of whiteness in the gay male community. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 9, 263–275. doi:10.1080/13691050601035597.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Thalhammer, E., Zucha, V., Enzenhofer, E., Salfinger, B., & Ogris, G. (2001). Attitudes towards minority groups in the European Union. Vienna, Austria: European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia. Retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_138_analysis.pdf.
  49. Watts, J. (2012, February 29). Gay men and women are not more racist. The Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.
  50. Wei, C., & Raymond, H. F. (2010). Preferences for and maintenance of anal sex roles among men who have sex with men: Sociodemographic and behavioral correlates. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 40, 829–834.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Denton Callander
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Christy E. Newman
    • 2
  • Martin Holt
    • 2
  1. 1.The Kirby Institute of Infection and Immunity in SocietyUNSW AustraliaSydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Centre for Social Research in HealthUNSW AustraliaSydneyAustralia
  3. 3.The Kirby Institute, Faculty of MedicineUNSW AustraliaSydneyAustralia

Personalised recommendations