The Coloniality of Dating Apps: Racial Affordances and Chinese Men Using Gay Dating Apps in Sydney
Mainland Chinese and Australian Chinese men’s experience of using gay dating apps in White-majority Sydney is one in which their physical appearance and cultural norms are reinforced as markers of difference and marginality. Although Blued, Grindr, and Jack’d approach race differently, they are all organized through a colonial discourse of race, allowing users racial affordances to contact users of some races over others. They promote users’ racial self-identification through drop-down menus or through users reading other user’s statements (“I like Asian” or “Into Western guys only”) and thus facilitate users’ apprehension of colonial racial categories and the reproduction of negative stereotypes toward other minoritized racial groups. Dating apps officially aver that there is no sexual racism, only individual “preferences.” We place our interviews and ethnographic data in dialogue with decolonial scholarship to demonstrate how gay dating apps reinscribe on their users colonial discourses that naturalize and hierarchize biological differences.