OPINION: Are online dating companies swiping left on Black Lives Matter?

OPINION: Are online dating companies swiping left on Black Lives Matter?

S inakhone Keodara reached his breaking point last July. Loading up Grindr , the gay dating app that presents users with potential mates in close geographical proximity to them, the founder of a Los Angeles-based Asian television streaming service came across the profile of an elderly white man. He is now considering suing Grindr for racial discrimination. For black and ethnic minority singletons, dipping a toe into the water of dating apps can involve subjecting yourself to racist abuse and crass intolerance. Seeing that all the time is grating; it affects your self-esteem. Style blogger Stephanie Yeboah faces the same struggles. Racism is rife in society — and increasingly dating apps such as Tinder, Grindr and Bumble are key parts of our society.

Racial dating preferences are racist, reduce entire groups to race

In I went on national television, declaring on the Insight program that I was not attracted to black men and only dated caucasian males. At the time I saw nothing wrong with my views. Over the years however I have been forced to do some serious self reflection and I have come to the conclusion that I did indeed have an internalised bias towards black men. I had this notion largely due to my own experiences and traumas that I experienced from black men.

I have a complex relationship with my own father and I experienced severe trauma as child at the hands of a black man.

Yet on many occasions, trapped between these beguiling quirks are often terms of constraint and restriction as racial preferences come into play. “White girls only .

This conversation, with one of my friends who is a white man, happened only a couple of weeks ago, but took me back to an adolescence peppered with similar microaggressions. The medium of porn, and the endemic racism that threads through parts of the industry is a very complicated conversation. Many elements of our romantic and sexual choices are influenced by society.

A study by the University of St Andrews found that exposure to online media pushes our attraction closer to stereotypes of masculine and feminine extremes. Whilst we could definitely spend some time unpacking the social and cultural connotations attached to those physical attributes, their histories are so distinct to the history of race, it feels undignified to waste word count even explaining it. But I will point out that the way race is conceptualised has long been hierarchical, and sexual and romantic segregation has been historically enforced as a tool of maintaining that hierarchy.

This same issue of hierarchy serves to demonstrate why a person of colour choosing not to date white people is a different issue entirely.

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Using the hashtag BlackLivesMatter, Grindr, which allows its more than 4 million daily users to choose between five options, including black, Asian and Middle Eastern, said on Monday that it would remove the filters from its next release. Gay dating apps are scrambling to remove ethnicity filters in a bid to tackle racism, as violent protests over the killing of a black man in police custody rocked the United States for a second week.

In one city after another, thousands have vented outrage in sometimes violent clashes over the May 25 death of George Floyd, a black man shown on video saying “I can’t breathe” as a white Minneapolis policeman knelt on his neck. His death caused outrage across a nation that is politically and racially divided as it counts down to presidential elections in November, reigniting protests that have flared repeatedly in recent years over police killings of black Americans.

“Ionly date white girls.” “I don’t think black women are hot.” “I have a fetish for Asian-Americans.” Each of these state- ments expresses a racial preference for.

So you have a preference for partners of a certain race to the exclusion of other races? Maybe you like Asian guys. Maybe Latinas are more your thing. Maybe you prefer partners who look like you. A recent study of gay and bisexual men in Australia found that racially discriminatory dating beliefs were inextricably connected to higher levels of racial bigotry in general. There was an undeniable correlation linking those respondents who were discriminatory in their dating preferences to more obvious forms of racial bigotry.

While the problem is usually understood as being concentrated in the gay community, it would be flippant to deny that sexual racism is an issue regardless of sexuality. The more odious corollary — excluding certain races outright — is a very questionable commitment to have. If one recognizes or confesses to a racially discriminatory approach to prospective romantic or sexual partners, then one is obligated to consider the origins of this discrimination.

In Canada at least, our society does a comparatively decent job of condemning most forms of overt racism.

Racial Fetishization Is A Big Problem Online. Here’s What Dating Apps & Users Can Do.

By Aaron Mok – May 13, It is common nowadays for 21st century millennials to search for partners, whether it be romantic or sexual, through dating apps. Apps such as Tinder, Grindr, Her and so forth have made pursuing partners much more convenient and accessible than it used to be. Rather than attending that local bar in your neighborhood every Thursday night in search of a partner, partners can be accessed anytime and anywhere you want — an entire dating pool available to you through your handheld device.

‘You’re so pretty for a black girl’ — and other disturbing encounters from BAME users of dating apps.

Ashley Brown. In , user data on OkCupid showed that most men on the site rated black women as less attractive than women of other races and ethnicities. That resonated with Ari Curtis, 28, and inspired her blog, Least Desirable. Kholood Eid for NPR hide caption. These were the types of messages Jason, a year-old Los Angeles resident, remembers receiving on different dating apps and websites when he logged on in his search for love seven years ago.

He has since deleted the messages and apps. Jason is earning his doctorate with a goal of helping people with mental health needs. NPR is not using his last name to protect his privacy and that of the clients he works with in his internship.

Is Racial Stereotyping on Dating Apps Getting Worse?

A few weeks ago a girlfriend of mine, who happens to be a black woman, sent me a screenshot of an exchange she had with a man she came across on an online dating app. I’m accustomed to friends sharing their ‘WTF’ moments, and generally I love living vicariously through their dating experiences. My friend was in the early stages of a chat with a man she’d matched with and he straight away asked about her ethnicity — projecting his assumptions of her by focusing on her race.

I made a documentary about the role race plays in online dating, Date My Race , a year ago. So I empathised with the frustration my friend felt by having to explain her blackness to this complete stranger.

We’d be better off quitting dating apps and getting back into the real world.

Although researchers at Cornell University recommended this action two years ago in a paper on addressing racial bias and discrimination in dating apps, many were skeptical this would mitigate racism on platforms that have always been inherently racist. The ethnicity feature in these apps — either built into the operating system or a bonus benefit that came with an additional subscription fee — allowed users to search for people by race, as narrowly defined by the app creators.

Some folks of color were able to use this feature to find a friendly face on the apps, in what can be a sea of white torsos, or in the real world, in a town palpably lacking in visible diversity. Yet, in other hands, this feature amounted to little less than institutionalized racial profiling. I first started using dating apps when Grindr began crawling out of the primordial sea of , since they seemed like a less-scary version of flirting with a guy in a loud, dark, sweaty bar.

But the scariness of the apps was in how comfortable people felt in being truly awful when there was no one publicly holding them accountable. Still, words only go so far.

Dear Damona: Is it racist if I don’t want to date outside my own race?

When it comes to dating, there are a lot of opportunities for people to sound like assholes. Totally right! Except for this one, teensy, tiny exception:.

One Asian-Canadian woman examines the racism and stereotypes she has faced on dating apps—and confronts her own racial biases.

One Asian-Canadian woman examines the racial stereotypes she faces on dating apps—and confronts her own biases. Anna Haines February 18, You as well? The conversation moves on. A couple hours later he returns to the topic. I cave. But my exchange was one of countless throughout my digital dating journey in which my ethnicity has been the entry point of conversation.

Is Love Racist? The Dating Game


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