Alex Blaze

John Mayer and sexual racism

Filed By Alex Blaze | February 11, 2010 7:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Media
Tags: Asian, black, john mayer, la toya tooles, latino, playboy, racism, white

John Mayer, in an interview with Playboy, regaled readers with how much "black people love me" and then said this:

PLAYBOY: Do black women throw themselves at you?

MAYER: I don't think I open myself to it. My dick is sort of like a white supremacist. I've got a Benetton heart and a fuckin' David Duke cock. I'm going to start dating separately from my dick.

The Benetton part is revealing to me; their ads are nothing more than crass commercialism exploiting racial and ethnic identity politics and white people's often genuine concerns with racism to make a buck without really caring about well-being of the people of color they put in their ads to seem liberal and aware.

The David Duke part, while I've never seen anyone put it quite that way, is fairly common. I don't know how many times I've seen gay online personals and on cruising sites say something like "only into white boys" or "looking for white and latino guys" or "sorry, no blacks. just a preference" or "no thanks just not turned on by Asians." I have no reason to believe that straight men are any different, and La Toya Tooles at Salon confirms:

See, I don't begrudge you your sexual preferences; it's your right to screw as many cheerleaders as you want. What bothers me is that you're not the only guy who feels or acts this way. Sometimes, when I stand in a room of white men, I feel unfeminine and unsexual, no matter the strappy heels, the makeup, the dress. I know there are white men out there who find black women attractive, but you, John Mayer -- the guy down enough to be on"Chappelle's Show," the guy so sensitive he writes love songs -- now represent the ones who don't. Maybe you should think a little bit about that.

I doubt you have any idea what it feels like to be invisible, to come to a party looking for a little sexual validation and have white men look through you like you're wearing sweats. I doubt you know what it's like to feel the weight of cultural expectations every time you stand on a dance floor, knowing that your dance card will be empty since you won't play the freak. I doubt you know what it's like to question everything about yourself -- how you stood, how you dressed, how you smiled, trying to figure out what you did so wrong that men simply stayed away? I'm not ignorant enough to think my color is the only reason men would dismiss me, but when that happens enough times, it's hard to ignore the common factor. Do you know what it's like to be ignored in a roomful of romantic partners your age? Well, multiply that by 300 years of servitude.

I grew up hearing black is beautiful. I grew up knowing black men and women who believed that in their bones. But that lesson just seems to be lost on too many seemingly smart white men like you.

The fact that so many people freely admit to being sexually racist stems, most likely, from Americans' distaste for analyzing their own sexual preferences. Much like racism, it's a murky, scary place in someone's mind that they'd generally rather not deal with, so even though Tooles asks Mayer to examine his own racism, I'm sure that what's most likely to happen is he's going to learn to keep his mouth shut. (In a sign of the times, Playboy put his apology from YouTube right under his comments on race in the interview. It's all part of the same spectacle!)

As gay and bi people have argued for a long time, sexual orientation isn't just something that you can change like you change a shirt. A sex drive is a powerful thing, and the direction it's pointed in isn't something that we can control, we say. As much as we try, the only thing we'll end up doing is covering it up and living an unhappy, inauthentic life.

How is it, then, that people's sex drive can sometimes take race into account? Race is a quality that's imposed on people's bodies after birth; it's not like there's a single gene that says "white" or "black" so that people innately know what race they are and the skin color of the people they're attracted to.

Queer theorists have long argued, though, that such attraction based on the gender of others isn't set in stone, that it's a part of the way we discipline our own sexualities, how our culture tells us to read and understand our sexual impulses actually creates sexual impulses and suppresses others. People's attractions are often more bisexual than their identities, and that must eventually affect their actions.

