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Sexual Racism: Intimacy as a Matter of Justice

Taking seriously the idea that the “the personal is the political,” I argue that intimacy, the opportunity to be a part of a reciprocal romantic relationship, is a matter of justice. We ought to care about the distribution of this opportunity. Justice demands as much. What has gone largely undertheorized is racial discrimination that takes place in the intimate sphere. Prioritizing individuals as romantic partners in a way that reinforces ideas of racial hierarchy or stereotypes, what I call “sexual racism,” is unjust. Sexual racism is based on nothing more than a kind of blatant, even ugly (pun intended) kind of racial favoritism or disgust. These are not benign sexual preferences but problematic conditions that structure the very formation of romantic relationships. Renegotiating the boundaries of the intimate sphere, I argue that online dating websites ought to be sites of public concern.