Culture of online dating

Black white dating online interracial courtship in the 21st century

Black/White dating online: Interracial courtship in the 21st century,Black/White dating online: Interracial courtship in the 21st century

We analyzed personal profiles and records of communication for more than a million nationwide users of a major online dating site. White more than Black, women more than men, and old Black/White Dating Online: Interracial Courtship in the 21st Century Gerald A. Mendelsohn, Lindsay Shaw Taylor, Andrew T. Fiore, and Coye Cheshire University of California, Berkeley Black/White dating online: Interracial courtship in the 21st century Interracial courtship in the 21st century. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, Coye Cheshire A digital Black/White dating online: Interracial courtship in the 21st century. Black/White dating online: Interracial courtship in the 21st century. Posted in: Journal Article Abstracts on AdTry the #1 Military Dating Site Today. Over 1M Members. Join in 30 Seconds! Safe & Secure Dating. Safe & Secure. Start Meeting Military Locals, Today ... read more

Black users by a smaller margin were also more likely to con-tact someone of their own than of another eth-nicity, but cross-race Black to White contacts were much more probable for Black than for White users. The reciprocation data parallel the initiation data for White participants. Unless oth-erwise noted, large, highly significant z scores were obtained for all the comparisons that fol-low. Although there was consistency in direction across the two mea-sures, a comparison ofTable 3toTable 2shows that the effect was stronger for contacts initiated than for contacts reciprocated: Whites were Here, too, the direction of dif-ference is the same for reciprocations as for initiations and the effect is less strong for the former than for the latter.

Inspection of Table 3shows that reciproca-tions were to some extent a function of stated preferences. Users who stated a preference for. same only or different only were, as with con-tacts initiated, true to their word, and this was the case for Blacks and for Whites of both genders and at all ages. Again, the behavior of. the users who indicated an indifference to the race or ethnicity of a partner is of particular interest.

For White users of both genders whose stated preference was any , same-race exceeded cross-race reciprocations, including for the young. That is consistent with the data for con-tacts initiated, though the differences were more moderate in the reciprocation than in the contact data. There was less consistency between the two measures of revealed preference for Blacks of either gender whose stated preference cate-gory was any.

To summarize, on both measures of revealed preference, Black users showed more interest in cross-race dating than did White users. The size of the differences between White and Black participants was much greater in the initiation than in the recip-rocation data. The primary source of systematic quantita-tive data on romantic relationships between Blacks and Whites in the United States has been the decennial reports of the U.

Census Bu-reau. There is a literature, not an extensive one, on. interethnic dating that is based primarily on retrospection and self-report. The samples in these studies are typically of modest size, nar-rowly localized, and limited to young people. The increasingly widespread use of online dating services, however, has provided a new source of data that can, as in this study, be used to sub-stantially expand our knowledge of interracial courtship.

To establish context, we should briefly re-view the main findings in regard to patterns of interracial and interethnic marriage by Whites and Blacks. Blacks are more likely than Whites to be married to a spouse of a different race or ethnicity U. Rates of intermarriage for White men and women are nearly the same, but there is an important gender difference among Blacks; Black men are much more likely than Black women to be married to someone of a race or ethnicity not their own.

Census Bureau, Though marriage could perhaps be regarded as the ultimate measure of revealed preference, marriage as it is currently practiced in the United States depends on a joint decision, the coming together of two chains of preference that play out sequentially and interactively. The links in the chain are of many kinds— physical appearance, education, religion, and so forth—and, as our data show, race. The se-quence begins with decisions about the charac-teristics of the partner sought, represented in this study by the statements of racial and ethnic preferences in the profiles posted by the users.

The predictions that Whites more than Blacks,. women more than men, and older more than younger users would show a preference for dat-ing partners of their own race were confirmed by the results for stated preferences. The predictions were confirmed as well by the results for the first measure of revealed preferences, contacts initiated. The direction of the differences between White and Black users is not at all surprising.

It is, rather, the magni-tude of the differences that is impressive. In contrast, more than a third of the contacts initiated by Blacks went to Whites. Those are not minor effects.

Evi-dently, Whites are just not interested in dating Blacks. The data reveal that this was true at all age levels. That members of the generation that came to maturity after the successes of the civil rights movement and after the demise of anti-miscegenation laws were so little different in their preferences both stated and revealed from the generations that preceded them was not necessarily expectable.

What about users who stated no racial or ethnic preferences? Was their stated indiffer-ence to race and ethnicity reflected in their behavior? The answer for Whites is that it was not, for even among those who specified no preference, contacts to Whites predominated greatly and contacts to Blacks were at a low level irrespective of age.

In contrast, a majority of the contacts initiated by Black users in the category any were to members of races or eth-nicities other than their own, including Whites.

Finally, it should be noted that the gender dif-ferences among Black users—men being less likely than women to initiate same-race con-tacts—are consistent with the marriage data summarized above. White users not only initiated a higher per-centage of their contacts to members of their own race, they were also more likely to recip-rocate a contact from a White than from a Black initiator.

The difference in the rates of same-and cross-race reciprocations was not, however, nearly as extreme as the difference obtained for contacts initiated. Black users, in fact, were as a group more likely to reciprocate a message from a White person than from a Black person, though this overall effect was due to the males. White users who stated an indifference to race and ethnicity nevertheless reciprocated at a higher rate to Whites than to Blacks or others, but Blacks, both male and female whose stated preference was any reciprocated at a higher rate to Whites and others than to Blacks.

