Are Dating Apps Racist?




Hello, I live in New York. I am Muslim and pretty much I’m open to having a relationship with anyone from any culture and religion. But I have been told that Caucasian American women only date American men. Is that true? Isn’t that discrimination? I’m sincere and respectful towards women but I have noticed that Caucasian women are too Judgmental and I don’t think that's fair. Even my co-worker from work who’s African-American told me that American women will only date Caucasian men. I have also been on dating site such as match.com, Bumble, zoosk.com, plenty of fish.com but didn’t have any luck. What’s your take on all this


I think it's important not to paint with such a broad brush stroke. Yes, some women only exclusively date Caucasian men. Yes, in my opinion, that is a form of discrimination. As I've mentioned before, choosing to date from only one or two races when there are a pool of options smacks of bias.


Don't just take my word for it. From the linked article:

First, the facts. Racial bias is rife in online dating. Black people, for example, are ten times more likely to contact white people on dating sites than vice versa. In 2014, OKCupid found that black women and Asian men were likely to be rated substantially lower than other ethnic groups on its site, with Asian women and white men being the most likely to be rated highly by other users.

In addition to this blatant prejudice, it seems dating app algorithms might be playing a role in who is seeing your profile. As if singles users of online dating sites and apps like Bumble and Tinder weren't up against enough, algorithms - especially ones that use image recognition software -enable these biases. If a person on swipes right on people of a specific race, their search results typically end up being heavy on people of that race. Apps also take it upon themselves to assume what a user's preference might be.


From Cornell University:

Algorithms can introduce discrimination, intentionally or not. In 2016, a Buzzfeed reporter found that the dating app CoffeeMeetsBagel showed users only potential partners of their same race, even when the users said they had no preference.

I share your criticisms of Bumble. I've said for years that their membership base was far too white. However, I think it's the most popular dating app there is right now, and singles should always go where the people are.


I'm going to suggest you delete your profile from Zoosk and Plenty of Fish, as they are both dumpster fires and attract an insane amount of scammers. My general rule of thumb is to avoid any dating site or dating app that's advertised on Facebook. That includes the Facebook Dating App. (Speaking of dumpster fires.) Just...no. You want to stick to the mainstream sites like OKCupid and Match.com. I actually think OKCupid has a more diverse database than Match.com. You also might want to take advantage of any reverse search capabilities. That way you can see the profiles of people that have selected your race as one of their preferences.


I've been researching interracial dating apps like Swirlr, Interracial People Meet and Interracial Cupid and I can't say I find them promising. I couldn't even get on to Swirl because of some kind of tech glitch. I logged on to the website via my laptop and wasn't impressed with how antiquated the site interface and profile templates looked. Interracial Cupid felt a little too scammy for me. Very few profiles and the app is associated with another called International Cupid which gave me all kinds of mail-order bride vibes.


You're also definitely going to want to use Tinder. Yeah, I know, hook-up app, blah blah. Tinder gets a bad rap, but one thing it has going for it is that it doesn't ask users to racially identify when creating a profile. I tend to think that apps that include race in their basic stats section (and most do) are likely to attract more racists.


I don't believe that all Caucasian women never date anyone but Caucasian men. Yes, many do, but that decision is an indication of internalized racism, so you wouldn't want to date them anyway. While you might struggle to match with Caucasian women, it's important to remember they're not the only women on those apps. I strongly recommend broadening your searches when using these dating apps.


On the subject of searches...


Ever wonder why you keep meeting the same type of person over and over and that type of person always ends up being, well, THE WORST? It could be that you're swiping habits are putting all the wrong people in your path. That, among other reasons, is why you need to diversify your searches and swiping sessions. If you only search for people of a certain height or certain body type or a certain age, not only are you more likely to see the same faces week after week, but you're missing out on people you might not meet otherwise.


What you consider Fit or Athletic might not be how others define those terms. Same goes for drinks regularly or socially. What's the difference? And, hey, what about those people who say they "might" want kids "some day?" What does that even mean? These terms are subjective. That's why you want to perform multiple searches using different search criteria for each one.


Adjust your searches and view/like/swipe on whomever catches your eye. While an algorithm might have a hand in deciding who you see when you search, you are in control of what behavior the algorithm observes. Change your swiping habits so your search results become more tailored to the type of person you seek.


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