Ever since online dating was born, dating and matchmaking have taken a different twist. It has given even the socially awkward people the opportunity to meet someone special. But has it really given all of us an equal opportunity to meet a special someone? Could dating online be harder for some people because of their ethnicity? Read what I have experienced…
Can ethnicity make you a target of online dating racism?
Do you have a preference for either white or black men? Is your preference strong enough to influence your decision on who you date?
When I was younger, I was in the “finding yourself” phase of my life. And while I tried as much as I could to hang out with a nice white dude, I unwittingly put myself in the firing lines of racism.
I sent many of these guys messages and the few who counted me worthy enough to be given a reply were just like, “sorry, not into blacks”. Yes, its okay for people to have racial dating preferences. But being a woman of color was something I felt made dating a nightmare for me.
I have dated a Latino man. My ex is Mexican. I have gone on dates with Pacific Islanders and black men and these dates are memorable ones. I have also dated a few white guys, and things weren’t really bad.
The answer to the question is basically your motivation for dating a particular race. Yes, being mixed race, I have felt like one or two doors closed on me. But when you have the right motivation for wanting to date white men, like physical preferences, I’d say you go for it.
Is online dating the deal?
I enjoy the freedom and convenience that dating websites offer. Honestly, I have had some great matches and been to some really great first dates. But things are not always rosy.
The problem doesn’t really lie with online dating, because racism in dating didn’t start online. It started offline in a society where a lot of people look degradingly on people of different races, not ever counting them worthy of being loved.
Online dating, in my own opinion, is revolutionary. I try as much as possible to respectfully tell anyone I don’t want to date that I am not interested. I have found that when I don’t bring the race thing up, they feel better, as I would have if some of the white and black guys never pointed my color as a reason for refusing to chat with me.
Racism in online dating
Black people are rarely the only ones who suffer from online dating racism. Sinakhone Keodara, the founder of a Los Angeles-based Asian television streaming service once came across the profile of an elderly gay white man online. Keodara tried to start a conversation with the older man, and what he got was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The elderly man, in a three-worded phrase – “Asian, ew gross”- showed how much of a dark person he was inside.
Keodara is now thinking of suing the website for racial discrimination. This singular experience represents everything we people of color have to deal with – racism in dating online. In his own words, Keodara stated: “Over the years I’ve had some pretty harrowing experiences. You run across profiles that say ‘no Asians’ or ‘I’m not attracted to Asians’. Seeing that all the time affects your self-esteem.”
Stephanie Yeboah, a style blogger admits that she faces similar struggles. She says, “It’s rubbish, there is this assumption that black women, especially if plus-sized –go along the dominatrix line.” This has led Yeboah to delete, install and delete many dating apps. Now she has stopped using online dating apps altogether because she thinks there is no point using one.
So the next time you think you’re the only one suffering from racism, know that even famous and rich people are sometimes victims. Which means it needs to be rooted at every level of the society, not just on dating apps.
Is online dating racist?
Online dating in itself isn’t racist, I mentioned this earlier. It’s not racist because finding love online isn’t for people of a particular race. It’s for everyone. And while many of us are victims of racial discrimination, online dating is supposed to be fun.
One reason why many people call online dating racist could be because of the barriers that they have been forced to live behind. Many people can’t find matches because of their ethnic names. Personally, I have been insulted or looked down upon because of a way people of my race are perceived.
There are also interracial dating stereotypes. Asian men are generally perceived to be weaker, while African men are perceived to be more masculine. I must admit I have always had a preference for black men over Asians. But it never was because of any of these. In all my years of dating online, I have never been driven by stereotypes. Unfortunately, some people choose to judge others first by their looks, then names. But every single time I have looked past all that. I have found really warm people, people who defy the tag.
How can you deal with racism when online dating?
- Don’t ever allow the fear of racism in online dating stop you from looking for love wherever you feel at ease. Never. In the next section, I will be sharing with you some tips I have used and found helpful.
- Although not as effective as we would have loved it to be, many dating apps and sites now have zero tolerance for any kind of racism. So reporting these occurrences to them might be a great place to start.
- Understand that it’s okay for someone to say no to you because we all have preferences. Know that it isn’t okay to make your race a reason for rejecting you.
- Don’t hate. Love is all colors. And while it might be easy for us to want to treat others the way we are being treated, it’s very important that we treat others fairly. Racism isn’t a white thing. Anyone can be racist. So we must reject it ourselves.
How people of color can win at the online dating game
So we have seen how bad racism can be in the online dating sphere. Black women and Asian men get fewer responses and get swiped left the most. While online dating itself isn’t racist, that is, not against any racial group, it has succeeded in illuminating our innate social response to race.
Should people of color stop online dating? No! Here are some strategies that will help you stand out in the online dating game and meet people who won’t be judging you by your looks.
Use great pictures
Your pictures are the first touch point anyone has with your dating profile. It will likely represent your entire profile. Always make your pictures stand out. Have profile pictures that tell your story and the things you enjoy and let it show that you’re never afraid to be you.
Don’t just sit back waiting for others to message you first. Online dating is meant for those who are ready to step out of their comfort zone and not those who are waiting for someone to come and sweep them off their feet.
Dating site algorithms are trained to take note of your choices. So the more you message people, the more your profile appears in front of the right people. And you will be the one selecting, not the other way round.
So what’s the point?
Online dating isn’t racist, I really believe that it’s revolutionary. I have had my share of racism (are there black women online dating who haven’t?). But once I realized that I need to take charge, I stopped waiting to be chosen, I took control of my profile.
When someone wants to be choosy of me because of my race, I block them immediately and I never let their remarks linger for long.
Check out this article about dispelling the Asian male interracial dating stereotypes.