by Eric Enrique Borja
Brandon Robinson’s latest article, “Personal Preference” as the New Racism: Gay Desire and Racial Cleansing in Cyberspace, has been recently published in the journal Sociology of Race and Ethnicity.
In this article, I examine how race impacts online interactions on one of the most popular online gay personal websites in the United States. Based on 15 in-depth interviews and an analysis of 100 profiles, I show that the filtering system on this website allows users to cleanse particular racial bodies from their viewing practices. I use Patricia Hill Collins’s concept of the “new racism” and Sharon Holland’s ideas on everyday practices of racism within one’s erotic life to explain how these social exclusionary practices toward gay men of color in cyberspace are considered not to be racist acts.
Specifically, I show how the neoliberal discourse of “personal preference” effaces the larger cultural assumptions that are influencing people’s interpersonal and psychic racial desires, furthering an erotic new racism in this digital age. By also turning to a queer of color analysis, I posit that the practices that gay users engage in lead to the remarginalization of all nonheterosexual individuals, though in qualitatively different ways.
You can also read Robinson’s other articles in the following journals: Sexuality Research & Social Policy, Deviant Behavior, Culture, Health & Sexuality, and Social Theory & Health. He also has a book chapter in the anthology A Critical Inquiry into Queer Utopias.