Filtering potential partners by ethnicity: How dating apps contribute to racial bias

A few weeks ago a girlfriend of mine, who happens to be a black woman, sent me a screenshot of an exchange she had with a man she came across on an online dating app. I’m accustomed to friends sharing their ‘WTF’ moments, and generally I love living vicariously through their dating experiences. My friend was in the early stages of a chat with a man she’d matched with and he straight away asked about her ethnicity — projecting his assumptions of her by focusing on her race. I made a documentary about the role race plays in online dating, Date My Race , a year ago. So I empathised with the frustration my friend felt by having to explain her blackness to this complete stranger. Dating is a challenge for most people, but it’s even more challenging when you’re from a racial minority background. If you’re not being judged for what you look like, you’re being asked to explain your ‘difference’. For example, the data collected by one of the many online dating websites in Australia, Oasis. They also found that the least contacted groups were black women and Asian men. And as if it wasn’t interesting enough, black African men were unlikely to contact black African women.

Online dating: “Why race filters create a safer experience for Black women on dating apps”

KIM February 14, I am not your Korean fetish. A not-so-subtle finger to the patriarchy. For the week or two that I fiddled with Tinder, my race was a greater source of anxiety than ever.

From casual unconscious bias on Bumble, through to fetish culture on Tinder, dating hugely emphasised my skin colour.

Welcome to Glamour UK. This site uses cookies to improve your experience and deliver personalised advertising. You can opt out at any time or find out more by reading our cookie policy. All products are independently selected by our editors. If you buy something, we may earn an affiliate commission. At a time when racial inequality dominates the headlines and the Black Lives Matter movement gains momentum there is a renewed focus on the role that ethnicity filters and algorithms play on dating apps in contributing to unconscious bias and racial profiling.

What part are your dating ‘preferences’ playing in this? It makes me feel very othered. The proliferation of racial bias both overt and unconscious that Stephanie describes is not new. An infamous study by OKCupid found that black women and Asian men were likely to be rated lower than other ethnic groups on the site. A blog post about the study which has now been deleted looked at the interactions of 25 million people between and But at a time when public discourse is centred on racial inequality and solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement there is an overarching feeling that enough is enough.

Racial Fetishization Is A Big Problem Online. Here’s What Dating Apps & Users Can Do.

This practice has been met with many objections along the way. Of course, you have freedom in your dating choices, yet there are systemic causes and effects to your decision that are worth examining. We are attracted to the image of beauty that is currently being marketed to us and, unfortunately for people of color and Rubenesque women, historically most models in fashion magazines have been white and waifish. Regarding familiarity, we tend to be attracted to people who remind us of someone we know or have dated in the past.

Couples who meet online through any site are more likely to be interracial than those who met off-line.

Sexual racism is an individual’s sexual preference for specific races. It is an inclination towards or against potential sexual or romantic partners on the basis of perceived racial identity. Although discrimination among partners based on perceived racial identity is characterized by some as a form of racism , it is presented as a matter of preference by others. The origins of sexual racism can be explained by looking at its history, especially in the US, where the abolition of slavery and the Reconstruction Era had significant impacts on interracial mixing.

Public opinion of interracial marriage and relationships have increased in positivity in the last 50 years. After the abolition of slavery in , white Americans showed an increasing fear of racial mixture.

U.S. adult online dating usage 2019, by ethnicity

Nikki Chapman remembers finding her now-husband through online dating website Plenty of Fish in Kay Chapman had sent her a message. I thought that was kind of cool — it was something that was near and dear to me from when I was a kid. In it, they argue dating apps that let users filter their searches by race — or rely on algorithms that pair up people of the same race — reinforce racial divisions and biases.

They said existing algorithms can be tweaked in a way that makes race a less important factor and helps users branch out from what they typically look for. Taft and his team downloaded the 25 most popular dating apps based on the number of iOS installs as of

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Gay dating apps are scrambling to remove ethnicity filters in a bid to tackle racism, as violent.

Tinder has been around for about seven years now. I missed the initial scramble to join it. For most of my early 20s, I was in a long-term relationship and blissfully unaware of the catfishing, ghosting and bread-crumbing that my generation was slowly accepting as standard dating behaviour. At age 28, three innocent years ago, I found myself single for the first time as a proper adult and picking flattering pictures of myself for a Tinder profile.

Right away, I was struck by the sheer variety of people out there. Confined to our peer groups and professional networks, we tend to meet people who are socio-politically, economically and culturally similar to us. The apps broaden our horizons — where else would I meet an Australian theoretical physicist? Or a Swedish powerlifter? Or a Texan futsal coach? Or a Jamaican-Italian artist? Like any brave love-seeking heart that dares enter the dating app world, after three years of it, mine now bears scars of some very unkind treatment.

