According to Online Dating Newsletter over 20 million people visit online dating sites every month and this trend is certainly set to rise, but whilst the exciting prospects of a global online world where people appear to be colourblind attracts many, research suggests that if you are from a black or minority ethnic group you are less likely to find love online.
In a post for Racism Review, written by Jessie, Race, Racism and Online Dating: What the Research Tells Us, Psychologist Gerald Mendelsohn (Emeritus, UC-Berkeley), asked this question in an interview with TIME Magazine, “The Internet has changed things. There is no segregation on the Internet. So the question then becomes, When you have a free situation where people can contact whom they please, what will happen?”
Mendelsohn wanted to explore the idea of race in regards to dating choices on the Internet and what he found has startling implications for race relations and the idea that as a society we have embraced difference races and cultures.
He said, “Taken as a group, whites, women and older people were choosiest about sticking with others of their color. More than four of five whites contacted other whites, while just 3% reached out to blacks. The ratios stayed the same for young and older people, too — 80% chose not to contact others from outside their race. And only 5% of white subscribers responded to inquiries from someone from another race.”
He also said that among whites who said that they were open to meeting anyone in their profile, 80% of them still contacted whites in the end.
Christian Rudder (October 5, 2009) How Your Race Affects The Messages You Get, in a post on oktrends, dating research from OkCupid, the biggest free dating website in the U.S., who have been compiling statistics on online dating, patterns and trends since 2004, supported Mendelsohn’s findings.
In research of over one million people Rudder found that race plays a huge factor in the number of responses individuals get.
In the research Rudder found that black women were the most likely to respond to messages more than any other women which he speculated could be due to a number of reasons such as loneliness, talkativeness or decency.
On the other hand Rudder said that white males got the most responses than any other racial group, and white women preferred white men above any other racial group.
Asian and Hispanic women also preferred white males to any other racial group. In Rudder’s words, “These three types of women only respond well to white men. More significantly, these groups’ reply rates to non-whites is terrible.”
According to Rudder, although black women replied the most, they received the fewest responses.
Racial Stereotypes are alive and well online
Whilst some commentators may portray the internet as the forum of true democracy and racial harmony, the research simply does not support this view.
In a Guardian online article, Racism and online dating: my experience, (Thursday 28 October 2010) freelance journalist and blogger, Bim Adewunmi spoke about her experiences as a black woman looking for love online, and they were disturbing considering that we are in 2012 and not the 17th century.
When she joined free dating website OkCupid, she spoke of her experiences along with other black females:
“In no particular order, I’ve had someone ask me why my profile picture doesn’t show all of my face, before helpfully suggesting it was because I was an “ugly black girl”. More than one person has asked me if it’s true “what they say about black girls”. Several have asked me: “So where do you really come from?” And these were just the straight-up, old-school racist ones. I’ve also had messages from specific skin-colour fetishists, who have complimented my “delicious brown skin”, and despite a profile picture in which I am eating a crisp, “Nubian queenly countenance” (I wish I was joking). I’m not alone: one woman who uses online dating sites, Lola, found it disconcerting that she was approached by men who were obviously interested in just her skin colour. “They haven’t read your profile and don’t have anything in common with you,” she says. “At one point, three friends and I, all black, were on one site and all kept getting hit on by the same guys, regardless of the fact that we are very, very different people.” She describes being viewed as “low-hanging fruit”. She adds: “On these sites, black women seem to be considered least aspirational and/or attractive. Not a single black male professional has ever contacted me. The white guys have all seemed to be fetishists, and there have been assumptions that I must have a ‘thick’ body, and that I must go to church. In one case, a guy in his first email asked me to do a threesome. The men who approach you think you must be desperate and therefore a sure thing.”
In the Guardian article, Michelle, who runs an annoymous dating blog, said “One guy brought up – on our first date – that black men are known for ‘certain assets’, but there was nothing to worry about with him,” she says. “Another asked if I was getting dreadlocks when I mentioned a hairdresser’s appointment. What the hell?”
