Do Racial Stereotypes Affect Your Dating Life?

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How does your race affect what you enjoy? It's a question everyone ponders, but that people rarely try answering for fear of non-PC implications. Enter the popular free dating site, OKCupid. Earlier this week, the company released a trend report, titled "The REAL 'Stuff White People Like,'" which used infographics to present the hobbies, tastes,  interests, and self-descriptions of various ethnic groups. To complete the study, OKCupid analyzed the personal essays in half a million of its profiles to isolate words and phrases specific to each racial group.Community: Does Race Play A Part When Dating?

The results were funny, if not stereotypical and a little pop-culture heavy. White males like Tom Clancy, Harley Davidson, and Van Halen, while white females went the escapist, sentimental route, claiming to enjoy Nicholas Sparks, bonfires, and horseback riding. Tips On Interracial Dating

Asian males described themselves by the phrase "I'm a simple guy" while laying out their careers: software developer, an engineer, and investing. Asian women, who also described themselves as "simple," listed surfing the net, sashimi, and Alicia Keys among their interests. Online Dating: 7 Signs You Shouldn't Date Him

"Soul food" was the most common phrase in black men and women's profiles. Black people's profiles were twice as likely as any to mention faith.

Latino men and women apparently love to sing dance: merengue, bachata, and salsa were among the top five interests most common interests written in their profiles. Indians, Pacific Islanders, and Middle Easterners also received the treatment, which you can see on the trend report itself.

Since the commentary made by OKCupid's blog writers is, at best, offhand and funny, we'd suggest that readers try not to take their "findings" too seriously. After all, the self-descriptions written on dating profiles often reflect who the person wants to be more than who he actually is.

As far as practical applications go, we'd recommend that you put aside these stereotypes when dating in real life, especially if you're dating outside of your race. Obviously, not all white women enjoy bonfires are describe themselves as country girls, so don't suggest a trip to Vermont just yet. And as an Asian woman, I can't tell you how annoying it is to have non-Asian men rely on "Asian things" in order to flirt with me. "Sashimi" might be one of our interests, but I wouldn't suggest taking someone out for sushi on a first date just to because she's Asian, and that's what she'd probably enjoy.

While it might be tempting to use OKCupid's report as a crutch or a primer to dating interracially, what's more important, especially when it comes to online dating, is to use interests individuals list out as a means of getting to know the person, not the race as a whole — even if you have a preference for dating a certain ethnic group. It's a little presumptuous to assume that a Latino woman will take you bachata dancing just because she's Domnincan, but if her profile specificially lists bachata as one of her interests, then by all means, ask her to teach you a couple of moves. Then again, if dancing isn't your main forte, you might want to reconsider it as a means to impress her.

Do racial stereotypes affect your dating life?