Last year my roommate Nola, who is in a happy and healthy relationship, asked me to help her create a fake online dating profile. And so, with the blessing of her boyfriend, Nola (a black woman) and myself (a brown woman) set out to create a fake profile for America’s most average white woman–just to see what kind of responses she’d get. While she’d heard plenty of horror stories involving OKCupid, she was curious to experience the hell that is online dating for herself.
Despite our attempts to make her as unremarkable as possible, our girl turned out to be immensely popular, receiving a steady slew of messages from men of all races. As an actual human who was legitimately looking for romance on OKC, her popularity bummed me out.
I had not enjoyed the response that our fake white girl enjoyed.
Sure, I’m not stock-photo pretty, but surely I could be pulling in more than a “heyy ;)” every few days.
I couldn’t help but pin some of the disparity on the color of my skin–not as something positive or negative, just as a reality of dating in America.
Whether or not we want to admit it, everyone who online dates is forced to confront how we feel about dating people of other races—and how other races feel about dating us. But while some people own their swiping patterns, others might not be as aware of how their views on race affect their choices, according to a study published in the .
The study, conducted by researchers at Tennessee State University and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, found that college-aged white men who endorse a “color-blind” ideology tend to be less attracted to black women compared to white men who don’t endorse this ideology.Men who endorse “multiculturalism,” however, tend to be more attracted to women of another race compared to men who don’t endorse multiculturalism.Before we get into the study, let’s talk “color-blindness.” People who endorse a “color-blind” ideology claim to not “see” race.They also believe that society should not take skin color into account—at all.This is a beautiful idea that evokes images of multi-colored stick figures connected under a rainbow. “Color-blindness” in practice assumes that everyone really does have access to the same opportunities, which is simply not the case.People who endorse “multiculturalism,” on the other hand, believe that society is a melting pot—and that different races indeed experience the world differently based on the color of their skin. In their work, the researchers wanted to see if the degree to which a man espoused “color-blindness” beliefs influenced the women he dug.