by Ian Howley, Editor FS magazine @ianhowley

The following was extracted from 'Dear white gay men...'

Normally in an FS feature article we share some tips and advice we hope you can use in your everyday life in order to make better choices. This can be anything from how to have safer sex, to looking after your mental health to improving your relationship. And we do this because we know it matters to you. 

But, how do we get you to care about the health, well-being and overall happiness of Black, Asian, Arab or Latino gay men when you probably think racism and casual racism doesn’t affect you?

Let us paint a picture for you.

You are out with your friends and a group of Asian gay men come into the bar. Your friend whispers a racist joke or makes a remark saying “all Asians have small cocks”. What do you do? Do you laugh? Do you agree? Do you make a joke too? Or do you pull up your friend and tell him how ignorant his ‘joke’ is?

Chances are you will giggle, think to yourself ‘that’s not nice’ and forget about it quickly as it really doesn’t affect your life. But it does... 

What you have just done is allowed someone to make a remark that’s racist. It may only be casual racism in his eyes and that person may not have meant any harm, but it does have an impact. Why? 

You are out one night and an Asian guy comes up to you. You think he’s hot and would like see more of him. Suddenly you think about your friends and what they will say about your choice of men. Now that ‘casual racism’ has come back to bite you on your butt.

Thinking that racism on the gay scene only affects minorities is silly. We are all affected by it because it makes us wary of the men we sleep with or who we date. It also segregates us into groups where we are likely to have friends mainly our own race. 

There is a belief that only direct racism, such as men who publicly state ‘No Blacks, No Asians’ on their Grindr profiles are the ones causing damage as it’s the racism minorities are seeing. But racism and casual racism amongst our group of friends has an impact as big as anyone who publicly states their racism. It creates an idea in our heads that minorities are somehow different and forces only to interact with gay men our friends find ‘acceptable’. 

Tackling racism is your job just as much as it’s our job. We can shout  on every page that ‘racism is wrong’ and you will probably agree, but unless you start to pull people up when they make jokes or racist remarks then nothing will ever change and we will never move forward as a community. 

So I’m asking you to do the following:

The next time you see someone make a racist remark online, the next time one of your friends makes a joke about a minority, or the next time you spot some casual racism in your circle of friends...

Have the balls to stand up to them and make them aware it’s not acceptable. 

If we all challenge the casual racism in our lives then together we can put an end to racism on the gay scene. 

Ian Howley @IanHowley
Editor FS magazine

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