LGBT+ dating apps ditch ethnicity filters to fight racism amid U.S. protests

Like online retailers that allow shoppers to filter products by style, cut, size, color, etc. While various online dating platforms offer different filters, preferences regarding age, gender and distance maintain a fairly standard presence across most apps. Other common filters allow users to get even more particular, inviting users to filter potential matches based on highly specific — sometimes eyebrow-raising — preferences, including height, race, education level, religious and political views, smoking and drinking habits, family planning goals, etc.

Despite ostensibly placing us only a swipe away from a much broader pool of romantic prospects, most dating apps also hand us the tools to limit our options more actively, and perhaps more aggressively, than ever before.

At a time when racial inequality dominates the headlines and the Black Lives Matter movement gains momentum there is a renewed focus on.

Does online dating break down barriers? Research suggests it does. In a paper released earlier this year, Reuben J. Thomas, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of New Mexico, looked at data from 3, people in and to establish how they met their partner. This is backed up by earlier studies. Online dating is linked to stronger marriages, a rise in interracial partnerships, and more breaking down of social barriers, according to a research analyzed last year by economics professors Josue Ortega at the University of Essex and Philipp Hergovich at the University of Vienna in Austria.

How dating apps promote sexual racism

You thank him, greet him hello yes, we are polite , and then wait for a reply. You acknowledge, because your profile is pretty complete, and again another question comes, this time more pointed. Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the world of dating apps. In a sea of pictures with scant basic information, my profile shows a cute smiling picture of me with my face in full view as well as the basic information one needs to get to know me.

And, no.

Grindr and Scruff are nixing the feature in response to Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality.

Autumn, 23, was unwinding after a long day of work when her phone beeped — it was a new message notification from Tinder. Is it true that once you go Black you never go back? From overtly sexual messages to microaggressions disguised as compliments, dealing with racial fetishization on dating apps has become a large part of dating for Black women like Autumn, and many other people of color.

But as dating apps continue to surge in popularity , fighting racism within dating means understanding how both users and popular app technology contribute to discrimination. As Dr. Reuben J. Thomas , associate professor of sociology at the University of New Mexico notes, the rise of online dating coincides with the rise of interracial and interreligious couples in the U.

Thomas tells Bustle.

Why is it OK for online daters to block whole ethnic groups?

S inakhone Keodara reached his breaking point last July. Loading up Grindr , the gay dating app that presents users with potential mates in close geographical proximity to them, the founder of a Los Angeles-based Asian television streaming service came across the profile of an elderly white man. He is now considering suing Grindr for racial discrimination.

Should we really be filtering people the same way we filter products on Amazon? dating app filters. Must love dogs. And God. And being over 6’1.

Racial preferences in dating are something that most people have as all people are attracted to different physical traits. While some online daters do have an open mind and care more about the person than their race or cultural background, certain demographics are more likely to have strict requirements concerning the races and cultures they are willing to interact with. Having this information can make it easier for online daters to meet their match.

Share this infographic on your website or within a blog post: Copy Paste This Code. More people are willing to engage in interracial marriage than they were in decades past. The percentage of people being very open to this idea has increased a lot since Loving vs. Virginia in which eliminated all state laws that banned interracial marriage in the US. There has been a big change just since A vocal racial bias can be a major turnoff to some people.

Over the years, whether someone was willing to date a person with a vocal racial bias has changed quite a bit. Why the percentage went up again after being on a downward trend for six years is unknown. The desire to date someone of the same race has decreased over the years. The races that are most open to dating outside of their race are Latinos, Asians and African Americans. White people tend to exclude African Americans more than any other race.

How Dating Apps Made Me Think Differently About The Colour Of My Skin

LONDON Thomson Reuters Foundation – Gay dating apps are scrambling to remove ethnicity filters in a bid to tackle racism, as violent protests over the killing of a black man in police custody rocked the United States for a second week. Using the hashtag BlackLivesMatter, Grindr, which allows its more than 4 million daily users to choose between five options, including black, Asian and Middle Eastern, said on Monday that it would remove the filters from its next release.

His death caused outrage across a nation that is politically and racially divided as it counts down to presidential elections in November, reigniting protests that have flared repeatedly in recent years over police killings of black Americans. Dating apps have long been plagued by accusations of sexual racism, as users have been allowed to choose which race they want to meet. Jevan Hutson, one of the authors of the Cornell study, said online dating sites and apps should be designed in ways that do not fuel such racist comments or prejudice.

Researchers have long documented the existence of a racial hierarchy within the U.S. dating world, with White women and men the most preferred partners.

Yue Qian does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. In fact, this is now one of the most popular ways heterosexual couples meet. Online dating provides users with access to thousands , sometimes millions, of potential partners they are otherwise unlikely to encounter. It is fascinating to see how online dating — with its expanded dating pools — transforms our dating prospects.

Can we broaden our social network to a variety of backgrounds and cultures by accessing thousands of profiles? Or do we limit our choice of partners through targeted searches and strict preference filters? When photos are readily available for users to evaluate before they decide to chat online or meet offline, who can say that love is blind?