aNewDomain — Online dating is a lonely, disgusting holdout. It is the last bastion of brazen, unfiltered racism in America.
From OKCupid to Yahoo! Personals to Match, digital romance sites and apps do something that’s become socially unacceptable everywhere else, except for maybe a Klavern meeting: Discriminate against other people because of their race. It’s as easy as point-and-click. You don’t like African-Americans? Filter them out of your searches. Poof! No more blacks!
This, in the world of Internet dating, is considered perfectly adorable behavior. Online dating racism runs rampant.
The dating section of Craigslist doesn’t allow filtering. Nevertheless, the racists run wild there, too. “No African-Americans,” people write in their posts, as though MLK and Rosa Parks and Malcolm X had never lived, and civil rights never moved.
Craigslisters can flag posts to be removed but, judging from the fact that many of these posts are weeks old, few do. It is just one of those “no offense, just my preference” — they say that! — kinda things.
Oh, I can hear you coming. Dating sites are just serving their customers! Giving the people what they want!
To which I would ask you: Where else are racists allowed to freely express their rancid 19th-century excuses for opinions?
Not at work, that’s for sure. Public opinion, not to mention a raft of Very Serious Federal Laws, require the boss who just doesn’t like blacks, no offense, just his preference, to not only shut the fuck up, but not give the slightest hint of prejudice.
If you don’t want blacks to move into your neighborhood or apartment building, again, you are more than welcome to keep those thoughts to yourself because (a) it’s illegal to discriminate in housing and (b) everyone would hate you.
Nor in what the law defines as “public accommodation.” Run a bar or restaurant? Welcome all comers or get sued out of business. Work at a fancy boutique on Madison Avenue? Better buzz in that black guy in the hoodie just as fast as you do the white dude in the suit, or you’ll have the city’s newspapers, Al Sharpton and a couple of government agencies way up your ass.
This is all as it should be. You are entitled to be racist. You are not entitled to express your racism in a way that hurts its victims.
What’s that you say — that just because you’re not attracted to members of a race, doesn’t make you racist? Actually, it does. By definition. If you don’t see people of different races as sexual equals, if you think they’re ugly — no offense, just my preference — if the thought of rolling around naked licking the skin of a generic member of Race A is more distasteful than doing the same exact thing with a generic member of Race B, then yeah, you’re racist like Bull Connor and Donald Sterling and David Duke.
There’s no controversy about this in the scientific community. One way sociologists measure racism is to examine the prevalence of interracial dating and marriage in a society. For example, Japan is famously homogenous, has a low rate of what they used to call “miscegenation,” and has a big problem with racial discrimination.
Though there have been increases in interracial marriage rates in the United States in recent years, there is a higher rate of marriages between whites and Asians than between whites and blacks, which reflects the fact that Asians have been more successfully integrated into “mainstream” white-dominant culture than blacks.
The result? Asian-Americans are less likely than blacks to get shot by cops, to be turned down for a job because of their race, to get a long prison sentence for a crime, or to be poor. In fact, Asian-white couples earn more than Asian-Asian or white-white couples.
Dating racism reflects societal racism. On OKCupid, for example, African-American women — a low-status, low-income demographic that disproportionately suffers discrimination — receive by far the lowest number of responses when they contact men of other races, even though they send the highest number of messages.
I assume that companies are catering to racist online daters because no one has ever brought this up before and that, once they realize that they’re enabling some of the most-hurtful and disgusting discrimination around, a variety of bigotry that literally says “you are so gross, I could never love you” to millions of people, they’ll take the 10 or 15 minutes necessary to delete those racial filters — and flag those offensive posts.
Well, there. I’ve brought it up.
For aNewDomain, I’m Ted Rall.
Cover image: silveroakcasino.com
Image one: hercampus.com