My Gay Male Relationships class blew up again this past Monday night. I, once again, was the incendiary. We were discussing cross-cultural relationships. Our teacher was explaining the difference between attraction and fetishization. He began by saying,"When you will only date men from a race or culture different from your own that is fetishization because it is based on stereotypes and it is wrong." I raised my hand and suggested it also worked the other way. If you exclude men from your dating pool based on race or ethnicity, that was wrong as well. He responded by saying, "No, that is attraction, and okay. I disagreed and suggested that it was based on racism, at which point the entire class erupted. No one was willing to own their racism, they all denied it and said it was ridiculous to suggest that having a preference was racist. I explained that I believed we were all racist, that we could not live in our society and not be racist, that I was racist, saw my racism everyday and fought everyday to overcome it. I also suggested that I would not want to limit who I might be attracted to by excluding any type of person. It seems that racism is the big elephant in the room which no one is willing to acknowledge. One man went as far as to suggest that yes perhaps it was racism but we should call it something else!
I am really disturbed by this. I am disturbed that what we would never condone anywhere else is so freely acceptable when it comes to sex and relationships. I am disturbed that it seem to be an issue which we are not even willing to examine. I am disturbed that this behavior is being taught and reenforced in my community college.