When it comes to race, though, I'm much more skeptical when I read about someone's "just a preference." A preference along the lines of gender isn't going to change because someone wills it to (the gays have been trying that one for decades and it hasn't gotten us anywhere), but a preference along the lines of race? Here's what Tooles had to say about that:

There is a lot of history between black women and white men, and it would be an understatement to say it's not very good. But I work to get past it: I push beyond the Mammy image, the welfare-queen persona and the caricature of angry black women to love myself. I struggled to identify and define myself in spite of the lousy stereotypes to which your penis apparently subscribes. I have looked past slavery, white-only water fountains and the joke that is George Bush to find white men attractive; I don't define all of you by this history.

I can do all this because I've been to some uncomfortable places within myself in order to address my own prejudice. I have come to admit my irrational hatred for blondes and my burning desire to exploit all white men who show any amount of weakness. I see this sin within myself -- I regret it, I apologize for it and I work daily to rise above it. I wish you could do the same, John.

Indeed, while certain aspects of sexual attraction don't seem like things we can control (gender and number, for instance), race is such an arbitrary, contrived and artificial category. It was made up by humans and then ascribed to others in the form of a hierarchy, and the fact that that same hierarchy presents itself in those "just a preference" statements should make it suspect enough for people to examine their own sexual racism.


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I happen to find guys who have physical characteristics commonly attributed to "Caucasians" to be more attractive.

Does that make me a bad person?

That brings up an interesting point... My preferences tend toward dark brown/black hair and light skin, so most of the guys I find myself attracted to are Asian, Latino, Mediterranean or Middle Eastern, with an extreme weakness for that somewhat rare mix of black hair, fair skin and really light green or blue eyes. At the same time, I've been attracted to and been with black guys, South Asian guys, redheads and blondes.

I think it's one thing to have an attraction to features that might be relatively common in certain groups. The problem is when you write off an entire race or ethnic group and dismiss the very possibility of finding one of its members attractive; or conversely, when you find all people of a given race or ethnicity attractive regardless of whether you find them attractive on an individual level. That's when it becomes sexual racism.

I think you sell short the immutability of sexual desire. Race is an arbitrary construct, but it does dovetail with physical appearance. While the ways in which we break down race are often weird and contradictory, it doesn't change the fact that, say, Ashkenazi Jews will generally look different from Indonesians.

Not wanting to date somebody who would otherwise fit your desires because of their race is something you ought to get over; not being attracted to people of a specific race is regrettable, but not a personal failing, and quite probably something you can't change.

I agree that people of different races tend to look different (of course), but what of the people who dismiss entire races out-right? What of the people who love pics of Asian men from the neck down, but if there's a face pic that's a turn-off?

And why is it that people who are not white often find white people more attractive than white people find non-white people?

I'm not saying that there can't be any immutable component, or that everyone's the same, but it seems highly unlikely that it's all immutable.

Zacqary, I don't feel that makes you a bad person. I find African American women more beautiful than any other race. My issue is with those that look at the physical and nothing else. I'm African American and I've dated both women within my own race and outside of my race. It wasn't just a physical thing but an emotional and intellectual connection that I had with these women as well. If I say "I'm only interested in dating Latinas" then I might pass up a Russian woman that might be perfect for me. I just can't see myself pushing aside a person because of their race. Now, a nasty attitude is another thing and that can be found in every race of people.

I have found myself attracted to males of every race and to females of all but one race and occasionally transgendered people of several races. I have always thought it a bit strange that I find only males of one race in particular to be attractive while in every other race I seem to be attracted to two genders and occasionally trans gendered people.
I have tried to consider it in the light of racism but it doesn't add up that way. It is also not explained by sexism. It is one of the few details of my own sexual attractions that I have never sorted out a cause for in my own head.

What's interesting to me about these conversations is the cartwheels people will turn in order to deny that racism at least plays a role in this. Explain: Why are the excluded groups most commonly blacks and Asians?

When empirical research is done on personals sites, they always show that whites are preferred and blacks and Asians are at the bottom. When research is done on marriage patterns, black women are least desirable. Now, the solution to this is not to police preferences, but at the very least I would expect people to admit that this is clear evidence of racist aesthetics both in LGBT and straight communities.

