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  #11  
Old 11-01-2012, 05:10 PM
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Philly is a very segregated city, Helo. So, yes, maybe it is about location. I can only go on what I have seen and heard in my own experiences and do my best to extrapolate a theory from that admittedly limited data.
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  #12  
Old 11-01-2012, 05:18 PM
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Well, surely you're each talking about your own experiences, which are going to differ from community to community. Not to mention from person to person -- one individual might never see an instance of racism occur in front of them in a particular group, another might experience it several times, and both things would be true, since people don't always reveal their prejudices to everyone around them in the same way. Is the poly community as a whole (not that there is such a thing, necessarily) more prejudiced than any other group? I would hope not. But we do live in a prejudiced society, and poly people are just people within that society.

Note also that having a preference for redheads, but still being perfectly willing to date blonds, is very different, in several key ways, from not being willing to date or swing outside your race. Personally, I would lose a lot of respect for anyone who refused to consider getting involved with someone... as a friend, a lover, or a partner... based solely on the color of their skin -- that goes way beyond preference and is, in fact, the definition of prejudice. If one's "preferences" run that deep, one really ought to examine and unpack them (I'm not trying to imply at all, Helo, that you were saying you felt that way, just musing).
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  #13  
Old 11-01-2012, 05:23 PM
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I live in NYC. Even though it's a big city, the poly community here seems to be much smaller than one would expect, at least to me. Even more surprising is the dominance of white people at the few organized poly gatherings I have attended. There are always a few people who are Asian or of Asian descent, but I can only recall one or two black people. NYC is more segregated than one would believe, I think. I have lived in NYC for over 20 years and there is only one black person who lives on my block. On the outside, it looks like we're one big melting pot, but many ethnic groups really keep to themselves.

So I wonder if poly is also quite prevalent a practice in the black community here, without calling it poly, like it is in Philly. I do remember walking through Union Square one day last summer and overhearing a black woman talking about being fluid-bonded with someone, which really caught my attention because that term is something I've only heard in poly circles.
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  #14  
Old 11-01-2012, 05:56 PM
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@nycindie: I personally believe that the illusion of poly being a "mostly White phenomenon" is one based on lack of knowledge about and connection between races. Its like how I always thought serious, committed relationships were mainly a "heterosexual thing" until I started meeting and befriending LGBT couples who expressed the same intensity of love, dedication, and pair bonding with each other.

And, believe me, there are plenty of Blacks who have told me, "Poly? Open relationships? That's a White thing!" Meanwhile, most Black people know plenty of relationships in their community and family that are 3-somes, 4-somes, and Moresomes of varying levels.

Maybe its just semantics?

@AnnabelMore: Great response! But I wonder when personal preference crosses the line into prejudice, or if it ever does without being catalyzed by fear, ignorance, and hatred? I mean, I have never really been THAT attracted to Asian women and probably would only date Southeast Asian women, at that. Does that make me prejudice? I don't know. Maybe.
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  #15  
Old 11-02-2012, 12:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hades36 View Post
Philly is a very segregated city, Helo. So, yes, maybe it is about location. I can only go on what I have seen and heard in my own experiences and do my best to extrapolate a theory from that admittedly limited data.
I think we're all in that boat XD We kind have to do our own community studies because no one else is doing them.

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Note also that having a preference for redheads, but still being perfectly willing to date blonds, is very different, in several key ways, from not being willing to date or swing outside your race. Personally, I would lose a lot of respect for anyone who refused to consider getting involved with someone... as a friend, a lover, or a partner... based solely on the color of their skin -- that goes way beyond preference and is, in fact, the definition of prejudice. If one's "preferences" run that deep, one really ought to examine and unpack them (I'm not trying to imply at all, Helo, that you were saying you felt that way, just musing).
I have to concur with Hades; when does preference turn into prejudice?

Would your opinion of me change if I said I would never date blondes because I found the hair color unattractive?

I think we're in danger of putting the definition of racism into pants its too small for. The generally accepted definition of racism is "hatred or intolerance of another race" and I dont know if you can call someone racist because they'd prefer not to sleep with someone of a particular race. If they say "Oh I wont sleep with THOSE people because they're Crayola" ok yeah that's clearly a racist statement.