This was for the women a reversal of the pattern for messages initiated. For those who believe that increased rates of intermarriage would be a social gain, an impor-tant step in overcoming centuries of racism, the results of this study bring both encouraging and discouraging news.

A substantial percentage of Blacks, it is clear, was open to and interested in romantic relationships with Whites. Whites, however, both in their stated and revealed pref-erences did not show a comparable interest in dating Blacks. True, their reluctance to initiate contacts to Blacks was more extreme than their reciprocation behavior, which though also fa-voring Whites over Blacks did so at a more moderate level. One might have assumed from examining the initiation data that the probability of a White user reciprocating a contact from a Black person would be low but that proved not to be the case.

There is, it seems, an important psychological difference between deciding to initiate a cross-race contact and deciding whether or not to respond to one: The former requires actively crossing a boundary, but the latter does not, for the boundary has already been crossed. Instead of the potentially inhibit-ing uncertainty about how a cross-race message will be received, it is clear that a cross-race relationship, specifically with you, the recipient, is of interest to the person who made the con-tact.

To step across the boundary, that is, is. more difficult than to respond to someone who has already done so. The direction of the major difference between Black and White users—Whites more than Blacks were interested in dating members of their own race—was found for all three of the measures of preference.

At the same time, there were discrepancies among the measures both in magnitude and direction that raise an important methodological point for studies of dating, namely that stated preferences, contacts initi-ated, and contacts reciprocated are related but not interchangeable measures. Were they hypocrit-ical, alert to the realities of the social world, striving for political correctness, attempting an optimizing strategy of self-presentation? Our data do not permit us to choose among those alternatives, but the disparity between what was said and what was done make predictions about the future difficult.

Judging from their stated preferences, the younger generation will be a bit more open to intermarriage than their predeces-sors. Judging from their behavior, change is likely to be a slow process. Because, as we have seen, preferences vary as a function of race, age, and gender and dif-ferent measures of preference do not necessarily yield the same results, it is difficult to compare our findings with those of studies that do not take account of those distinctions.

Is there, for example, a same-race preference, stronger in women than in men, as suggested by some previous research? In our data, yes and no. Whites initiated a large majority of their con-tacts to members of their own race, but with only a minor difference between men and wom-en.

Black men, however, initiated a higher per-centage of their contacts to Whites than to Blacks. Meanwhile, a majority of young men and a third of young women stated no racial or. ethnic preferences, while older users, women more than men, did state a same-race prefer-ence. There is a devil lurking in the details. It is, perhaps for that reason, that our findings do not support the conclusions about the dating behav-ior of White and Black users published on the OkCupid blog.

But our data paint a different picture; more than half the reciprocations of Black men were to Black women, and that was true in all age groups. That White men show little interest in dating Black women is not a point of con-tention. This is all to say that it is increasingly reasonable to have confidence in the general-izability to offline behavior of findings from a large sample of users of an online dating site such as ours.

We must acknowledge some problems, however. As we pointed out, the findings of the present study are not always in agreement with the findings of other studies of online dating sites. That is, in part, because of differences in methodology and sampling, but undoubtedly differences among online sites also contribute. Some sites cater to spe-cific populations, some attempt to use a matching algorithm to pair users or to assess compatibility.

This may make exposure to out-group. mem-This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers. bers less likely unless the user explicitly seeks it. Some, like eHarmony, present only the top matches as determined by the site, not allowing users to search freely for other pro-files.

The site from which our data come included both searching and matching func-tionality but put little emphasis on metrics of compatibility and did not constrain users from freely searching or browsing profiles. Thus, relative to other sites, it provides a service that is more like an open market for potential dating partners than a guided tour of the pos-sibilities. Moreover, the sample is nation-wide, with no restrictions of city, state, or region.

Still, the question remains of the ex-tent to which our results can be generalized to offline behavior. All show, for example, that Blacks, men especially, are far more willing than Whites to form interracial romantic re-lationships. The similarity of the findings across these three sources of data gives reason to believe that the results of the present study of online dating are informative about the contemporary state of interracial courtship more generally.

The observed similarity between online and offline behavior has another important impli-cation. We pointed out in the introduction that because of segregation, the proximity of Whites and Blacks is sharply limited, but that in the social environment of the Internet, seg-regation, at least in its physical sense, is not a factor. To find, then, that the patterning of romantic relationships between Whites and Blacks is so similar in these two different social environments suggests that, in effect, segregation is as much a psychological phe-nomenon, a state of mind, as it is a physical reality.

Despite the recognition that there are impor-tant differences between dating and marriage, it remains the case, as Tucker and Mitchell-Kerman observed in , that we lack theories. Instead, the theoretical questions and approaches character-istic of studies of interracial dating have been imported from the literature on interracial mar-riage. That theorizing has generally followed an exchange approach to the explanation of inter-marriage.

The core assumption of exchange ap-proaches is that during courtship members of each race trade resources power, money, good looks, education, etc. in an effort to maintain and enhance social position. However, the validity of this assumption and its empirical standing have recently been questioned by re-searchers. Rosenfeld , argues that the predominant exchange-based interpretive framework, status-exchange theory Davis, ; Merton, , is not empirically well-supported.

But it does seem to be the case that in a structural sense, Blacks profit more from an interracial relationship than do Whites. It is not clear, then, just what is being exchanged for the higher status of Whites.