Racial or cultural? After all, most of the online dating sites are oriented towards North Americans and (perhaps) Europeans, where a certain cultural sensibility is at play. Has anyone done research to find out how largely black populations react under these circumstances? Do they prefer their own type? Or do they see Caucasians as "exotic", the same way a white person *sometimes* view an Asian, for example?

Does the fact that I have a sexual preference for blonds make me a racist? Remember: we're only talking about what turns you on, not what you might want to spend the rest of your life with. My last big relationship was with a brunette, and I can assure you that I loved him very much during all the years we were together. But this isnt about love; it's about primal physical attraction, and under those circumstances, I would be remiss if I didnt say that a shock of sun-blond hair makes me writhe like nothing else. I have no idea why; it just does.

So does that make me racist? Or just someone hot wired to a particular physical type, for whatever reason? It's easy to just dismiss all this as casual racism -- and maybe it very well is. But I would suggest that caucasians are not unique in this and that every race and ethnicity has a preference for a similar type. Does that make *everyone* a racist?

Maybe you can shed some light on this since I was thinking about this today: One cruising site I visit every now and then (no, I don't cheat on alberto, but I like to check out the boys) has lots of Canadians on it. While they're far less likely to have (or mention) a problem with black men, I've seen more "just not into Asian dudes" on Canadian men's profiles than any other culture's.

Not randomly sampled, anecdotal evidence, blah blah blah, but what's up with Canadians and Asians? And if it really is just about dating people who look like you, why don't as many white Americans care to mention a distaste for Asian men than white Canadians do?

As for your question, I can't help but be reminded of this, where every race's preference was "white":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WG7U1QsUd1g

Well Alex, I A) would like to mention that PLENTY of American guys very vocally broadcast their disdain for Asian guys (once again, anecdotally). and B) Canada's racial make up is very different from America's. Canada never really engaged in the slave trade, so they tend to have low numbers of black folk. The face of racial difference in Canada is an Asian one. The largest ethnic minority in Canada that is non-white is Chinese, followed quickly by East Indians. So it would make sense that men in American would disassociate with the category of men associated with racial difference as per their national context. Therefor American men will likely disdain of African Americans, and Canadian men will likely disdain Asian-Canadians

And this simply underscores my issue with this in toto. All we're talking about are white guys and their preferences. Has anyone done a study on the black gay community in, say, the Caribbean and what its ethnic preferences are? What do gay men in Japan go for? Give me some balance here in terms of data, because to simply load it all off onto one group raises all kinds of questions about the integrity of the discussion.

I agree...we are seen as the bottom of the barrel. I have no doubt that a lot of it has to do with the stereotypes of African American women that are being portrayed in music videos and regular television. I had a friend that was a Latina and she told me one day that I don't "act like other sisters". I just looked at her and replied "if you mean loud with two kids with different fathers walking around speaking broken English then you watch too much tv".

To move move away from the "African American women are not desirable", we're going to have to change the way we're viewed in the eyes of others. Sadly enough, that's going to have to start in our community. I say sadly because of the things some African American men say about us are the most harmful of them all.

Black and East Asians are at the bottom because their physical and social characteristics are unattractive. White people are the most attractive physically and socially. It has NOTHING to do with social conditioning and everything to do with biology. White people would be considered the most beautiful regardless of history or media. That's the truth and we all know it but won't say it.

I will have to say that I take issue with this statement. It makes no abstract points and merely tries to establish a personal bias and personal feelings as a generality. I find the position disagreeable, and the method of arguing to be weak and unsupportable.
I would point out that when someone is socially undesirable, as you have pointed at, that is due to social structures. These social structures are often designed to exclude some people as undesirable. But they are just that, social structures and they are not abstract or general truths.
As for physically undesirable, that is a matter of personal taste and so cannot be seen as an abstract or general truth though personal taste may well be informed and directed by social structures.

