Online dating and the race factor

A study about the internet dating scene by University of California at Irvine sociologists has shown that people follow racial stereotypes when it comes to finding a love connection. Cynthia Felicano and Belinda Robnett collected their data from Yahoo personals in 2004 and 2005. They chose random profiles of people from ages 18 to 50 in Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago and Atlanta. The study showed that while white men are more open to interracial dating compared to white women, white men had a stronger preference for asian and latina women. Black women are considered the least desirable.  For white women who are open to interracial dating, asian men are considered the least desirable.

Demographic changes brought about by the recent influx of immigrants from Asia and Latin America have the potential to alter race relations in the United States. But if a study by UC Irvine sociologists is any indication, the cross-cultural revolution is not going to be launched on the internet dating scene, where people often follow racial stereotypes when looking for love.

Cynthia Feliciano and Belinda Robnett collected data from Yahoo personals between September 2004 and May 2005, randomly selecting profiles of people ages 18-50 in the Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Atlanta metropolitan regions. While white men were more open to dating outside their race than white women, both had specific racial preferences. White men preferred Asian and Latino dating partners to African Americans; white women were more likely to exclude Asian men.

Stereotypes shown by the media don’t help matters. Mainstream media and yes even some black folks and black media outlets have helped in portraying black women in a negative light.

According to Feliciano, negative portrayals of African American women and Asian men in popular culture could contribute to these preferences.

“Stereotypical images of masculinity and femininity shape dating choices and continue to be perpetuated in the mass media,” says Feliciano, sociology and Chicano/Latino studies assistant professor. “The hyper-feminine image of Asian American women contrasts greatly with that of Asian men, who are often portrayed as asexual.”

In comparison, the image of the strong African American woman is at odds with idealized notions of submissive and frail women. This may explain why African American women faced high levels of rejection among men, researchers say.

“Cultural portrayals of African American women in the media continue to stress traits seen as negative, such as bossiness,” Feliciano says.

I’ve heard and seen comments from black women that when they look at personal ads not only do they see non black men asking for every type of woman but black women, they’ve seen a few black men with those same type of ads.  Of course the internet isn’t the only way to meet your mate whether you date interracially or if you prefer your own race.  And despite the fact that the media throws stereotypes in our faces when it comes to black women and asian men you do see a growing number of black women dating non black men and asian men dating non asian women.  I’ve had two asian male supervisors in my working life and they were both married to white women.

The chart below shows a racial breakdown when it comes to marriages in the United States in 2006.  This chart dispels the myth that black men/white women are the largest interracial married couples in the United States.  I never understood where people got that info from.  White men/asian women are the number one interracial marriage combination.

marriage_data

Check out the entire UC Irvine dating article here and check out the article about coping with four common obstacles in interracial dating here.

One response

  1. The stereotypes don’t help bw, but there are still non-black men out there open to dating and marrying bw, so sisters, don’t be discouraged. I’ve heard it said that 90% of the non-black men on the general dating websites indicate they are not looking for black women when they complete their profile questionnaires. Well, that still leaves 10% for bw to work with, and that’s plenty. You’re only looking for one good husband, not 10 million. Keep in mind that there are way more non-black men compared to black women in America since people of African descent are a minority; 10% of the huge number of non-black men out there isn’t anything to sneeze at.

    As interracial relationships that include African-American women become more accepted in the society, more of the non-black men will participate, just like they do in Europe. In Britain, over 33% of women of African descent are in interracial relationships, mostly with white men. In many other Western European and Scandinavian countries, black women are highly sought after. It’s not all men in these countries that like black women, but plenty do. I remember one Scandinavian guy really sweating me at a party many years ago and one professor from Germany who kept checking me out so intently that I became uncomfortable—fortunately, I was not taking a class with him. These two events occurred in the U.S., by the way. See the following link to read about a non-black, American woman’s surprise that white men were chasing after black women so much when she traveled all over Europe with her friends: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=AvnfqD8Uawu52srnPPDjDl2.7BR.;_ylv=3?qid=20080819081827AAEON3z.

    A blog for bw who want to date interracially:
    http://forthesistas.blogspot.com/

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