It's hotly debated, whether it's racist or not to have racial preferences when it comes to dating or hooking up, but I don't think it's simply as black and white (Ha!) as that.
I think it can be as simple as a preference, but sometimes that preference can be born from racism. In the example photo, above, this Grindr user wrote, "Vanilla or spice, no chocolate or rice." He's presumably stating that white and Latinos are cool, but that black people and Asians need to fuck off. This guy seems like a racist douche.
I, personally, have some racial preferences, but they're not exclusionary. I don't turn away anyone because of their race, but I do seem to be more gravitated towards whites, Latinos, Asians, and many mixed race guys. I have been with all sorts of different guys, covering a pretty broad spectrum of skin tones, from dark chocolate to white. But I can't say that I don't prefer some over others. The thing is, though, that I'm not going to write it on my online profiles to discourage anyone from contacting me. I have a few issues with people who do that.
How much are these guys being contacted by people that they're not interested in, that they have to proactively head them off at the pass? I don't just mean the guys who write their preferences in a racist manner, either, but even the guys who just state that they're only into Latinos, or black guys. Is it that much of a hassle to get contacted by someone you're not into and just ignore them, or tell them "No, thanks"?
Oftentimes, when I run across a profile with any sort of racial preference, especially of a racist nature, I bypass it, even if I'm among the races they're looking for. I just don't like their attitude. We likely would not get along even enough for me to give them a grudge fuck.
The thing is, though, that I think it's perfectly valid to have racial preferences. Why? Well, we all have certain attributes, body types, facial features, hair styles, hair colors, eye colors, and on, and on, which we find attractive. We all have to admit that the majority of the members of each race have similar skin tones as well as some common facial features, and a few body types which can be somewhat more common. It's certainly not 100% the case that every member of said race will have these features, but there's a decent likelihood.
If someone wasn't attracted to, say, people who were shorter than them, they may not date too many Asians. Some nationalities of Asians can tend to be shorter than many other races. Not all, of course. Hell, I've met some really tall Asians. But if you have this image in your head that Asians are short, you might avoid dating them, if you care about height. Is this a prejudice? Yup. They'd be excluding a large number of people because they have a perception that all Asians are short. Maybe this guy could just state that he's attracted to taller guys...
What if you weren't attracted to wider noses or larger lips? Many black people have both. Again, not all, but a significant number. If you're not attracted to that, you might avoid all blacks. Personally, I'm not all that attracted to big lips or wider noses, but I don't let that stop me from dating black men. I just date the black men who have narrower noses, and less prominent lips.
What if you have a preference for certain skin tones, though? Does that make you any worse of a person than someone who prefers redheads or blondes? What about people who aren't attracted to bald guys, such as myself. I know not everyone is into bald guys, but does that make them a bigot? Is a preference for skin tones any worse than preferring someone who has a lot of meat on their bones, or who is extremely slim? How about tall or short?
See, I don't think that all preferences involving race are racist in nature. The problem, however, is that it can come from someone being racist, and trying to distinguish if that's the case is very difficult. I don't know if you don't want to date black guys because you love pale skin, or if it's because you regularly use the N***** word, like some asshole.
I've never understood the desire to reject people on your dating profile. Why not, instead, welcome the people you want, rather than swat away the people that you don't want. When I read a profile and I see that they have an age preference which is declared in the form of, "Looking for 18-35," I'm not bothered in the slightest, as a 43-year-old. But when they write, "No oldies!" I think they're a bit of a prick. They both kind of say the same thing but in very different ways. One is more positive and affirming, and the other is more negative and dismissive, as well as rude.
People's race is so much more of a sensitive issue, though. Saying "Looking for 18-35" isn't bad, but if the person writes "Looking for whites," suddenly eyebrows are raised. We live in a culture and society which is so racially divided and torn, and with so much tension, that a statement like that is unlikely to go over well. So, don't say it. Go ahead and have a preference, but refrain from putting it out there as a first impression. Especially when you only have a limited amount of space to introduce yourself. With no context, disclaimer, or elaboration, you don't want to be put in a position where it's a bit ambiguous what your motivations are for limiting your racial preferences.
Additionally, you're sending a message to people with your statements of dislike, or disinterest in any particular races. If I'm looking to date you, and you have declared that you don't like blacks, Asians, or the whatever, I might be concerned how well you would get along with my friends or family. If any of my friends and family are among those races, would you be able to be introduced to them? Would I have to worry about racist tirades on your Facebook profile? I'm really not interested in dating any racists.
On the other hand, at least when you do state your racial preferences in your hateful manner, I get a nice warning sign to avoid you and avoid discovering, on my own, what kind of asshole you are. You're basically waving your arms around and screaming, "Don't date me! I'm a nightmare!" So, in that sense, you're saving me some trouble. So, if that's the case, thank you for announcing your bigotry.