Sexual Racism in an Online Gay Community: How Race, Gender and Body-Type Construct Desire and Impact Lives
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Past literature examining race and sexuality has revealed the ways the two intersect to construct racial bodies in sexually stereotypical ways on and offline. Still, while these studies have made tremendous contributions to the field, they have lacked strong theoretical grounding, often settling on terms like prejudice, and stereotyping to describe phenomenon more accurately explained through the lens of structural and systemic racism. Similarly, sexuality studies have often been restrained in their assessment of racism in regards to sexuality, often assigning greater autonomy to sexual minorities but absolving them of their role in the maintenance of systemic racial domination. This project builds on prior studies by also investigating the intersections of race and sexuality online by means of Systemic Racism Theory and the Sexual Fields, synthesizing both into a theory of Sexual Racism. A goal of this project is to explore sexual racism within the website for men who have sex with men called Adam4adam.com. In doing this, another goal is to explore the parameters of sexual racism theory and their impact on sexual health behaviors and negotiations. Sexual Racism theory includes four parameters. These parameters include; 1) the role of the owner and creators of the website being analyzed and how they establish the sexual field that perpetuates racism within it, 2) the racial hierarchy of desire established via sexual racism that sets the Ideal White Male Archetype (IWMA) as the most desired male atop the hierarchy and other deviations of this archetype below, with varying degrees of erotic capital distributed throughout, 3) an accompanying ideology of preference that justifies sexual racism and, 4) the resulting impact of sexual racism on the lives of the men impacted by it, such as increased sexual risk behavior and targeting by White men towards men of color. Taken together, the theory seeks to explain the way race and racism along with sex and sexuality intersect online and impact the lives of those found least sexually desirable.
Smith, Jesus Gregorio (2017). Sexual Racism in an Online Gay Community: How Race, Gender and Body-Type Construct Desire and Impact Lives. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from