Let's not forget there is also biology included in the mix: Several recent studies of college students have shown an unconscious preference for straight mates that are different, but 'not too' different - like second cousins, maybe. So, that would inform the preference for people we perceive as similar to ourselves.
Pushing against that is the cultural and experiential. I grew up in a mostly-white community and went to a mostly-white university, so non-whites didn't cross my radar until I was in my 20s. So, when I was John Mayer's age, I was prejudiced as well. It was a long time until I even recognised that fact in myself. Now (30 years later), I'm a bit more 'educated' and I find people everywhere on the racial spectrum attractive. (And would have to admit to a possible prejudice AGAINST 'white' men!)
That being said, John Mayer is an ignorant privileged white boy who went to a 94%-white high school in Fairfield, CT (1% black...)and got caught telling a truth about 'white America' and the way we (don't) deal with racial prejudice. Hopefully, we are seeing his first steps in understanding himself and his place in a wider world.

Second on what you said about Mayer. I didn't even get into his casual use of the n-word here or how he defines a beautiful black woman as someone who he thinks is more white.

I tend to find certain types of men/women as 'more attractive' than others.

And yet, my wife is not my 'type', and I have never ruled out a partner based soley on physical characteristics.

I think that is, to me, the difference. It's one thing to say 'I like short butch girls, shaved-bald fit men (Especially of color. >.> ), and effeminate men', it's another to say 'If you aren't that, I'm not interested'.

I think the phrase 'sexual racism' is really a biased concept. It supposses that if one isn't sexually attracted to every single category then one is racist, and that just isn't true.

One can't help what or who one is attracted to. That's a truism that same-sex attracted people understand implicitly.

All kinds of persons figure into all kinds of attractions. It isn't merely white men that specify attraction via race, although I would say that it's safe to say that white men can be and are attracted to any race.

I just think the supposed 'problem' being posed in this article is implicitly false. It's not like people aren't getting laid enough.

Finally, the realm of politics has no business policing someone's desire. If a latino man can't get his dick hard for white women ( or whatever combination ) that is not a social problem.

I think that one of the things that is significant here is that he likened it to racism and even used a pretty powerfully unpleasant metaphor.
That in and of itself demonstrates some type of problem being present.
As for politics staying out of sex on that I agree but unfortunately our political system is not in agreement. Historically, race and sex have been very present in the political process. Interracial sex was, for a long time, prosecuted legally in many places in the US. There are still places where there is a serious social stigma or even JPs who refuse to perform interracial marriages.
These social stigma and legal issues demonstrate the presence of racism and show it meeting issue of sex. There are also people responding here who say that they have felt the effects of racism on their own sex lives ; read the response from Pivotal Pain. I have seen that happen, I had to teach beside a man who was African American and openly stated that he did date African American women.
While the problem being posed may not be true of every individual that does not mean that the problem is false or doesn't exist. People are on speaking about having seen and felt this and the original quote is pretty insensitive and unpleasant.

I think the phrase 'sexual racism' is really a biased concept. It supposses that if one isn't sexually attracted to every single category then one is racist, and that just isn't true.

I think it's tautologically true: racism is bias in favor of a race or against a race, and that's what we're talking about. Maybe if people paid more attention to this they wouldn't be so surprised that they have some racist feelings in themselves, but that doesn't mean that they're awful human beings.

Finally, the realm of politics has no business policing someone's desire.

I agree that the realm of government shouldn't get involved in desire, but why is it that we think that the realm of talking about issues shouldn't get involved?

I don't actually think that sexual desire is as simple as "here's what I'm attracted to, and I can't help it." I've seen lots of people change certain aspects of their sexual desire, and I've seen them try hard to change others and for that not to work.