And it is likewise puzzling, given the evidence that Black women are having diffi-culty finding suitable mates of their own race Banks, ; Dixon, , that it is Black men rather than Black women who show the stronger preference for interracial dating and marriage. However, our data, particularly the re-ciprocation data, do not confirm his argument.

Perhaps that should not be surprising. Studies of assimilation. have, until recently, focused primarily on im-migrants of European origin. The ancestors of African Americans, however, did not come to this country voluntarily to seek freedom or eco-nomic improvement. Our current conceptions of assimilation may be of limited relevance to a population originally enslaved, chronically den-igrated, and for most of its history systemati-cally excluded from political and economic power.

In sum, we con-clude that there is not a good fit between the data and extant theories of interracial dating. Whatever the state of the theoretical liter-ature on interracial dating, empirically one finding stands out: A substantial percentage of Black daters are open to a relationship with someone of a different race or ethnicity, but the great majority of White daters are not.

But the question of why Whites, even as their stated prefer-ences become more open, are unwilling to venture away from a partner of their own race, particularly to a Black person, is not one about which we have much empirical infor-mation. Theories of social identity, in-group favoritism, and racism e.

A better un-derstanding of the revealed preferences of Whites is, however, a matter of some impor-tance because the dominant group in society is effectively the gatekeeper whose choices can promote or impede intermarriage. Despite the changes in the law and in attitudes during the past half cen-tury, it would be premature to conclude that we have entered the postracial era; if our data are any indication, it appears that waiting for its arrival will take some patience. Banks, R. Is marriage for white people?

New York, NY: Dutton. Berscheid, E. Attraction and close relationships. Gilbert, S. Lindzey Eds. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. Blackwell, D. Homog-amy among dating, cohabiting and married cou-ples. The Sociological Quarterly, 45, — Blau, P. Crosscutting social circles: Testing a macrostructural theory of intergroup relations.

New York, NY: Academic Press. Bratter, J. But will it last? Family Relations, 57, — doi: Childs, E. Navigating interracial borders. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

Clark-Ibanez, M. Craig-Henderson, K. Black men in inter-racial relationships. New Brunswick, NJ: Trans-action Publishers. Devine, P. Stereotypes and prejudice: Their automatic and controlled components. Jour-nal of PersoJour-nality and Social Psychology, 56, 5— Dixon, P. Marriage among African Ameri-cans: What does the research reveal? Journal of. Dovidio, J. One the nature of contempo-rary prejudice: The third wave. Journal of Social. On the nature of contemporary prejudice: The causes, consequences, and challenges of aversive racism.

Fiske Eds. Fang, C. Ro-mance across the social status continuum: Interra-cial marriage and the ideological asymmetry ef-fect. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 29, — Feliciano, C. Social Problems, 58, — Gendered racial exclusion among white internet daters. Social Science Research, 38, 39 — Fiore, A.

Mendelsohn, G. There is a devil lurking in the details. It is, cial contacts, when both contacts received and perhaps for that reason, that our findings do not rates of reciprocation were taken into account, support the conclusions about the dating behav- we found that the percentage of all reciproca- ior of White and Black users published on the tions by Whites that went to Blacks was about OkCupid blog. The direction of the major difference between Rudder, , italics original , has received a This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers.

Black and White users—Whites more than good deal of public notice see, e. But our data paint a different picture; their own race—was found for all three of the more than half the reciprocations of Black men measures of preference.

At the same time, there were to Black women, and that was true in all were discrepancies among the measures both in age groups. That White men show little interest magnitude and direction that raise an important in dating Black women is not a point of con- methodological point for studies of dating, tention.

namely that stated preferences, contacts initi- ated, and contacts reciprocated are related but Generalizability not interchangeable measures. Were they hypocrit- working has become a commonplace. Our Thomas, ; testimony to its role in the data do not permit us to choose among those formation of long-term relationships is plen- alternatives, but the disparity between what was tiful.

Judging from their stated sample met on the Internet, a percentage ap- preferences, the younger generation will be a bit proaching that of the leader, met through more open to intermarriage than their predeces- friends.

This is all to say that it is increasingly sors. Judging from their behavior, change is reasonable to have confidence in the general- likely to be a slow process. izability to offline behavior of findings from a Because, as we have seen, preferences vary large sample of users of an online dating site as a function of race, age, and gender and dif- such as ours.

We must acknowledge some ferent measures of preference do not necessarily problems, however. As we pointed out, the yield the same results, it is difficult to compare findings of the present study are not always in our findings with those of studies that do not agreement with the findings of other studies take account of those distinctions.

Is there, for of online dating sites. That is, in part, because example, a same-race preference, stronger in of differences in methodology and sampling, women than in men, as suggested by some but undoubtedly differences among online previous research? In our data, yes and no. sites also contribute. Some sites cater to spe- Whites initiated a large majority of their con- cific populations, some attempt to use a tacts to members of their own race, but with matching algorithm to pair users or to assess only a minor difference between men and wom- compatibility.

On almost every dating site, en. Black men, however, initiated a higher per- the pool of profiles the site makes most read- centage of their contacts to Whites than to ily visible to a user is at least somewhat Blacks. Instead, the seeks it. Some, like eHarmony, present only theoretical questions and approaches character- the top matches as determined by the site, not istic of studies of interracial dating have been allowing users to search freely for other pro- imported from the literature on interracial mar- files.

The site from which our data come riage. That theorizing has generally followed an included both searching and matching func- exchange approach to the explanation of inter- tionality but put little emphasis on metrics of marriage.

