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I hadn’t been on Tinder for long before I realized something was wrong: Hardly anyone was reciprocating my interest. None of my close friends, many of whom relied exclusively on the dating app to meet singles, seemed to be encountering this problem. Was there a grammatical error in my personal statement? What they found was that users placed a premium on members of their own race.
In 2009, Ok Trends, the research arm of the dating website Ok Cupid, parsed user data to determine racial preferences in online dating.
My dalliance with Tinder lasted for four weeks before I boarded up the account and returned to the world of low-tech, meat-and-potatoes courtship.
This was especially true of white users and women users.
In a crowded bar or coffee shop, one might—with an opportune —manage to scale the barrier of race, or at least be politely entertained, but this feat proves more difficult on dating apps and websites.
So, while users exercised greater discretion in their stated preference, in practice their actions remained the same..Even Asian women, by a small margin, preferred the company of white men to that of Asian men.A related study at Columbia tried to estimate how much men of different ethnic groups would need to earn to become as desirable to a woman as a man of her own race.More than 40 of these films had no Asian characters, while Asian men were by far the least sexualized of all race types. Of the Asian men that do appear on screen, most adhere to outdated stereotypes.Either they serve as scientist or sidekick, bereft of romantic feeling, or they act panic-stricken and skittish around members of the opposite gender.This multilateral web of discrimination is one reason for the balkanization of dating into factional—or “niche”—services.The role of media in shaping desire shouldn’t be overlooked.Gay men likewise encounter race-based discrimination on dating platforms.Grindr has come under scrutiny for the partisan practices of its users: Expedient shorthands like “no rice” and “no curry” are used to discourage Asians from communicating their interest.The event, which corralled graduate students of all backgrounds, provided each pairing with four minutes to strike up a conversation.Asian men, who accounted for over 20 percent of the dating body, were at a considerable disadvantage in the experiment.