For example, people tend not to be able to consciously change (if they can change at all) the gender they're attracted to. And people are pressured to monogamy by incredibly great social forces, and they still cheat on their partners, so I'm thinking that most people are hard-wired towards or away from monogamy and that's just the way they are.

But when it comes to race... I don't know. I see a lot of artifice, a lot of politics being imposed on sexual desire. In a world without race and racism, would people still make blanket statements about who they will not date or sleep with? I doubt it.

I agree in that my first instinct is to let sexual desire be and express itself, but it's not like it exists in a vacuum. Sometimes we've gotta wonder.

You wrote: "...racism is bias in favor of a race or against a race..."

I've never seen racism described as a mere bias in favor of one race. Racism includes the bias plus the notion that the favored race is superior or should be treated as the norm verses another or all other races.

For example, if a group of students of the same race tend to hang out together due to their bias of tending to be drawn to people similar to themselves does that automatically make them racist? Context has a lot to do with whether that bias is racist or not.

I also think its important to remember that what people report in a survey or request in a personal ad isn't necessarily how they behave. For example, we may be brought up in the U.S., to more highly value whites and anglo features. Hence, people tend to report preferring these. That doesn't mean we always behave or act in that fashion when it comes to actual relationships involving love & romance. The reported preferences uncover the societal racism in valuing one race or the physical characteristics associated with that race over others. But, plenty of individuals, regardless of race, find love & romance. At least that's been my experience with friends, co-workers, and acquaintances.

I tend to find minute categorizations of my "favored type" according to things like race, height, body type, hair color and even gender expressions quite limiting. I find all sorts of things circumstantially attractive in all sorts of people, and I'm not sure why; I am quite sure that there is some racism at play in my sexuality (and also my socialization), though, and I'm not quite sure what to do about it.

The book Influence by Robert Cialdini details (among other things) how we are more likely to find something attractive which is familiar to us. Most likely this is learnt behavior but to characterize it as racist or prejudiced is perhaps slightly inacccurate. As a skinny (or "slender" as the romantic novels call it) guy I am sure many men do not like my look. Some may find this prejudicial but research has shown those who find people with more meat on their bones attractive are likely to have been around such people most of their lives (especially in family). So how about simply embracing the fact we are not going to be attractive to everyone and in the end you only need one person who finds you attractive and wants to be with you.

Suppose that we were to accept the basic premise here that a lack of sexual attraction to a person based on their immutable characteristic of race is somehow indicative of a flawed but changable character quality. What is the socially responsible and fearlessly introspective person to do? What kind of reparative therapy should be undertaken to broaden our sexual attractions to all-inclusiveness?

Here is a bigger question. Do we really want to live in a world where we must compete for the sexual desire of a lover with each and every person of every gender and race and body type and age and any other defining characteristic that makes us unique in some way or combination? Maybe we ARE all so narcissistic that we believe everybody should be attracted to us, and find it offensive when they are not.

I for one have a hard enough time staying monogamous with my partner due to what I consider very broad sexual attraction. May the gods help me if I have to nurture any more aspects of sexual attraction just to make everybody feel desirable.

Suppose that we were to accept the basic premise here that a lack of sexual attraction to a person based on their immutable characteristic of race is somehow indicative of a flawed but changable character quality. What is the socially responsible and fearlessly introspective person to do? What kind of reparative therapy should be undertaken to broaden our sexual attractions to all-inclusiveness?

A, yes, I was recommending reparative therapy. You got me. Obviously we should all be worried about that because the American right has a long history of sending people to reparative therapy for being too racist.

Aesthetics, race, labor. Cis women are encouraged to engage in gender a certain way--aesthetiically and otherwise--in the workforce to ease their inclusion in the workforce. Pretty receptionists; the hot teacher; grooming to appear aesthically pleasing--what does this have to do with race and sexuality and this article?
Worth is measured by abled individuals who (sub)consciously measure aesthetics as an indicator of performance--sexual, physical, intellectual and otherwise. Sexuality comes in question for the others after puberty--the cute black boy becomes the dangerous teen..the adorable girl with braids becomes the sexually virile girl @ risk for pregnancy. That's what--these images are from more than pop culture and are older than media...