The core assumption of exchange ap- compatibility and did not constrain users from proaches is that during courtship members of freely searching or browsing profiles. Thus, each race trade resources power, money, good relative to other sites, it provides a service looks, education, etc. in an effort to maintain This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.

that is more like an open market for potential and enhance social position. However, the This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers.

dating partners than a guided tour of the pos- validity of this assumption and its empirical sibilities. Moreover, the sample is nation- standing have recently been questioned by re- wide, with no restrictions of city, state, or searchers. Rosenfeld , argues that region. Still, the question remains of the ex- the predominant exchange-based interpretive tent to which our results can be generalized to framework, status-exchange theory Davis, offline behavior.

A direct empirical compari- ; Merton, , is not empirically well- son between dating online and in the flesh supported. But it does seem to be the case that might be useful, but note that in their overall in a structural sense, Blacks profit more from an outlines our preference data, stated and re- interracial relationship than do Whites. terracial dating. All show, for example, that , which given the income and educational Blacks, men especially, are far more willing disparities in the United States, they are un- than Whites to form interracial romantic re- likely to do on average.

It is not clear, then, just lationships. The similarity of the findings what is being exchanged for the higher status of across these three sources of data gives reason Whites. And it is likewise puzzling, given the to believe that the results of the present study evidence that Black women are having diffi- of online dating are informative about the culty finding suitable mates of their own race contemporary state of interracial courtship Banks, ; Dixon, , that it is Black more generally.

men rather than Black women who show the The observed similarity between online and stronger preference for interracial dating and offline behavior has another important impli- marriage.

Theoretically, the gender experienc- cation. However, our data, particularly the re- nomenon, a state of mind, as it is a physical ciprocation data, do not confirm his argument. Perhaps that Kerman observed in , that we lack theories should not be surprising. A better un- migrants of European origin. The ancestors of derstanding of the revealed preferences of African Americans, however, did not come to Whites is, however, a matter of some impor- this country voluntarily to seek freedom or eco- tance because the dominant group in society nomic improvement.

Our current conceptions of is effectively the gatekeeper whose choices assimilation may be of limited relevance to a can promote or impede intermarriage. If the formation of intimate relationships been forthcoming. Despite the changes in the This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly. is a key marker of assimilation, the evidence law and in attitudes during the past half cen- This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers.

In sum, we con- its arrival will take some patience. clude that there is not a good fit between the data and extant theories of interracial dating. Is marriage for white people? New York, NY: Dutton. Berscheid, E. Attraction and Whatever the state of the theoretical liter- close relationships.

Gilbert, S. Lindzey Eds. New York, NY: of Black daters are open to a relationship with McGraw-Hill. someone of a different race or ethnicity, but Blackwell, D. Homog- amy among dating, cohabiting and married cou- the great majority of White daters are not. The Sociological Quarterly, 45, — x to risk in the reaction of third parties Blau, P. But will it last? Family Relations, 57, — x Buss, D. The handbook of evolutionary a , endogamy is much the easier course psychology.

New York, NY: Wiley. for a White person to follow. But the question Carroll, J. Most Americans ap- of why Whites, even as their stated prefer- prove of interracial marriages.

aspx race, particularly to a Black person, is not one Childs, E. Navigating interracial borders. about which we have much empirical infor- New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

Theories of social identity, in-group Clark-Ibanez, M. Interethnic favoritism, and racism e. Coates, T. The Atlantic. A desire to maintain the Craig-Henderson, K. Black men in inter- power and status relationships that work to racial relationships.

Intermarriage in caste societies. ing a romantic relationship. Howard Journal of American Anthropologist, 43, — doi: Communications, 11, 49 — Stereotypes and prejudice: Hitsch, G. Their automatic and controlled components. Jour- Matching and sorting in online dating.

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Generations This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers. rary prejudice: The third wave. Journal of Social Online in Intermarriage and homogamy: Dovidio, J. On the Causes, patterns, trends. Annual Review of Sociol- nature of contemporary prejudice: The causes, ogy, 24, — Fiske Eds. A compar- The problem and the response pp. Thou- ative perspective on intermarriage: Exploring dif- sand Oaks, CA: Sage.

ferences among national-origin groups in the Fang, C. Ro- United States. Demography, 47, — doi: mance across the social status continuum: Interra- The millenials. A fect. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 29, portrait of generation next. Racial Knox, D.

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Race and Society 5 U. Census Bureau. Statistical abstract of the 33— Carol Glasser. Employing a United States sample of 5, Yahoo heterosexual internet dating profiles, this study finds race—ethnicity and gender influence body type preferences for dates, with men and whites significantly more likely than women and non-whites to have such preferences.

White males are more likely than non-white men to prefer to date thin and toned women, while African-American and Latino men are significantly more likely than white men to prefer female dates with thick or large bodies. Jesus G Smith. Russell Robinson. Brandon A Robinson. Ideology and counter- hegemonic discourses of 'race' and racism: A digital ethnography of online interracial dating community AfroRomance.

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Ebony and Ivory? Psychology of Popular Media Culture © American Psychological Association , Vol. Mendelsohn, Lindsay Shaw Taylor, Andrew T. Fiore, and Coye Cheshire University of California, Berkeley We analyzed personal profiles and records of communication for more than a million nationwide users of a major online dating site.

White more than Black, women more than men, and old more than young users stated a preference for a same-race partner. This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly. Overall, Blacks, especially Black men, proved more open to cross-race dating than did This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers.