If we use that, then we start edging into the territory of accusing gay men and women of being sexist because (if) they wont sleep with members of the opposite gender.
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Old 11-02-2012, 01:58 AM
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Would your opinion of me change if I said I would never date blondes because I found the hair color unattractive?

I think we're in danger of putting the definition of racism into pants its too small for. The generally accepted definition of racism is "hatred or intolerance of another race" and I dont know if you can call someone racist because they'd prefer not to sleep with someone of a particular race. If they say "Oh I wont sleep with THOSE people because they're Crayola" ok yeah that's clearly a racist statement.

If we use that, then we start edging into the territory of accusing gay men and women of being sexist because (if) they wont sleep with members of the opposite gender.
I don't think it's fair to compare hair color to skin color, because they don't have the same connotations in our society. If you said you didn't date blond women because you found their hair color unattractive, I'd be a little confused, I'd ask you if it was really such a hard line that you wouldn't date a blond girl even if she was smart and funny and kind and witty and you really got along... like, could the color REALLY be such a big deal? And if you said yes, I'd just shrug and wonder if, like, a blond woman was mean to you when you were a kid or something. I *would* kind of consider it a prejudice of a sort, but it certainly wouldn't mean you were racist, because blond is not a race.

On the other hand, if you said you didn't date black women because you found their skin color unattractive, then, yeah, I would say "wow, that's kind of racist, man, you might wanna examine and work on that." Because, for centuries, our culture has held up whiteness as the height of attractiveness and looked down on black people. You could be the most un-racist person in terms of your *conscious* thoughts and beliefs, but still have absorbed unconscious prejudices because we live in a prejudiced culture. It happens to the best of us. And it's something to recognize and work on. If you told me that you wouldn't date a black girl even if she was smart and funny and kind and witty and you really got along, I would consider it a *racial* prejudice, because black, unlike blond, is a race. I'm NOT saying it would make you a bad person or even a racist (consciously)... but if you were completely unwilling to consider that it might be an unconscious racial prejudice and work on it, then, yeah I would look at you differently. Same for the Asian thing that Hades brought up, for the record -- if a person could honestly say that they wouldn't date, say, a Japanese girl, even if she was perfect for them in every other way and there was a real, genuine connection, I would tell them that they ought to really think that through and try to break it down.

Sex and gender, on the other hand, are *completely* different from either of these things and, again, it's an unfair comparison.
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The major players. Me, 30ish bi female. Gia, girlfriend of 4+ years. Clay, boyfriend/dom. Davis, ex/friend/"it's complicated." Eddie, roommate & fwb.
The supporting cast. Eric, Gia's husband. Bee, Gia and Eric's toddler. Dexter, Gia's lover. Helen, Eric's lover. Izzy and Nikki, Clay's partners. Liam, Eddie's husband.
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  #17  
Old 11-02-2012, 02:57 AM
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Originally Posted by AnnabelMore View Post
I don't think it's fair to compare hair color to skin color, because they don't have the same connotations in our society. If you said you didn't date blond women because you found their hair color unattractive, I'd be a little confused, I'd ask you if it was really such a hard line that you wouldn't date a blond girl even if she was smart and funny and kind and witty and you really got along... like, could the color REALLY be such a big deal? And if you said yes, I'd just shrug and wonder if, like, a blond woman was mean to you when you were a kid or something. I *would* kind of consider it a prejudice of a sort, but it certainly wouldn't mean you were racist, because blond is not a race.
The basic question is is it prejudiced to refuse to date a specific group of people based on something about that group of people, real or imagined? Couch it in race, hair color, eye color, sexuality, gender, or whatever provided you dont have an issue with that group in daily life; you dont consider them inferior or treat them worse than you would a member of your own group.