Forty year-old, South Asian male, ‘M’ who chose to comment anonymously, has qualifications in Computer Science, but said that when he joined numerous online dating websites he received no replies. “I have unsuccessfully tried to benefit from Internet ‘dating’ sites such as Match.com and e-Harmony. I could never figure out why my inbox was empty of messages despite crafting good messages to hundreds of women. I now know the answer why I never received any replies from women on those ‘dating’ sites and it is racism”, he said.
M asked, “From the information contained in the above website is is shocking to learn that most non-white women prefer ‘white’ guys more than their own. Why is this?”
Racial stereotypes are as old as slavery and race ideology, these perceptions still play a strong role in the interactions between Europeans and other races today, despite what the mainstream media is portraying.
In my article BBC’s Mixed Race Britannia: Will it explore all angles?, I covered an aspect of interracial relationships and families that is often ignored by the media. I specifically referred to a book titled “Black British Feminism“, edited by Heidi Safia Mirza, and published by Routledge in 1997. The chapter titled Diaspora’s Daughters, Africa’s orphans? On Lineage, authenticity and ‘mixed race’ identity, by Jaybe Ifekwunigwe, explored how mixed race children were racially abused and discriminated against by a white parent.
The research upon online dating in regards to race and the testimonies from black women themselves, as well as Yunis confirms that racial stereotypes and racial ideology remains firmly embedded in the minds of many whites.
Ironically in Rudder’s research, 93% of white females polled answered no to the question “Is interracial marriage a bad idea“, yet their poll response did not match their actual responses to men from a different race on online dating sites.
When asked “Would you strongly prefer to date someone of your own skin colour/racial background”, 54% of white females in the poll said yes, which was a higher percentage than even white males at 40%.
Race ideology and self hate among non whites
Rudder’s research uncovers much more than the racial attitudes of white women, it also uncovers the apparently deep self hatred amongst men and women from non white ethnicity. When asked, “Would you strongly prefer to date someone of your own skin colour/racial background”, white men and white women answered yes the most compared to other races.
Only 11% of black males said yes, compared to 22% of black females, and similarly, 17% of Indian males said yes compared to 23% of Indian females. Females in all ethnic groups were more likely to say yes compared to the males, and it was females from the Middle East that scored the highest (26%) on the yes answer to this question.
Going back to M’s question about why non white females preferred white males to their own, well first of all Rudders poll suggests that males rather than females from non white ethnicity are more open to interracial relationships. However, to address his question one has to look at the structure of white supremacist ideology which promoted the idea that Europeans are the most attractive and the most intelligent race.
You do not have to look far to see aspects of self hate within non white races to confirm that this ideology continues to have a profound effect on our psychology.
When I wrote the article British psychologist reignites the debate about race ideology in science, I uncovered the fact that racist ideology still informs how some scientists think.
To think that in 2012, Dr Satoshi Kanazawa, an evolutionary psychologist at the London School of Economics, would say that black women are less attractive than whites, Asians and Native American women reminded many people that racism is still strong in science today.
However, I also uncovered the shameful and shocking low self esteem among many non whites to the extreme that many are now ‘whitening up’ their appearance to feel more attractive.
Skin bleaching is a growing trend amongst non whites in the non European world and indeed Europe.
Others are coming up with various excuses to why they refuse to date their own race (read Controversy as successful black women are told to marry outside their race by law professor), when in reality all of the internal conflicts reflect self hatred. Non whites have to wonder, black people in particular why it is difficult to find mainstream media articles where a white male or white female states why they do not date their own kind. These issues merely serve to demonstrate how far back we have regressed from the civil rights movement. Instead of airing our dirty laundry in public it would be more dignified and productive to address these issues.
There are reasons why our young men and young women are rejecting each other, why our women feel they need to bleach their skin and resemble European females in their appearance, and as long as we refuse to address these issues the gulf between us will widen further to the point of no return.
All of this is the after effects of over one hundred years of race ideology and white supremacy.
It is this self hatred which offers an explanation to M’s question.
Yet, it is important that readers do not interpret this article as denouncing interracial relationships. What this article denounces is the media’s avoidance of the racial issues discussed in this article.
What this article also denounces is the type of white male and female that the black women spoke about in their experiences. The ones who are clearly not psychologically healthy for raising children of mixed race parentage.
Hopefully, what this article will do is promote a healthy, honest and open debate regarding these issues.
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