Online dating and racial segregation?


Black people + white people?

As it turned out within one study performed by the group of researchers at the University of Berkeley, California, racial segregation is still alive when it comes to the question of online dating. Having analyzed more than one million (!) profiles at one of the most popular dating websites, the researchers came to the conclusion that in most cases white people are unlikely to initiate contact with black people with high probability.

This is true even when it is clearly stated in their profiles that they are indifferent about the culture/race/ethnicity of a potential candidate for dating. The point is that the initial aim of the researchers was to find homophily (a special term which means love of the same) in their study but, to their amazement, it happened so that the Internet today doesn’t help to “erode reluctance to date outside your own race”. In other words, “segregation remains a state of mind as much as it is a physical reality” as claimed by Gerald Mendelsohn, PhD, one of the professors who took part in the study.

The study also managed to indicate that more than eighty per cent of the communication initiated by white people was to other whites. And only three per cent of it went to black people. At the same time, black users of the same site were more open to dating whites and were more likely to contact white representatives. Moreover, according to the Berkeley research (which was actually a collaboration between Professor Mendelsohn, Lindsay Shaw Taylor, Coye Cheshire and Andrew T. Fiore), black women were the least likely group of those discussed in the study, to be contacted through the unnamed dating site. Black men, in their turn, were even slightly more likely to put down new roots with white women than black women.

Main reasons?

Professor Mendelsohn, explained the received study results the by the impact of cultural imperatives on the male American population. He admitted that, in the USA, the notions of feminine attractiveness were based almost entirely on the images of white females. And so the hypothesis is that there is no surprise that black men should contact white women, because that is just where the notions of who is attractive are set.

Despite the fact that the research doesn’t answer why online daters make certain choices of dating partners, it allowed to acknowledge that the USA hasn’t yet stepped into a so-called “post racial era” – at least online.

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