“I’ve never matched with a black girl before. I’m scared.”

Wait a second, what the fuck? I rarely receive messages like this, but when I do, I find my mind goes through this exact stream of consciousness every time: Did I read that correctly? You’re scared of me because I’m black? Are you even aware of what you just said? Do you know the harmful implications of that asinine, rudimentary, and piss-poor excuse of an opening line? Does the word “stereotype” mean anything to you? No? I’m a writer, so of course there’s nothing I love more than crafting long responses to things I do not agree with. However, I am not an educator — not for idiots, at least. Do some research, though, and you’ll quickly realize that what you’ve said to me is the fucking polar opposite of a panty-dropper. It’s straight-up racist.

If the above scenario applies to you, I know what you’re probably thinking right about now. Racist!? You? No way! You have black friends. You took pictures with some African kids while on a mission trip to Uganda (as seen in your third Tinder profile pic). You listen to rap! How could you be racist? Well, sweetheart, you don’t have to wear the Confederate flag to be. It can manifest itself in the least suspecting of places, even on Tinder.

But, don’t you fret. I know I told you earlier that I’m not an educator; however, I’m willing to make an exception just this once. If what you say is true and you’re, in fact, not a racist, then we need to make sure that you’re not *accidentally* waving a tiki torch in the face of some unsuspecting Tinder match. Here are six tips to help. 

1. Never — I mean NEVER — say “you’re hot for a black person.” Or any other non-white race for that matter. This isn’t a compliment. It’s insulting AF.

2. Do not tell a PoC that they look like any random-ass celebrity of the same race. How would you like it if I told you that you bare strong resemblance to Rainn Wilson solely based on your complexion and hair color? Sure, Dwight was your fave character in “The Office,” but that doesn’t mean you want to look like him, right? Same.

3. You’ve never been with an Asian/Latinx/black person before? Cool, but why are you telling us this? We are people, not some distant land that you’ve yet to “discover.” This statement gives me major Christopher Columbus vibes, and we all know how well his legacy aged.

4. On the flip side, do not ask, “Have you ever been with a white person before?” This question feels like you’re asking if I’ve ever eaten escargot or been to fucking Iceland. As if you’re some sort of niche experience that I could only be so privileged to encounter. You’re not. You’re a person. Relax.

5. If you mention that you’re only looking for a certain race in your bio, I’m going to be real with you — that’s weird. So weird. It’s what we in the real world like to call a “fetish.” Racial fetishes completely alienate everyone who you’re not creepily hunting for and that’s what? You guessed it, racist.

6. Do not tell someone you’re scared to have made their match because of their race. Why? Because fucking obviously.