I just realised that my total bafflement at anyone ruling out an entire ethnic group is partly because I was brought up (in my almost entirely white area) to believe that beauty can be seen in every group of people, but also because of my white privilege. The first bit is rather warm and fuzzy. The second is an embarrassment, but I'd better accept it.

Anthony in Nashville | February 12, 2010 2:04 PM

I think people should stop believing they have a "right" to be attractive to everyone.

Quit worrying that the person you've been crushing on doesn't want to have sex with you. Move on and find someone who does.

I think the issue is more about the rejectee's frustration with (usually) not being desired by white people than with white people themselves.

I think that I have to agree with Sean Martin, that a lot of this is also cultural.

For example, with the possible exception of Asians, I can easily get pretty turned on by anyone of any ethnicity (and I have been turned on to some Asians)

With me it gets to be more of a body type thing. And leaving aside...uhm...anonymous sex encounters, my attraction to anyone can rise or fall as soon as they open their mouth.

And that's true no matter how cute the person is.

"my attraction to anyone can rise or fall as soon as they open their mouth."

Oh, how I second that emotion! And its corollory: someone I wasn't particularly physically attracted to at first can become progressively sexier as I realise how cool they are.

Oh I agree. I've come across women that I've found extremely attractive and as soon as they start talking they become the most unattractive person I've ever met.

Here are some systematic studies (not all are necessarily official sociological studies, but a systematic look at profiles, preferences, etc). The marriageability literature is vast so I didn't cite any here, but here are some things to get started:

Phua and Kaufman, "The Crossroads of Race and Sexuality" Journal of Family Issues 24 (2003).

This study finds a whole lot of f--ed up racial dynamics in their survey. Including:

-Gay men are 2 times more likely to express a race preference than straight men.
-Latinos are more likely to emphasize their whiteness in personals.
-Blacks are more likely to express a racial preference, but are also most likely to explicitly state that all races are welcome. They are more likely to prefer their own race, but a significant number prefer whites.
-Most people actually prefer their own race and Whites and least prefer blacks.
-Asians when they state a racial preference prefer whites to other Asians

Another study I remember was from 2001, and I actually had to dig up an old XY Magazine to find the reference (*embarrassed face*). Steven Vaschon (not a sociologist) did an informal study (let me stress the informal part) of 1200 online personals ads of black and white gay men and found that only 14% would date black men while 43% of black men would date white men. They also found that gay white men were least likely to engage in interracial dating. Interestingly, this study also found that blacks were also more likely to explicitly state no preferences.

If this were just a matter of random preferences, the patterns would be more random. We would see a more equitable distribution. But we don't. Blacks and Asians are always more likely to be less preferred. Why these groups? I never get an explanation.

See also: http://kinseyconfidential.org/race-ethnicity-affects-responds-online-dating/
and
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090629114536.htm

I don't really get into personal thoughts. I see a pattern of mate selection that almost always communicates that certain people are not desired. Just like I don't care whether or not a cop is "actually" racist or not. I see a pattern of racial profiling in police practices. That does not mean that every time a cop pulls over a black or Latino man, that it is an incident of racial profiling. But racial profiling exists, nevertheless.

Sexual racism exists. Not every rejection of a person of a different race is an example of sexual racism. But we have clear evidence--both anecdotal and some systematic--that it does exist. Obviously racism is not the only explanation of preferences. Socioeconomic status, education, living arrangements, so on and so forth come into play. But please, it defies all sense to say that racism has nothing to do with it.

