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For your convenience all sites are listed below. From there use the Contact Us form to reach Customer Care. Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. As good as it might feel for those with white privilege to pretend we live in a “post-racial” society, one has only to give most dating sites the most cursory of glances to shut down this notion altogether. However, have you ever taken an Implicit Association Test for racial bias? You might find the results surprising. While these sites can seem to offer safe spaces for people looking to exclusively date people with shared cultural identities, the need for separate, race-siloed spaces to feel safe strikes me as outdated.
A hundred and twenty years outdated to be precise, à la Plessy v. And yet, can you really blame marginalized people for seeking out safety and comfort? Male non-black users “applied a penalty to black women. So what are we really talking about when we talk about racial bias in online dating?
We’re talking about the conflation of race with tired tropes about masculinity, femininity, class, and real people reduced to exotic caricatures. We’re talking about perceptual junk that gets in the way of seeing another person as an individual worthy of the same respect we would hope others would give us. Here are some common ways that racial bias in online dating is experienced by people of color. In each case, the stereotypes being perceived are never about the individual, but a projected expectation based on media portrayals and other falsehoods. As an Asian woman, I can spot the Asian hunters miles away. Asian women are so mysterious. I like clear, direct communication.
I like pretty Chinese women. Sorry, buddyI’m not Chinese, either. Even as a barely adolescent kid, my creep sensor knew something was really off about comments like these. With any racial fetishization, you’re definitely not seeing the person. You’re projecting an annoying, very limited media portrayal onto an individual who is 99. Aren’t you supposed to know how to dance?
You’re Asian, will you do my physics homework? You’re Native American — how ’bout that peyote! There are few things unsexier than being told that you must not a valid ethnic person because you don’t know how to do the thing that white people saw someone do in that one TV show. And then when you respond with a flattened, “Nope,” often the well-intended responses are: “Why are you so sensitive?
These are compliments to your race! Microaggressions are real, and it’s no one’s job to pretend you’re not a clueless boob when you persist in acting like one. I wish this wasn’t even a thing to have to talk about, but race devaluation is the ugly, ugly flipside of race fetishization. Photo-based dating apps, paired with implicit bias, have the unfortunate consequence of really reinforcing toxic and pervasive stereotypes that undermine individual dignity. The best they can hope for is to become “the exception” to your racist rule. It fundamentally lacks empathy, it debases people, and it’s astoundingly wrong.
Take it to the Trump rally, or maybe one of those whites-only dating sites. Your libido is no good here. So How Can We Do Better? In all the depressing news from OKCupid, there is a silver lining in the form of a curious trend: the percentage of people who say that they would strongly prefer to date someone of their own race has dropped significantly since 2009, and is still on the decline.
People are more and more willing to put aside our differences and meet each other as individuals, which creates an opportunity for technology to provide us with ways of opening up to people we might not have considered dating before. So it’s time to reach out. Encountering someone’s words, attitudes and opinions about the world before making decisions about them based on appearance is one way to sidestep the stereotypes we’ve been conditioned to see when we look at each other, and judging from the growth of our community over the past few months, it’s a model that’s working. Making meaningful connections starts with seeing people as individuals, not “exceptions” to outdated stereotypes. At SIREN, there are no exceptions, just exceptional human beings.