June 02, 2020
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Why Grindr Removing Its Ethnicity Filter Is A Complex Issue
Queer dating app Grindr has announced it will remove its ethnicity filter available to premium users as a response to the developments over the Black Lives Matter movement. 
The function allows for paying users of the app to filter people by ethnicity. In a statement posted on Twitter, a spokesperson for the app said: “We will not be silent. Black Lives Matter.”
“We stand in solidarity of the #BlackLivesMatter movement and the hundreds of thousands of queer people of colour who log into our app every day. As part of this commitment, and based on your feedback, we have decided to remove the ethnicity filter from our next release.”Related... ‘My Soulmate Is Black’: Why Race Really Matters To 20-Somethings When Dating Online We will not be silent. Black Lives Matter. https://t.co/K671PrwJc0pic.twitter.com/93ninYt2u9— Grindr (@Grindr) June 1, 2020While some have criticised Grindr for years over the filter – and are pleased to see it go – others argue that it’s the best way to enable people of colour to be visible, especially in majority white communities. 
Critics also believe the issue runs deeper than the action of deleting a preference filter. 
Both camps have shared their thoughts on Social Media.Some believe the filter should have been deleted years agoEveryone celebrating Grindr removing the ethnicity filter as if Grindr didn’t have an ethnicity filter for 11 FUCKIN YEARS— Harrison Buikstra (@hbkstr) June 2, 2020Grindr removes ethnicity filter, finally.Why wasn’t feedback enough?Why did it have to take a filmed murder of a Black man and a national outrage to reach this decision? Do better.#BlackLivesMatterhttps://t.co/PmLZNZAHlT— Prithwijit Sarkar, PhD (@royalprithwi) June 1, 2020The gay hookup app Grindr has finally removed its "ethnicity filter" This is huge for gay men of Color. This filter would let you block entire races you didn't want to view or receive messages from them.— Patrick Salazar #BlackLivesMatter (@PodrickATX) June 1, 2020Related... Barack Obama Writes Essay On Effecting Real Change After George Floyd's Killing But others say losing the filter will further erase people of colour It's sad that we live in a world that @Grindr 's Ethnicity Filter has to exist but it is necessary. Let the racists be able to filter me out, it is for my own good: I don't wanna have potentially hurtful interactions with them. https://t.co/2lnJHIWH9F— Arinze Ifeakandu (@Ary_Ifeakandu) June 2, 2020I think @Grindr decision to remove the ethnicity filter is as rediculous as their lack of understanding of racism on the platform. Black people want to use the filter and that’s the only reason we pay for the extra. I think you should reconsider.— Danielsamray (@dsamray) June 2, 2020Sorry but don't celebrate Grindr removing the ethnicity filter when it's one of the very few ways Queer People of Colour can find eachother. This will only further isolate QPoC that don't live in diverse areas. A very poor decision. https://t.co/bgsrb556B0— Neal (@neeyulll) June 2, 2020Twitter user Alexander Leon, an LGBT+ rights activist with nearly 16,000 followers, shared a poll asking users what they thought about the decision.
At the time of writing, the 350 votes showed 53% believe it’s a “good thing”, 13% say it’s a “bad thing”, and 34% say “it’s complicated”. Seen a lot of discussion about this, so curious to hear from the timeline.QPOC who use Grindr - do you think removing the ethnicity filter is a good thing or a bad thing?— Alexander Leon (@alexand_erleon) June 2, 2020Dr Reenee Singh, from the Association of Family Therapy and Systemic Practice, supports the decision from Grindr, and says “we need to recognise and respect differences while ensuring this process does not create divisions”.
Speaking to HuffPost UK, she says: “In the wake of the recent tragic events in the US, I applaud Grindr’s decision to show solidarity with Black Lives Matter, by removing the ethnicity filter.”
However, she acknowledges that it’s a complex issue, as she fears its removal could reinforce prejudices against people of colour. Ethnicity should not be conflated with preference, Dr Singh adds. “Could doing away with the ethnicity [filter] render cultural and ethnic differences invisible?” she asks. Could doing away with the ethnicity preference render cultural and ethnic differences invisible?Dr Reenee Singh, psychotherapistDr Singh continues: “As contemporary debates over the high proportion of those from Black and minority ethnic groups affected by Covid-19 demonstrate, cultural and ethnic diversity are complex issues and we need to adopt a ‘both-and’ position.”
‘Both - and,’ she explains, is a term she uses in psychotherapy. “For issues of race, ethnicity and culture, it means we do not want to discriminate against others on the basis of their ethnic differences, but that if we deny this difference, we could also inadvertently be denying their experiences of racism.”
She adds: “So it’s about acknowledging difference and diversity without discriminating on the basis of such differences.”
Grindr said the filter will be removed from the next iteration of the app. It hasn’t been confirmed when this will be. 
HuffPost UK has contacted Grindr for comment in response to the criticism of removing the filter and will update this piece when we receive a response. READ MORE How I Cope: Looking Out Of My Window Has Become My New Favourite Pastime Can We Have Sex? Here’s When You Can (And Can’t) Do It In The Coronavirus Outbreak How Is The Coronavirus Lockdown Impacting Gay Hookup Culture?
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