People rarely acknowledge that constantly seeing profiles and receiving messages that you are not wanted, and having people do it openly and repeatedly without being challenged, is damaging to the psyche of people of color. This is just one way in which LGBTs replicate racism that exists in society as a whole. It goes along with the lack of representation in LGBT venues, organizations, media, funding, etc and the everyday racism that people of color face. When people are constantly bombarded with these images, many of them will just stay away. They will go to places that cater to people of color (like BGC) or do their own thing. THEN when they form spaces that are designed to reduce these messages, they get to be accused of "separatism."

I don't expect people to agree with me, but it is yet another example of the cognitive dissonance displayed by many when it comes to racism. It is always fascinating to see what kind of contortions people will work themselves into to deny that a racist phenomenon exists. I will continue to watch this acrobatics show with much interest.

I think this is blown way out of proportion. I'm a white guy and don't feel I'm racist but honestly I don't find black or Asian men attractive in a physical way. It doesn't mean I hate Black or Asian people. I do find people of other races attractive.

I have never seen so many people bending so far backwards to be politically correct. Sexual racism? What, do I have to fuck someone of a different race to avoid the epithet of "racist" now? You people need to get a life. You have entirely too much time on your hands.

MitchInOakland MitchInOakland | February 13, 2010 6:30 PM

1) This is yet another example of what's wrong with approaching gay liberation as a matter of "equality" rather than a matter of sexual freedom. I always thought gay liberation was a matter of my having a proud right to be attracted to the person of my choice. Period!

Sorry if anyone disagrees... (not!)

2) In line with the above, I'm reminded of the time the late Eleanor Cooper [a veteran lesbian activist] told me, when I was my twenties, that if I was attracted to people a year or two younger than me, I needed to be "reprogrammed." I asked her if she could remember where I might have heard that sort of thing before. This applies, too, to the above (sarcastic) remark about "reparative therapy."

As for Alex's (equally sarcastic) response ("We should all be worried about [reparative therapy] because the American right has a long history of sending people to reparative therapy for being too racist")... That misses the point. Homophobia is wrong because it's an imposed attempt to tell us who we have a right to be attracted to. Such impositions can come from the left or the right; either way, they're wrong. Period!

3) Are we to hear next that a gay man's lack of attraction to women is an indication of misogyny?

4) Plenty of African-Americans or Asians are quick to use racial stereotypes to enhance their would-be sexual attractiveness when that's convenient. (Blacks as hyper-masculine, Asians as compliant, etc.) Put that in your pipes and smoke it, all you PC bedroom-invaders!

5) I don't care whether some consider me an anachronism (At 60, I consider myself a survivor!): between marriage, gender identity, and now this race discussion, I feel we've followed an awfully twisted (and awful) path away from liberation as a question of personal freedom, self-acceptance (including mind/body wholeness), and the discarding of conventional identities.

I've tended to shy away from the marriage and gender discussions as a waste of time, but this opens yet another front in "politics as a dirty business," so for now (as a lifelong activist), I'm adding my two cents. It shouldn't be too hard, however, to chase me away here, too.

In this case, it would be the left that has an issue with such flawed behavior, not the American right. Our version of "reparative therapy" usually consists of highbrow mockery and sarcasm, rather than cuddling with a "father-figure".

I firmly disagree. Joanna Pitman wrote a book about blondes called "On Blondes" which points out how after Roman soldiers defeated Germans they imported German beauty standards. Roman woman began dying their hair blonde. She pointed out how rare it was for a defeated people to become the objects of beauty. Joanna also pointed out the goddess of beauty in ancient Greece was blonde. (Remember these two examples were before mass media)

Japan and South Korea have only one percent foreign population and of those most are Chinese. Even with a near 100% native population Japanese and South Koreans want to look white/ Caucasian. They will have eye surgery to widen their eyes and remove the fold over it, have rhinoplasty to create a defined bridge, shave down their cheek bones, whiten their skin and dye their hair. Here is just one video showing Japanese celebrites with major plastic surgery to look white/Caucasian.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDW5UvRbfPA

The fact is people see beauty and it's white/Caucasian.