This sharp difference held for men and women and even for those who stated no racial or ethnic preference in their profiles. Blacks were 10 times more likely to contact Whites than Whites were to contact Blacks. Reciprocations to messages showed the same trends, but more moderately. The percentage of Black respon- Act. Nine years later, the Supreme Court ruled dents approving has been consistently higher that antimiscegenation laws were unconstitu- than the percentage not approving, but the per- tional.

Despite being unenforceable, The change in attitude has history, interracial couples have had to contend been paralleled by a change in behavior. During with a less than friendly environment. Recent the same year period, the prevalence of evidence indicates, however, that in the past Black—White marriages increased more than four decades there has been a marked change in fivefold. Gallup Poll data collected in United States are between a White and a Black person U. Census Bureau, , a rate well below what would be expected by chance.

Even among newlyweds in , a group that is on Gerald A. Mendelsohn and Lindsay Shaw Taylor, De- average considerably younger than the general partment of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley; population, the percentage of Black—White mar- Andrew T.

This research was supported in part by the National lor, Science Foundation, HSD-IIS It is not surprising that the rate of Black— Andrew T. Fiore is now at Facebook, Inc.

White intermarriage remains so low despite the Lindsay Shaw Taylor is self-employed. Correspondence concerning this article should be ad- changes in law and attitude, for marriage be- dressed to Gerald A. Mendelsohn, Tolman Hall, tween a White and a Black person has long been Berkeley, CA E-mail: jermend berkeley.

edu a special case in the United States. Although the legal impediments been available. Studies of online dating have an have been removed, those stemming from ste- important advantage over prior studies that have reotypes and prejudice remain in force. What This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly. The research makes online dating behavior particularly inter- This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers.

literature on interpersonal attraction would like- esting is the freedom of choice available to wise lead to the expectation that romantic rela- daters—they are free to state preferences and to tionships between Blacks and Whites would be contact and reply to whom they wish in near rare.

It is well established that proximity and anonymity and with no direct intrusion of third similarity are positively associated with attrac- parties. has begun to accumulate. Studies by Feliciano, Intermarriage and the courtship that precedes Robnett, and Komaie, ; Robnett and Fel- it are central elements in the processes of as- ciano , and Feliciano, Lee, and Robnett similation by minority groups.

By that standard, it is clear that action. Women and Whites more than men and to date there has been only limited progress in African Americans indicated a preference for the assimilation of African Americans. But, partners of their own race, and members of plainly, attitudes are changing and so too, minority groups were more open to dating thanks to the Internet, is the social environment Whites than Whites were to dating them.

The in which courtship takes place. Increasingly, as the use of online dating , who downloaded about a thousand on- services grows, people whose paths would line profiles from locations across the nation, never have crossed offline now regularly meet and by Sweeney and Borden in a sample and have meaningful exchange in the virtual of young aged 21—30 years online daters in world. Segregation—in housing, religious wor- Atlanta. Results for each form not necessarily consistent with what users state of preference are important in their own right, their preferences to be.

There are, to date, only but to have all three available permits an exam- a few studies that have analyzed contact data, ination of the consistencies and inconsistencies but those that do confirm the importance of race among them. Will, for example, the widespread and gender in online dating. For example, preferences online? White women were more likely to respond to The goal of the current research was to fur- This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers.

A study by Hitsch, Horta- amining concurrently the stated and revealed çsu, and Ariely conducted in in two preferences of Black and White users of a major urban areas demonstrated same-race prefer- online dating site. The study is based on a ences for men and, more strongly, for women. nationwide sample of more than a million par- There was, however, an inconsistency between ticipants who were seeking a date with a mem- stated and revealed preferences for women: Women who stated no preference in regard to ber of the opposite sex.

The observed gender dif- dergone in the last half century, it is on ferences in these studies are consistent with Black—White dating that we will focus this evolutionary theory, which predicts that women initial report. The major questions to be ad- will be more selective in choosing a mate than dressed follow: will men Buss, ; Trivers, Together, the above studies suggest that 1 1.

individuals say they want can differ from what 2. To what extent do Black and White daters their behavior reveals about their preferences.

In particular, what are the rel- current research. Since the classic studies of ative rates of Black—Black, Black—White, LaPiere , the discrepancy between atti- White—White, and White—Black contacts tudes and behavior has been amply documented initiated by participants?

in the social psychological literature Fiske, ; Kraus, ; Wicker, With respect 3. To what extent do Black and White daters to online dating, it is what participants say they reciprocate contacts they have received are interested in that has been most readily online from Black and from White per- accessible to researchers.

As yet, we know little sons? about what they actually do, about what choices 4. For each of the questions 1 , 2 and 3 , they make when initiating contacts and when do the results vary as a function of the age responding to contacts they have received.

The and gender of the participant? according to the race Black vs. for White than for Black participants, b for women than for men, and c for older than for Variables of Interest younger online daters. From the data to which we were granted Method access on the site logs, we report the following: This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.

As part of their personal profile, us- This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers. For this article, we selected dating site from February to February only those who self-identified as African Amer- the dating site, the researchers obtained permis- Stated preferences.

We divided users into four pos- made available by the dating site. The records sible categories based on their selections: 1 were linked by anonymous ID numbers, which those who specified only their own race only we used to record sender ID number, recipient same ; 2 those who specified only a group or ID number, date, and time for exchanged mes- groups other than their own only different ; 3 sages.

