Racism, Ableism and Dating Apps

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tomatopotato
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Racism, Ableism and Dating Apps

Unread postby tomatopotato » Tue Dec 17, 2019 3:21 pm

Dear fellow message boar members,

recently i've tried online Dating again, mainly to meet a couple of interesting people to hang out with.
I wondered how i can overcome my slightly racist and ableist thoughts while Dating? Isn't it racist if I am hesistant to meet somebody if they can't speak a language fluently I am familiar with? Probably the only thing to overcome that is to push through my discriminatory thoughts. Do you have any kind of tips how i differ between "i do not want to meet this person due to their presented character" or "i do not want to meet them because i have some sort of imposed discriminatory rule in my head"?

Mo
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Re: Racism, Ableism and Dating Apps

Unread postby Mo » Tue Dec 17, 2019 5:46 pm

I think this is a great question! I don't think there's always an easy answer, but it can help to take a second, when you have a negative response to someone, to try and identify what thought or reaction you had that caused that response. In terms of how, specifically, to tease out where your feelings are coming from, I think that's a bit harder, but in your example, you could ask "what in their profile makes me think this about their character? When I think of the as having [X attribute], am I getting that from how they've presented themselves here or from some external idea I'm imposing on them?"
Sometimes people won't spark interest, and that's all right; I don't think the answer is to make yourself feel or express interest in folks who, for whatever reason, aren't appealing to you. And I don't think you need to agonize over every swipe or message you send or don't send! But I think you're doing the right thing by giving your impulses and reactions a little thought, and I bet that over time you'll have a better sense of where they're coming from.

tomatopotato
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Re: Racism, Ableism and Dating Apps

Unread postby tomatopotato » Wed Dec 18, 2019 3:11 pm

Thank you for your kind response! I've thought about it and I guess dating apps make me feel slightly bad about myself in general - it's so contradictory, i wanna be open to all Kinds of People but in the end I'm somehow always ending up liking white guys the most. I think it's more about their socioeconomic status, and honestly, I don't want to pity myself, but I'm feeling pretty bad for my privileges. I don't really know how to use them that people can benefit from it.
Additionally i feel like ordering Pizza when using these kinds of tools. There is no adventure in it and i feel like I'm betraying myself, since i strive to be brave and leave my comfort Zone. I'd rather meet hot people in the streets (even if it will be really hard to approach them) then choose somebody based on a picture and a witty biography. I'd really like to have sex with people right now and if somebody wants to use dating apps for that, i'll support that. I just don't want some app to dictate and observe my preferences - i'll just have to be brave and get to know people in real life, and get rid of the idea that i'm "too weird for sexy Folks". However, that could also be some internalized slutphobia since I don't seek the love of my life, or that I am ashamed of dating apps - could be also a part of my mixed feelings towards Dating apps, but I am not sure. I have already made experiences using dating apps, a couple of boring dates and actually somebody i clicked with, too but I seem to turn towards them when I am really lonely and I am simply fed up with it somehow. I'm ready to take the "harder path", even if that means sweating so much out of nervousness that I'd could fill a bathtub trying to get to know sexy folks.

To all the other peple reading that: Would you like to share your experiences with Dating Apps? Have you had really bad dates and surprisingly fantastic ones? How you think about online dating in general?

Gone.Sorry.
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Re: Racism, Ableism and Dating Apps

Unread postby Gone.Sorry. » Wed Dec 18, 2019 9:52 pm

As a generally disinterested aroace, I don't have any dating app stories I can share with you. However, the part in your post about socioeconomical status and privilege really stands out to me, and I do want to discuss it a bit.

This kind of fear you have towards your privilege reminds me of many other folk I know who have a good amount of 101 and even 102 knowledge about privilege and bigotry, but don't really have any more in depth knowledge about systems of oppression. Especially when you're just learning about these systems, it can be so easy to get overwhelmed with all the badness and the complexity of intersectionality and feel too intimidating to keep learning more. It's a lot to take in! It really is. However, continuing to educate yourself on these systems - including what various groups want from allies - can actually make it all easier to take in and navigate.

Would you say this could be true for you? That you're still on a relatively new journey to learning about privilege and haven't been exposed to much of these issues in real life? It might be helpful for you in navigating these feelings to do some more reading and listening and learning.

Some approachable steps you could take might be something as simple as changing where you get your news from so you're getting perspectives from people who are going through said issues. This could also mean challenging yourself and putting yourself out there for new experiences. Maybe this could be things like attending some PFLAG meetings to better yourself as an ally(?) or volunteering for things like meals on wheels or a food bank or voter canvassing. Maybe it even means doing something like taking a language class to learn another language to expand your own understanding of such experiences and how you can communicate and get to know people even with a language barrier. This could also mean just being more aware of the media you consume. Who is creating/starring in the music you listen to, the book you read, the shows you watch? Do you need to expand your entertainment library to include more diversity?

