I’m Not Racist, I’m Just Not Into Asians… with Arjun K. for Elska Magazine

Whenever I photography someone from a minority race (I’m writing from a British perspective), I’m always a bit angered by the tiny number of Instagram likes these pics get compared with the number I get for pics of a white dude. Whether it’s a black guy, a Chinese guy, or these Nepalese guy (Arjun K.), the lower amount of likes is staggeringly clear.

I shot Arjun K (pictured below) for a story called “Assis sur son lit, le blue dans le gris”, inspired by the Mylène Farmer song “Elle a dit”. And it was one of a few “minority race” models I’d done at that point and it got me thinking about racism and so-called “preferences”


One person I talked to disagreed with equating personal preference for a particular race with racism. He also attempted to argue against a white supremacy of sexiness by saying something to the effect of “black guys are really popular now”. This does not attest to equality but rather just continues to fetishise race.

I tried to be quasi-scientific and do some research through interviews. Everyone I asked was white and British / British resident. I assumed that all were attracted to men of the same race, so I only asked about attraction to non-whites. In this basic survey, black guys were most popular, followed by South Asians, followed by East Asians (the terms I used in the surveying were “black”, “Indian”, and “Chinese” respectively).

When probed further as to why they liked or disliked men of each group, it was difficult for anyone to put into words, instead claiming attraction to be innate. However, I did press them to describe what was different or marked about men of each race. What did I hear repeatedly about Afro-Caribbean men? “Big” mainly – specifically stature and cock size. For “Indians” I heard “hairy” and “dirty”. For “Chinese” I heard “small” – again stature and cock size. There’s also some assumption of black men being tops and Asian men being passive, although this is for another piece of research…

I’m not at all surprised with what I heard, but I was disappointed that people continue to let their attraction be ruled by stereotypes. I don’t believe that attraction is wholly innate, but rather that it’s about being open-minded, which of course is not automatic but takes conviction. What ever happened to meeting someone, perhaps by going on an actual date, and seeing what chemistry occurs? And should it even bother me that Asian guys don’t get enough interest?  I’m not Asian so it’s not like it effects me…

Any feedback and opinions appreciated…

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