Quote:
On the other hand, if you said you didn't date black women because you found their skin color unattractive, then, yeah, I would say "wow, that's kind of racist, man, you might wanna examine and work on that." Because, for centuries, our culture has held up whiteness as the height of attractiveness and looked down on black people. You could be the most un-racist person in terms of your *conscious* thoughts and beliefs, but still have absorbed unconscious prejudices because we live in a prejudiced culture. It happens to the best of us. And it's something to recognize and work on. If you told me that you wouldn't date a black girl even if she was smart and funny and kind and witty and you really got along, I would consider it a *racial* prejudice, because black, unlike blond, is a race. I'm NOT saying it would make you a bad person or even a racist (consciously)... but if you were completely unwilling to consider that it might be an unconscious racial prejudice and work on it, then, yeah I would look at you differently. Same for the Asian thing that Hades brought up, for the record -- if a person could honestly say that they wouldn't date, say, a Japanese girl, even if she was perfect for them in every other way and there was a real, genuine connection, I would tell them that they ought to really think that through and try to break it down.
I'm uncomfortable with the idea that racism can be unconscious because it takes responsibility away from the individual and is completely indefensible from a personal stance.

You (not you specifically) can accuse someone of being racist (or just prejudiced in general) and when they deny it, you can say its unconscious and there really isnt anything you can say against that. It basically turns the idea of racism into a "finishing move" to which there is nothing the person its leveled against can say without being accused of further prejudice.

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Sex and gender, on the other hand, are *completely* different from either of these things and, again, it's an unfair comparison.
I disagree and I think we can make that comparison in this instance.

I dont think I'm going too far out on a limb by assuming we both agree that neither sexuality nor race are plastic concepts within a person; you cant forcibly change either one, they are inherent and inborn characteristics of us all.

So why then can we not level the charge of sexism at the gay community for refusing to sleep with someone of the opposite gender just as we have been talking about leveling the charge of sexism at someone who refuses to sleep with a certain ethnic group provided they dont have a problem with that racial group in daily life or act any different towards them?

As I said, I think we're stretching the definition of racism to cover something that it doesn't actually refer to and as a result we get caught up in a possible double standard.
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  #18  
Old 11-02-2012, 03:11 AM
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I'm a red headed white female. My husband is white and my boyfriend is black. Our local poly community appears to be made up of 99% while people.

I am not saying it's right or wrong of a person to chose not to sleep with a person of another race, but at least with Swingers the relationship is even more in the closet... if the wife suddenly turns up pregnant with her black lover's baby, then what? It would be a sure fire way to get outed. So that might explain why some poly people and swingers stick to their own racial backgrounds. Not something I personally have to worry about, but I suppose that there are those who do.
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  #19  
Old 11-02-2012, 03:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helo View Post
The basic question is is it prejudiced to refuse to date a specific group of people based on something about that group of people, real or imagined? Couch it in race, hair color, eye color, sexuality, gender, or whatever provided you dont have an issue with that group in daily life; you dont consider them inferior or treat them worse than you would a member of your own group.
Actually, I think this is a complex enough issue that you can't boil it down to such a basic question. I continue to disagree that it makes any sense to conflate hair and eye color with race, just to stick with that example. Within living memory, in our country, it was ILLEGAL for people of different races to marry. It has never been illegal for people of different eye colors to marry. Several generations ago, many white people in America considered the idea of one of their children getting involved with a black person to be, not just illegal and immoral, but distasteful, cause for *violence*. We are still struggling, as a society, with those hateful prejudices -- we've come a very, very long way, but there's too much history there, too much racism that still exists, to say that we're over it as a society. Eye color and skin color, when it comes to who we consider acceptable mates, are not the same in our societal context.

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I'm uncomfortable with the idea that racism can be unconscious because it takes responsibility away from the individual and is completely indefensible from a personal stance.
It doesn't make me comfortable either, but unfortunately, it's a real thing -- http://www.livescience.com/16339-culture-racism.html

Where personal responsibility comes into it, is that you can choose to face this uncomfortable fact about what it means to have been raised in our society, work to understand it, identify where it might exist in your own life or the lives of those around you, and attempt to confront it, break it down, change it. We can make a better society by taking personal responsibility, even for the things that we didn't ask for.

