If you’re a black woman, as I am, or an Asian man, Ok Cupid data shows that you’re likely to receive fewer matches and messages. It became glaringly obvious that I was getting far fewer matches and messages while online dating than my non-black friends.
For instance, in 2013, Ok Cupid removed users’ profile photos for one day, dubbing it “Love is Blind Day.” People couldn’t tell who was, well, what.
They complained bitterly, as OKCupid co-founder and president Christian Rudder chronicled in his book, “Dataclysm.” When the profile pictures returned, many conversations and interactions that had budded in the photos’ absence — and which Ok Cupid found to be qualitatively better than usual — fizzled.
And yet, while the actual number of interracial relationships in the United States is certainly climbing, the overwhelming majority of Americans are in relationships with another person of their same race.
In 2010, only about 15 percent of new marriages were interracial—bringing the total number up to 8.4 percent from 3.2 percent in 1980.
Another person I know is Black but has self-identified as mixed-race on Grindr because he gets little attention when he identifies himself as Black.
And the attention he does receive for identifying as Black isn’t favorable – it’s frequently unsolicited and racialized.In a chilling account discussed on the podcast, a Dating Ring user, upon receiving the name and phone number of a match, was said to have replied: “I hope that’s a typo, because that name doesn’t sound white to me.” Whenever someone tells me that discussing online dating is a waste of time, I refer to that anecdote and two sad truths about the online dating industry that Dating Ring’s founders discovered: First, giving people the tools to act on racial bias is profitable; and second, it is not fair to users who are discriminated against to be matched with people who are biased against their racial group and, as a result, will dismiss them as potential matches.So Dating Ring moved away from its original design.A few clicks put online dating in the rear-view mirror. Regardless of the type of app or site, online dating works better for some than others — a lot better, in fact. Chief among them was that I did not want to participate in platforms where users are given tools to discriminate based on race.The page Douchebags of Grindr features 57 pages of prize gems; screen shots of some of the most direct and exclusionary profiles around. “You’re dealing with people, who are naturally imperfect, you’re going to find those who can prefer a particular race or religion or cup size,” says relationship coach April Masini.