At no time were the contents of any those who specified more than one race or eth- messages available to the researchers. nicity, including their own same and other ; The profiles contained demographic charac- and 4 those who indicated no preferences teristics, including age, sex, race, religion, edu- any.

Any was the default; users who did not cation, and so forth, both sought and offered, specify a preference were automatically as- that is, profile owners described their own char- signed this label. Note that stated preferences acteristics and those desired in an ideal mate.

counted the number of times a Black or White user sent an initial message to a Black or White Sample Characteristics recipient. This count included only the first message sent by a user to a recipient, not any We report data for Black and White hetero- replies or subsequent messages.

We then aggre- sexual users of the site. the users in this sample was ing in Table 1 the distribution of stated prefer- Messages reciprocated. Rates aged 20 to 39 years stated a preference for only same. percentages summed across preference catego- users. Counts of contacts reciprocated, as for This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers. contacts received, were based only on the first We conducted a series of chi-square analyses contact between users; subsequent messaging on the data presented in Table 1.

The first, and was not included in the totals. and the second of the than to White users who contacted them. four categories of stated preference only same, only different, etc. We found ences are shown in Tables 1—3. Note that in the gender, Black—White, and age differences.

Only same Young 95 01 97 01 07 85 03 94 Middle 95 01 98 00 07 87 03 94 Old 97 00 98 00 07 86 06 92 Across age 95 01 98 01 07 86 04 94 This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly. Same and other Young 84 01 85 06 25 54 14 76 This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers.

Middle 84 01 90 04 26 54 14 79 Old 88 01 95 01 33 54 26 68 Across age 84 01 89 04 26 54 15 77 Only different Young 19 19 13 72 66 07 79 08 Middle 22 18 14 74 72 06 77 09 Old 24 09 46 42 82 06 80 15 Across age 21 18 14 71 70 06 78 09 Any Young 80 03 81 08 45 31 43 44 Middle 80 04 89 05 49 29 31 61 Old 86 03 94 03 56 27 52 41 Across age 80 04 84 07 47 30 40 49 Across age and pref.

Columns in bold type show same-race contacts. Though still low, behavior. gory any. The most striking feature of the table is the In sum, Whites more than Blacks and women difference between the behavior of the White more than men stated a preference for a partner and the Black users. Whites and at all ages. Only same Young 20 10 13 07 14 24 08 15 Middle 24 15 18 11 15 24 10 21 Old 27 18 28 13 13 26 15 27 Across age 23 13 16 09 15 24 09 17 This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.

Same and other Young 20 14 14 13 21 21 13 15 This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers. Middle 24 18 20 17 23 24 18 22 Old 26 21 30 19 32 30 23 30 Across age 23 17 18 15 22 23 15 17 Only different Young 15 32 06 21 28 11 22 9 Middle 17 29 09 27 31 15 26 13 Old 17 31 23 35 42 28 17 19 Across age 16 30 08 23 30 14 23 10 Any Young 20 16 21 18 25 20 21 16 Middle 24 23 19 15 28 22 21 20 Old 27 25 29 19 31 23 28 28 Across age 23 20 21 17 26 21 21 17 Across age and pref.

All percents are calculated within cell by dividing the number of reciprocations by the number of contacts received for each subgroup. Columns in bold type show reciprocations to same-race senders. Values in the bottom row show the overall reciprocation rates for White and Black men and women to White and Black initiators, collapsing across age and stated preference. If, that is, Blacks. Blacks, that is, tacts would have been relatively uncommon.

Chi-squares of great magnitude were obtained in separate analyses of the data of the and the number sent to Black recipients well men and of the women in the sample, as they below the expected values. Black users sent were for all of the comparisons cited in the text. fewer messages than expected to White recipi- Note that because in the calculation of the chi- ents and more than expected to Black recipients. squares, the expected cell frequencies were While the distribution of ethnic groups and the based on the marginal values, the greater repre- differing range of opportunities available to sentation of Whites than Blacks in the sample Black and White users in the sample probably was taken into account by these analyses.

This figure to some degree in the revealed prefer- is a point of importance because there is a ences reported above, they cannot serve as an plausible, but incorrect, explanation of the dif- adequate explanation of the findings.

The percentages of same- and White and Black users. When White users did cross-race contacts initiated by Blacks who initiate a contact to someone not of their own specified any were not nearly as discrepant. be to a White person. This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers.

Overall in the category any, Black users Black and White participants, but the effect was were seven times more likely to contact a White far stronger for White males than for White person than White users were to contact a Black females.

For Black women, same-race contacts Black female, etc. Among Whites, the strong pre- race. This pattern of recipient. revealed preferences varied across the four cat- Inspection of Table 2 makes it clear that the egories of stated preference. Users whose stated disinclination of Whites to contact members of preference was for same only were true to their other races or ethnicities, in particular Blacks, word.

In this group of online daters, the per- was true at all ages, including among young centage of same-race contacts initiated by users. by younger White users were to Black recipi- Users whose stated preference was for different ents.

This is higher than the percent initiated by only were likewise true to their word. The probability of races or ethnicities other than Black or White. initiating a cross-race contact was substantially Of the four categories of stated preference, greater for Blacks than for Whites. Further, the greatest interest, we think, attaches to the whereas White men and White women behaved behavior of the users in the category any, the in a similar fashion, Black men and women did users who, in effect, indicated an indifference to not.

A distinct majority of Black women fa- race. There ethnicity other than their own; White-to-Black are sound empirical grounds for having con- contacts, in particular, were rare.