Last thing I want to end on is a reminder that dismantling oppression, confronting bigotry, and being aware of your privilege doesn't mean you need to personally save everyone or that you alone can/should change the world. Using your privilege well means being aware of the privileges you have so you can better recognize bigotry when it happens. Using your privilege well means being aware of the language you use and doing things like cutting slurs and discriminatory terms out of your vocabulary. Using your privilege well means not simply glossing over when people around you make harmful "jokes" or comments but to confront these statements whenever/however you can. Using your privilege well means listening and hearing what people who do face a bigotry and/or experience you don't face/know and respecting what they're saying and possibly what they're asking you to do. Using your privilege well means doing what you can, when you can. Using your privilege well means being aware and challenging the systems around you in whatever ways you have access to and are able to do so.

Using your privilege well does not mean that you never get to live your life or need to always hold yourself back from opportunities. Using your privilege well does not mean hating yourself or simply putting yourself down all the time or pitying yourself for caring but not knowing what to do, as these behaviors are not helpful and don't fix anything. And using your privilege well does not mean that you have to raise anyone you date or befriend out of poverty, or whatever it is that your base concern about dating people of a certain socieoeconomical status is.

It sounds like you do have some more introspecting to do on the assumptions you have about certain people and where they're coming from. It's helpful for this to practice mindfulness. Catch yourself when you make assumptions, think about if it's coming from somewhere that could be harmful, and then re-direct the thought into something more informed. As Mo said, that doesn't mean you have to or should force yourself to at least chat with anyone you have a somewhat problematic reaction towards. It's just about catching yourself thinking something that isn't the best and taking a moment to correct yourself to something more accepting. This is one way we can help teach ourselves to know better and to react in a better, more open, more informed way in the future. Internalized prejudice can also be confronted in this way.

There's a quote from user nikolaecuza on tumblr that goes: "The first thought that goes through your mind is what you have been conditioned to think. What you think next defines who you are." This has been helpful to me in my own journey of expanding my knowledge and acceptance when ignorant, uninformed, imperfect, and/or bigoted thoughts have crossed my mind and filled me with shame. The second thought I have correcting myself helps remind me how much I've grown and changed and reminds me that possibly that second thought could be my first thought one day. Perhaps this quote will help you as well.

Being aware and being able to catch ourselves when we have thoughts/reactions that aren't wonderful is a huge step. If you've made it this far, you're well equipped to keep it going and continue working past these sorts of thoughts and reactions!

tomatopotato
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Location: Saturn

Re: Racism, Ableism and Dating Apps

Unread postby tomatopotato » Thu Dec 19, 2019 10:31 am

while I am not an a new journey to learn about these things, I just have been paying extra attention in real life to my privileges. I want to thank you for pointing out that I am not responsible for saving the world alone and that "saving somebody" from x situation just by being somebody with privileges won't work anyway but also has some kind of "saviour complex" feel to it. Your response simply reminded me to stand up against voiced discrimination in everyday life and to listen to shared experienced of people facing oppressive structures in society - and to hold myself back, since I'm not facing those struggles and being an ally to whoever is not about me. I guess i just needed to be reminded of that, and the quote you adressed is extra helpful for that.
And what I said about socioeconomic imbalance, I honestly don't know what I wanted to address there. How much money somebody earns does not really matter to me, but I thought that if you're relativly stable financially, that will affect your social life, the things that interest you and the places you visit, so there might be some social divison based on upbrining and income - but anyway, I feel like it's enough if I'm just going whereever I want to go to meet people having the same interest and just be open to whoever I might like.
Furthermore you have made a point by challenging myself, I'm definetly going to voluteer in some kind of way to extend the bubble of lived experiences I've encountered so far. There is always something new to learn!

Siân
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Re: Racism, Ableism and Dating Apps

Unread postby Siân » Fri Dec 20, 2019 7:03 am

Hey tomatopotato,

I'm glad that horriblegoose's thoughtful response on privilege helped you! I think they made great points about using your privilege well -what that is and what that isn't. It links in with Mo's point earlier that you never owe someone interest or dates or sex for any reason. Love that you're planning on challenging yourself! Any ideas for what that might look like?

You asked for experiences of dating apps. I have met or spoken to a lot of people on apps over the last 6 years or so, had a lot of dates that were fairly meh, and met a few really great people who I had rewarding romantic/sexual connections with for varying lengths of time. Dating can be a lot of fun! It can also be demoralising, or feel like a lot of work. A few basic things that help me are:

- Only dating when it seems like fun - not when I'm sad or lonely
- Allowing myself to be picky and say no thank you when I'm not super interested
- Really low-stakes interactions and first meetings. For me that means keeping the initial chat brief, and planning a short coffee or drink to see if we get on in real life.
- Being honest when I am really into someone and proactively making plans to hang out more

My basic rule with everything around sex, love, dating and relationships is "if it's not fun, why are you doing it?". So maybe the apps aren't your thing and you get more enjoyment out of meeting folks in the real world. Okay! Do that instead! Do any of those ideas help you?


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