Study Shows That White Online Daters Rarely Date Black People

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A new study shows that when it comes to dating, the web is just as segregated as the real world.

Interracial dating ain't no thing, right? Not for white online daters, apparently. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, studied more than one milion online dating profiles to find that whites prefer dating other whites, while young black males are more open to dating outside of their race. Is Interracial Dating Racist?

Researchers studied the racial preferences and communications habits of users who subscribed to a major online dating service between 2009 and 2010. On their profiles, users stated who they wanted to date. Some were indifferent, some preferred to stay within their race, some favored people outside of their race, and the remainder of people were eager and open to dating anyone. Are Interracial Couples The Final Taboo?

 

Scientists then compared users' stated preferences with the people they actually contacted. More than 80 percent of activity initiated by whites was with other whites, while just 3 percent of that went to blacks. Meanwhile, only 5 percent of white users responded to contact from someone of another race. Even though plenty of white people claimed indifference to race, 80 percent of them displayed a preference for whites, while blacks who said they were open to dating any race were more likely to contact a non-black person.Tips On Interracial Dating

What's the deal? Are online daters racist? Are they hypocrites? The study's authors say that the answers aren't that simple. Jerry Mendelsohn, the U.C. Berkeley scientist who led the study, theorizes that the activity of black people online simply reflects how upward mobility works in the real world. In an effort to assimilate, minorities often break into the dominant population by intermarrying. On the other hand, it may be more of a hassle for a white person in America to date someone of another race, as the people around them might see that as a social downgrade. "You will have trouble with family, with friends, and every time you go to a restaurant people will be looking at you. So you think, Why bother?" says Mendelsohn in Time.

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