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“Please don’t think this is racist but…”That was the disclaimer that an Asian man sent to Rokashi Edwards, 25, a black programmer living in Toronto, before telling him that he would never consider having sex with a black man.

Shocked, Edwards tried to push back on the man’s claim that he wasn’t being racist but he ran up against the same obstacle that many gay men of color face in the world of online dating.“It’s just a preference,” he was told. If you’re a gay man, phrases like “no blacks” and “no Asians” aren’t just words that you’d find on old signs in a civil rights museum, they are an unavoidable and current feature of your online dating experience.

Eric confronts these men by asking them to explain in detail why they think he passes, a question that would require them to talk about his physical features in uncomfortable detail.“I usually end up with a version of ‘I don’t know, you look kind of white,’ or ‘You seem white,’” he said.

Eric’s experience with online dating highlights another troubling possibility raised by the study’s authors, namely, that gay dating services may actually be encouraging men to sort potential partners by race—at least, more brazenly than they would in person. ”For Steve, 28, a white gay man living in Philadelphia, one solution is understanding that the word “racist” applies to more than just, as he put it, the activities of the Ku Klux Klan.“The road to hell is paved with good intentions and ‘I’m not trying to be racist’ does not mean ‘I am not racist,’” Steve told The Daily Beast.

is closely associated with generic racist attitudes, which challenges the idea of racial attraction as solely a matter of personal preference.”As part of their research, Callander and his colleagues created a new eight-question survey to determine men’s attitudes toward racial preferences on online dating apps like Grindr.

Respondents were asked whether or not they agreed with statements like “People who indicate a racial preference in their profile are not trying to offend anyone,” and “As long as people are polite about it, I see no problem in indicating a racial preference on my profile.” Remaining “neutral” was also an option.

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There has been a substantial amount of commentary about sexual racism among men who have sex with men but, until now, no one has tried to quantify it.

“For me, the findings of this study are a reminder that even though society and individuals may actively reject racism, racial prejudices are increasingly subtle and they can find their way into even the most private and personal corners of our lives.”The study also found that certain independent factors were associated with higher QDI scores and a more critical stance on sexual racism: a college education, past experience with racial exclusion, identifying as gay, and living in a more sexually diverse neighborhood.

Other factors like being white and using online dating services more frequently were linked to lower QDI scores and a more favorable attitude toward sexual racism.

On gay dating apps like Grindr and Scruff, some men post blunt and often offensive disclaimers on their profiles such as “no oldies,” “no fems,” and “no fatties.” Among the most ubiquitous are racial disclaimers like “no blacks” and “no Asians,” which are most frequently posted by white men but, as Edwards’s case proves, not always.

Sometimes, men even use foods as metaphors for entire ethnic groups: “No rice” to deter Asian men, “no spice” to keep the Latinos away, and “no curry” to tell Indians they don’t have a shot. ” Others have argued that it is impossible to separate the language of so-called sexual racism from racism in other spheres of life.

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