If you've never dated interracially, you are more likely to do it online
You are a member of a dating site. You have clearly stated your dating preference; a man or woman of your own race. Well that's most online daters generally. So what happens when someone from a different race contacts them?
New study suggests that they are "often more willing than they thought they'd be to respond to interest from someone of another race." This study didn’t just look at what people say they prefer; the researchers went step further and studied what people actually do when dating online.
"I'm showing that racial boundaries are being crossed and are more permeable than we once thought," says sociologist Kevin Lewis of the University of California, San Diego.
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According to Lewis, online daters are more likely to respond to an interracial contact than they would initiate one themselves. And the moment they respond to the first interracial contact, they are more likely to contact other online daters outside their race, despite their stated preference on their dating profiles (same-race in this case).
"It's not that people's levels of prejudice are changing; people are avoiding others from a different racial background because they think those other people won't be interested," says Lewis. "Receiving an interracial contact and replying to it makes you send over twice as many new interracial messages in the short-term future than you would have otherwise."
Most people are reluctant to initiate interracial contact because of the high degree of racial segregation there is. And this could be the reason why there is a difference between the stated racial preference of the potential mate they seek and the race of the person they actually respond to. This even applies in the case of age - we tend to respond to varying age groups; not just what we stated as the preferred age of the mate.
Based on the results of this study, Josh Fischer a New Yorker who handles data analysis for the website AYI.com, thinks it’s about time dating sites rethink some of the algorithms. "Now maybe we should be showing people a different variety of members," he says.
That said however, as per Lewis’ study, this interracial interest that people develop on dating sites doesn’t last long - a week maybe - then people go back to their original preference which for most is same-race.
"Once people go out and start initiating ties across racial boundaries, the odds of getting a reply are still relatively small. No one likes rejection," he says. "These cross-race interactions are still by far the exception to the norm. People go out and have this newfound optimism about interracial messaging, and all of a sudden, no one replies. People revert to their prior habits."
Is it really that short lived? Have you experienced such a thing; once a staunch same-race dater then online dating "converted" you? Do share...
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