Racial segregation still present in online dating

Jordan Crawford | 2/12/2014, 9:42 a.m.
Race is still a factor in dating.

A person’s race is still a major factor when picking a partner, according to a study of dating app users.

Research examining the preferences of Facebook dating app, Are You Interested (AYI) found Black men and women receive fewer responses to their messages. It also found that men from all different races prefer a partner of another race over their own.

The data comes from AYI, one of the largest Facebook dating apps with over 70 million users and is similar to Tinder.

The site allows people looking for a date, or something more casual, to peruse through profiles of users and click ‘yes’ to show their interest or ‘skip’ to move on to the next. When a user clicks ‘yes’ the person they are interested in receives a notification that someone is interested and has the chance to respond.

The study looked at the gender and ethnicity of the people who responded to a ‘yes’ notification.

Researchers for the app looked at 2.4 million heterosexual interactions by users who were mostly over the age of 35, to collect the statistics.

The study found Black men and women get the lowest response rates to their messages. Most men, Except Asian men, prefer Asian women while all women, except black women, are most drawn to white men. It also found men from all racial groups tend to prefer women from races other than their own.

The data suggests that men are least likely to respond to ‘likes’ from Black women and did so 7.5 percent of the time, which is less often than for Asian, Latino and White women. Men respond to women around three times more often than women reply to men’s messages.

While these findings are disappointing, some aren’t surprised and are setting out to find out why.

“It’s like taboo in the Black community,” said Norfolk resident Darale White. “Yeah, you have your exclusive black dating sites, but let you as a Black person bring someone home and say you met them online. You’ll get so many side-eyes and out-the-side-of-the-mouth talk. It just seems like other races are more accepting of that type of situation.”

As a whole, Black people might not be that into online dating anyway due to the image and resulting negative perceptions. Online dating is often viewed as a last resort that many reluctantly turn to. According to a recent ABC News study, about 42 percent of Black women have never been married — twice the percentage of white women. Nowadays, black women are turning to the Internet to find love.

Others think education levels and career goals between Black men and women set them against each other in romance.

Brittany Reagan of Newport News said there are a fair number of Black men online but, not many have impressive educations.

Reagan tried online dating but stopped after two months of searching because every Black man who replied to her profile hadn’t gone to college, and had poor grammar and spelling skills.

Sadly, studies have found that only about 30 percent of Black men graduate from college, while 60 percent of Black women do.