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When Maya changed her preferences from only women to men and women on Hinge and Coffee Meets Bagel, suddenly her potential matches were Indian guys, even though she'd listed no preference.Yes, people are often attracted to others with similar backgrounds, but must you factor that so decisively into your algorithms, ye dating sites of little faith?
Maya, based in New York City, works in the racial and economic justice spheres, specifically when it comes to gentrification.
She's tried sites like Ok Cupid, Hinge, and Coffee Meets Bagel, and she's very upfront about her politics in her online dating profiles. "I once went on a date once where a guy asked me if I wanted to watch with him.
They see my delight in swiping, an activity most of them find boring or even disheartening at this point, as refreshing.
But I've never actually been on a dating app as myself, a black woman. Yes, online dating seems fun from where I'm standing, but I think doing it as a woman of color would damage my faith in humanity.
An incredible clip from April of this year tackled this issue, branding it "sexual racism." Note: This is way different from having preferences.
It's about ruling out entire groups of people because of stereotypes or because you think there's no way you could be attracted to them.
An oft-cited Ok Cupid study from 2014 backs this up.
"Eighty-two percent of non-black men on Ok Cupid show some bias against black women," Christian Rudder, co-founder of Ok Cupid, wrote in a blog post analyzing the data.
My hope is that my friends let me play romantic roulette with their love lives because they think my job affords me some top-secret dating intel.