Is anti-Black racism rife on the Grindr dating app? Hell, yes. Is Grindr hypocritical? YES. Biased? YES. Irresponsible? YES. Failing Black men? Yes, and unconcerned about this failure.
Grindr is racist! It allows the creation and proliferation of profiles that blatantly objectify Black male sexuality. The double standard is – it does this in a way that it doesn’t allow or condone for any other racial group. Grindr promotes crude and dehumanising tags, such as ‘Big Black C*ck’, and ensures that they are viewed as an acceptable part of the online gay consciousness of many men.
It seems incredible that in the post-George Floyd/Black Lives Matter era, Grindr can openly promote dodgy racial narratives and get away with it. Regarding the belittling of Black men, Grindr operates outside of what is deemed appropriate on any other social media platform, Tinder and all other dating apps included.
It’s a FREE FOR ALL. Any race can create a profile looking for ‘BIG BLACK C*CK/DICK’. Some users have created these profiles and have been allowed to operate them for years.
One of the saddest impacts of this dehumanising practice is that a minority of impressionable, uninformed (young) Black men using the app have begun to see these tags as an acceptable description and depiction of their sexuality. They, too, create profiles calling themselves BBC. This cannot be used to justify Grindr’s lack of concern about this issue. From my point of view, if you tell people it’s ok to view themselves as monkeys, some people will call themselves monkeys.
Grindr makes great fanfare about equality and inclusivity – and have rules and reporting procedures to ‘protect’ users from harassment, bullying, hate speech and discrimination. However, endorsement of degrading, intensely ‘racial’ profiles fails to provide a positive self-image for Black users on the platform.
While we understand the site is primarily concerned with sex and dating – where is the concern for Black minds? These profiles sow the seeds of disrespect and sexual stereotyping of all Black men by other users.
Grindr is well aware that many Black men are instinctively uncomfortable with these TAGS and tropes. But they don’t care. Some Black men have actively created anti-BBC profiles in response. I have seen many in London calling out fetishisation, one user referring to all-white users ‘who see Black men as primitive sex beasts.
Another user is stating quite simply, ‘I have a name. If you’re looking for BBC, switch on your TV.’
Grindr can be an unsafe and uncomfortable environment for the truly ‘conscious’ 21st-century Black male. Quite frankly, anyone who has concerns about anti-Blackness, stereotyping and the labelling of Black people in any context may take offence at these tags as an acceptable descriptor for Black males of the platform.
I have been disappointed a few times when a pleasant and respectful conversation with a white user degenerate into the realm of racial caricature as he immediately refers to my “BBC” as if this is somehow the only measure of my worth. Thumbs definitely down, and goodbye.
Anti-Black racism comes in many guises on Grindr.
Similarly, you might casually mention being partly of Jamaican origin, and he immediately returns with ‘oh, your dick must be massive’. Again, for anyone aware of Jamaica’s historical and global cultural impact on the world, these are profoundly ignorant and disrespectful statements.
But that’s it – Grindr openly peddles bald racial stereotypes about Black men, so you can understand how these hurtful and ridiculous misrepresentations filter into the psyches of its users.
Grindr has told us it does acknowledge the existence of sexual objectification of Black men. In July 2020, after the Black Lives Matter protests, Grindr made a great show of disabling the ability to search by ethnicity as their way of dealing with this issue.
As Grindr seeks to take the moral high ground by deleting ethnicity searches, the value of which is debatable, what they should do is to crack down on profiles that objectify Black men with obnoxious terms such as ‘BBC’ and other racialised tropes. Anything less is hypocrisy and makes no sense.
Unless, of course, they don’t care about Black men as users of their platform.
As an experiment, I created a profile looking for Chinese pussy, and I was quite rightly shut down, banned in a matter of hours. However, the (blurred) user in the profile photo above has operated a ‘BBC ONLY: Love me some big black C’ profile on Grindr’s London network for years.
In exchanging messages with this person, she quickly informed me that ‘black people are animals.’ In fact, I’ve only ever been called the N-word or ‘monkey’ by people on Grindr expressly looking for ‘black’ and advertising this quite clearly.
It doesn’t matter that a small minority of Black men play up to these tags for whatever reason. I’m sure there are a couple of white users who might want to create profiles that potentially denigrate white males. The point is Grindr protects white males from this in its community.
As gay men have fought for LGBTQ+ rights and equality, there has always been the concurrent paradoxical and hypocritical lack of understanding and respect for the sexuality of Black people. It is truly time to fix up: Grindr are complicit in promoting a culture that accepts racial stereotyping of Black men as normal.
Racism always throws up the issue of control. So, this is it – viewing Black men and Black male sexuality as your ‘sexual property to be classified and given value only as the sexual fantasy of white males.
I’m tired of people telling me, ‘I looove black men’. So what do you love or even know about Black men, Black life or Black culture outside of your big dick fantasies?
There is such a thing as healthy desire, one that respects another person’s individuality as a human, too. Unfortunately, however, that’s not what we’re dealing with here.
The most regressive and insulting part of all this for me is that using Grindr sometimes takes it all the way back to slavery and the auction block on a virtual platform. Using the platform can be reminiscent of when Black men were classified and judged according to physical and sexual prowess alone. It can feel like logging into the slave master’s world on the Grindr Block.
This fixation with “BBC” is a confused slave time narrative that is definitely a white man’s invention. As owners and overseers of Grindr, the situation is, therefore, yours to resolve. But while Grindr displays the privilege of an entitled, tone-deaf user base, it will continue its failure to deal with racist (predominantly anti-Black) attitudes and actions that devalue its Black customers.
How long will they remain angry at our humanity?
If these BBC or racially charged profiles make you feel uncomfortable on Grindr, please report them.
- You may find a definition of anti-Black racism here.
- You may also like to read In Search of a Good Black Man in a “BBC” Fixated World.