Black users by fidence that these conclusions are not an ar- a smaller margin were also more likely to con- tifact of the preponderance of White users and tact someone of their own than of another eth- profiles in the population under study. nicity, but cross-race Black to White contacts were much more probable for Black than for Messages Reciprocated White users. The reciprocation data parallel the initiation data for White participants. reciprocation data.

Gerald A. Mendelsohn, Lindsay Shaw Taylor, Andrew T. Fiore, and Coye Cheshire University of California, Berkeley. We analyzed personal profiles and records of communication for more than a million nationwide users of a major online dating site. White more than Black, women more than men, and old more than young users stated a preference for a same-race partner.

Overall, Blacks, especially Black men, proved more open to cross-race dating than did Whites. This sharp difference held for men and women and even for those who stated no racial or ethnic preference in their profiles.

Blacks were 10 times more likely to contact Whites than Whites were to contact Blacks. Reciprocations to messages showed the same trends, but more moderately.

Keywords: interracial dating, interethnic courtship, online dating, interpersonal attraction,. Nine years later, the Supreme Court ruled that antimiscegenation laws were unconstitu-tional. The ruling came three centuries after the first antimiscegenation statute was enacted in the United States. Recent evidence indicates, however, that in the past four decades there has been a marked change in attitudes toward marriage between a Black and a White person.

Gallup Poll data collected in. The change in attitude has been paralleled by a change in behavior. During the same year period, the prevalence of Black—White marriages increased more than fivefold.

Census Bureau, , a rate well below what would be expected by chance. It is not surprising that the rate of Black— White intermarriage remains so low despite the changes in law and attitude, for marriage be-tween a White and a Black person has long been a special case in the United States. Only nine Gerald A. Mendelsohn and Lindsay Shaw Taylor,.

De-partment of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley; Andrew T. Fiore and Coye Cheshire, School of Information, University of California, Berkeley. Correspondence concerning this article should be ad-dressed to Gerald A. Mendelsohn, Tolman Hall, Berkeley, CA E-mail:jermend berkeley. This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers.

This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly. states, including Hawaii and Alaska, have never had an antimiscegenation law and it was not until that more than half the states were without one.

Although the legal impediments have been removed, those stemming from ste-reotypes and prejudice remain in force. The research literature on interpersonal attraction would like-wise lead to the expectation that romantic rela-tionships between Blacks and Whites would be rare. Intermarriage and the courtship that precedes it are central elements in the processes of as-similation by minority groups. By that standard, it is clear that to date there has been only limited progress in the assimilation of African Americans.

But, plainly, attitudes are changing and so too, thanks to the Internet, is the social environment in which courtship takes place.

Increasingly, as the use of online dating services grows, people whose paths would never have crossed offline now regularly meet and have meaningful exchange in the virtual world.

It is, of course, too early to know whether the change in possibilities will result in a change of. actualities, but the study of patterns of online dating can provide more detailed information about interracial courtship than has hitherto been available.

Studies of online dating have an important advantage over prior studies that have largely relied on self-report measures, in that they allow researchers to focus on actual court-ing behavior, potentially consequential behav-ior, rather than on what participants say they have done or would be willing to do. What makes online dating behavior particularly inter-esting is the freedom of choice available to daters—they are free to state preferences and to contact and reply to whom they wish in near anonymity and with no direct intrusion of third parties.

Thus, the data collected from online dating sites can make a distinctive contribution to the understanding of intergroup relations and minority group assimilation in contemporary American society. Although in its early stages, a literature on the role of race and ethnicity in online dating has begun to accumulate. Studies byFeliciano, Robnett, and Komaie, ; Robnett and Fel-ciano , and Feliciano, Lee, and Robnett made use of a large sample of profiles collected in four urban areas from heterosexual users age 18 —50 years of a major online dat-ing site.

Their results show that preferences vary as a function of ethnicity and gender and their inter-action. Women and Whites more than men and African Americans indicated a preference for partners of their own race, and members of minority groups were more open to dating Whites than Whites were to dating them.

Findings consistent with these were reported by Yancey b, , who downloaded about a thousand on-line profiles from locations across the nation, and bySweeney and Borden in a sample of young aged 21—30 years online daters in Atlanta. Statements of preference, however, may or may not be in accord with preferences as revealed in contact behavior, that is, decisions about whom to.

con-This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers. tact and to whom to reply when contacted are not necessarily consistent with what users state their preferences to be. There are, to date, only a few studies that have analyzed contact data, but those that do confirm the importance of race and gender in online dating.

A study byHitsch, Horta-çsu, and Ariely conducted in in two urban areas demonstrated same-race prefer-ences for men and, more strongly, for women. The observed gender dif-ferences in these studies are consistent with evolutionary theory, which predicts that women will be more selective in choosing a mate than will men Buss, ;Trivers, This distinction between stated and revealed preferences will be of central concern in the current research.

Since the classic studies of LaPiere , the discrepancy between atti-tudes and behavior has been amply documented in the social psychological literature Fiske, ;Kraus, ;Wicker, With respect to online dating, it is what participants say they are interested in that has been most readily accessible to researchers.

As yet, we know little about what they actually do, about what choices they make when initiating contacts and when responding to contacts they have received. The particular strength of the data set we analyzed is that we have available for each participant in-formation on both stated preferences and on two forms of revealed preference, contacts initiated. and contacts reciprocated. Results for each form of preference are important in their own right, but to have all three available permits an exam-ination of the consistencies and inconsistencies among them.

