What drives online dating preference? Race or class?

Posted by Sidney, 31 Jan 15

Yes! Most of us support interracial relationships... and the number of supporters keeps rising. So why is it that when it comes to online dating, fewer people are choosing mates who are outside their race? Why are online daters hesitant to date interracially despite studies showing growing support and growth in interracial relationships?

Well, according to researchers, people seem to be drawn to people with whom they can share similar cultural values and experiences. However, Christian Rudder, founder of OkCupid begs to differ; calling the idea a myth. He believes members of any dating site are in fact equally compatible with people outside their race as they are with those within their races. That said, the disparity comes when members actually choose who they message or respond to.

Rudder thinks "racial bias has intensified a bit." And researchers agree saying: “Both men and women of all political persuasions act as if they prefer same-race relationships even when they claim not to. As a result, the gap between conservatives and liberals revealed same-race preferences, while still substantial, is not as pronounced as their stated attitudes would suggest.” Apparently, people seem to have “inaccurate beliefs about their own preferences.”

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As always, black members, both male and female got considerably fewer responses than their white counterparts.

Another online dating research suggested that people associate race with class; that race is used as a marker. Therefore class is what's really driving online behavior where racial preference of the mate is concerned. Results of the study however showed that once a member gave a member of a different race a chance, they became more open to dating more members from that particular race.

"After that first interracial contact, a person would, on average, increase their interactions with people of that race by 115 percent," The Kernel reported about findings of a 2013 study from University of California. This, according to researchers shows that online daters fear interracial interactions. And as per researchers' prediction, the trend will remain as is; with online daters leaning more toward people of their same racial and ethnic background when making the choice about who they really want to interact with.

So, given the two studies, what in your opinion do you think drives dating preference of online daters? Race or class? And do you think the disparity that exists between rise in acceptance of interracial relationships and actual online interracial interactions is because online daters have inaccurate beliefs about their own preferences?

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