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Originally Posted by Helo View Post
You (not you specifically) can accuse someone of being racist (or just prejudiced in general) and when they deny it, you can say its unconscious and there really isnt anything you can say against that. It basically turns the idea of racism into a "finishing move" to which there is nothing the person its leveled against can say without being accused of further prejudice.
One could choose to use it as an accusation to shut down conversation, sure. But that wouldn't be fair or cool, and you would deserve to be called out for it. I don't think that just because we acknowledge that unconscious racism is real, it means that people must automatically get away with using it as a brickbat to shut down others. I don't see how that follows at all, actually. Any time you make an argument, you need to back it up with why you think it is the case.

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I disagree and I think we can make that comparison in this instance.

I dont think I'm going too far out on a limb by assuming we both agree that neither sexuality nor race are plastic concepts within a person; you cant forcibly change either one, they are inherent and inborn characteristics of us all.

So why then can we not level the charge of sexism at the gay community for refusing to sleep with someone of the opposite gender just as we have been talking about leveling the charge of sexism at someone who refuses to sleep with a certain ethnic group provided they dont have a problem with that racial group in daily life or act any different towards them?

As I said, I think we're stretching the definition of racism to cover something that it doesn't actually refer to and as a result we get caught up in a possible double standard.
Skin and hair color are superficial characteristics that denote no real difference between people beyond exceedingly minor things, like, say, susceptibility to a particular genetic disease. There are infinite permutations of race when different ethnic groups blend, there is no clear dividing line. Sex (while it can be a broad and fluid spectrum with many exceptions and variations), in general, represents two distinct, real categories with physical, hormonal, pheremonal differences. Your parts fit together differently, depending on your sex. Your pheremones fit into each other's brains differently depending on your sex. Of COURSE those things are going to fundamentally affect attraction! Color, on the other hand, is cosmetic.

It's not comparable.
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The major players. Me, 30ish bi female. Gia, girlfriend of 4+ years. Clay, boyfriend/dom. Davis, ex/friend/"it's complicated." Eddie, roommate & fwb.
The supporting cast. Eric, Gia's husband. Bee, Gia and Eric's toddler. Dexter, Gia's lover. Helen, Eric's lover. Izzy and Nikki, Clay's partners. Liam, Eddie's husband.
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  #20  
Old 11-02-2012, 06:52 PM
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I think the main distinction is whether you are attracted to specific people, and notice after the fact ("hey, I don't get attracted to females/black people/blondes") or if you decide "I won't date someone who is..." and then refuse to consider them based on that fact.

I do think that you can compare all of these things, because they're based on attraction. I think it is much more common to "discriminate" in who you're attracted to based on gender or sex than the rest, which is why the rest is usually considered fetishes. If you're unable to be attracted to someone who doesn't have piercings, you're not considered "normal", but if that's the way your attraction works, it's the way your attraction works. You don't get aroused? Can't be blamed for that.

If, however, you say "people who don't have any piercings are stupid and boring and I refuse to associate with them", you're passing a judgement and you are bigoted and discriminating (YOU are discriminating, rather than your libido doing it).

It might be hard to draw the line (do I not get aroused by X because of some internalised judgement I am not aware of, or is it just part of my "orientation"?) but I still think that if you're not ever attracted to someone who is X, that doesn't mean you are necessarily bigotted against X.

Now, it seems weird for things like that to work on "changeable" attributes. For instance, if you can only be attracted to long hair, but neglect to tell the woman you are dating, and she has a hair cut, are you suddenly unable to be attracted to her? Do you have to wait for 2 years for it to grow back before you'll consider anything with her?
With hair colour, would dyeing it work, or is it a hormonal thing, so that you can tell anyways?

But ultimately, I think as long as you know what you want, you're golden.

Now, if I think back about everyone I've been attracted to, not a lot of them are part of minorities... but I also don't seem to hang out with a lot of people who are, for some reason, so I don't think I'm less attracted to them, they're just a smaller pool to begin with. On the other hand, I know I'm not attracted to females at all. And when I was younger, I was not attracted to men younger than their late 20s, but this has changed.

As long as you follow your arousal and preferences rather than try to dictate them, I think you're good. The bigoted person is the one who still won't date Xs when they start being attracted to them.
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