The goal of the current research was to fur-ther our knowledge of interracial dating by ex-amining concurrently the stated and revealed preferences of Black and White users of a major online dating site.

The study is based on a nationwide sample of more than a million par-ticipants who were seeking a date with a mem-ber of the opposite sex. Given the historical signif-icance of relations between White and Black people in the United States and the marked changes, legal and attitudinal, they have un-dergone in the last half century, it is on Black—White dating that we will focus this initial report.

The major questions to be ad-dressed follow:. To what extent do Black and White daters. In particular, what are the rel-ative rates of Black—Black, Black—White, White—White, and White—Black contacts initiated by participants? To what extent do Black and White daters reciprocate contacts they have received online from Black and from White per-sons?

For each of the questions 1 , 2 and 3 , do the results vary as a function of the age and gender of the participant? Note that by comparing the answer to the first question to the answers to questions 2 and 3 we can reach some conclusions about the. consis-This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers. We predicted on empirical and theoretical grounds that greater stated and revealed prefer-ences for same-race partners will be found a for White than for Black participants, b for women than for men, and c for older than for younger online daters.

We collected online dating profiles and re-cords of messages exchanged among the owners of those profiles from a major American online dating site from February to February Through a cooperative agreement with the dating site, the researchers obtained permis-sion to parse, store, and aggregate profile con-tents and message records on a secure server made available by the dating site.

The records were linked by anonymous ID numbers, which we used to record sender ID number, recipient ID number, date, and time for exchanged mes-sages. At no time were the contents of any messages available to the researchers.

The profiles contained demographic charac-teristics, including age, sex, race, religion, edu-cation, and so forth, both sought and offered, that is, profile owners described their own char-acteristics and those desired in an ideal mate. For each characteristic, online daters could pick only one value for themselves i. We report data for Black and White hetero-sexual users of the site.

The sample comprised more than one million users. The mean age of the users in this sample was In the Results section, all data are organized according to the race Black vs. From the data to which we were granted access on the site logs, we report the following: Race. Stated preferences. We divided users into four pos-sible categories based on their selections: 1 those who specified only their own race only same ; 2 those who specified only a group or groups other than their own only different ; 3 those who specified more than one race or eth-nicity, including their own same and other ; and 4 those who indicated no preferences any.

Any was the default; users who did not specify a preference were automatically as-signed this label. Contacts initiated. Then we simply counted the number of times a Black or White user sent an initial message to a Black or White recipient.

This count included only the first message sent by a user to a recipient, not any replies or subsequent messages. This measure allowed us to examine, for example, whether young. initiated contacts i. Messages reciprocated. Counts of contacts reciprocated, as for contacts received, were based only on the first contact between users; subsequent messaging was not included in the totals.

This measure allowed us to determine whether, for example, young Black males whose stated preference was. The results for stated and revealed prefer-ences are shown inTables 1—3.

We conducted a series of chi-square analyses on the data presented inTable 1. and the second of the four categories of stated preference only same, only different, etc. We found gender, Black—White, and age differences. With the second table, we move from prefer-ences as stated to preferprefer-ences as revealed in behavior. Table 2shows the percent of contacts initiated to Black and to White recipients by people seeking a date. The most striking feature of the table is the difference between the behavior of the White and the Black users.

The reverse was the case for females. This gender difference held for both Blacks and Whites and at all ages.

Black/White dating online: Interracial courtship in the 21st century,Primary Sidebar

The two measures of revealed preference, contacts initiated and contacts reciprocated, did not, as they did for Whites, vary in the same direction for Blacks: in contrast to their We analyzed personal profiles and records of communication for more than a million nationwide users of a major online dating site. White more than Black, women more than men, and old Black/White Dating Online: Interracial Courtship in the 21st Century Gerald A. Mendelsohn, Lindsay Shaw Taylor, Andrew T. Fiore, and Coye Cheshire University of California, Berkeley Black/White dating online: Interracial courtship in the 21st century Interracial courtship in the 21st century. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, Coye Cheshire A digital AdEveryone Knows Someone Who's Met Online. Join Here, Browse For Free. Everyone Know Someone Who's Met Online. Start Now and Browse for blogger.com has been visited by 10K+ users in the past month% Satisfaction · Single Men & Women · #1 Place to Get Matched · Guaranteed Matches We analyzed personal profiles and records of communication for more than a million nationwide users of a major online dating site. White more than Black, women more than men, and old ... read more

Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 7, Chicago, IL: Aldine. Same and other Young 20 14 14 13 21 21 13 15 This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers. but there is an important gender difference among Blacks; Black men are much more likely Discussion than Black women to be married to someone of a race or ethnicity not their own. For White users of both genders whose these studies are typically of modest size, nar- stated preference was any, same-race exceeded rowly localized, and limited to young people. That is, in part, because example, a same-race preference, stronger in of differences in methodology and sampling, women than in men, as suggested by some but undoubtedly differences among online previous research?

That is, in part, because of differences in methodology and sampling, but undoubtedly differences among online sites also contribute. The data reveal that this was true at all age levels. Our current conceptions of assimilation may be of limited relevance to a population originally enslaved, chronically den-igrated, and for most of its history systemati-cally excluded from political and economic power. individuals say they want can differ from what 2. This means that for a Real Estate Professional, who is trying to reach their local community and the surrounding areas to generate business opportunities, social.

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