Most people prefer to date someone of the same race; that’s not an opinion, it’s a fact, based on user data of 25 million OkCupid members. Which begs the somewhat uncomfortable question: does having a racial preference when dating make me racist? 

Looking at the data, we can see that white men do really well with women of all races. They are most likely to be considered attractive and to receive replies to messages, whereas black and Asian men fare far worse. 

On the opposite side, white and Asian women fare best, with black women struggling. This data holds true for same sex couples as well as heterosexual ones. 

In 2013, Essence magazine conducted a survey that found the majority of black women fell into one of four categories: the angry black woman, the baby mama, the uneducated sister, and the unhealthy and fat woman. Do any of these sound like attractive qualities in a partner? 

Asian men are also portrayed in a less than favourable way: either as overbearing sexist, geeky, or the sexless sidekick. Either way, they are virtually never the romantic lead. 

Conversely, positive reactions to a user’s profile can also reflect racist attitudes. Asian women report being approached by men believing they will be nothing but docile and submissive. 

While dating apps and websites provide visibility for people of all races and dispositions, it is a lack of positive stereotypes in the media that perpetuates negative racial stereotypes. 

It is understandable for someone to tend towards their own race, as they may feel they have more in common – especially if said person is from a minority. So in sum, we all fall prey to the racist stereotypes pedalled by the media, but we’re not completely blameless in terms of perpetuating the stereotypes ourselves.

Originally created and published by The Guardian.

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