Most of the big, multi-ethnic online dating sites ask a user to fill out what they prefer in a relationship.
Preferential questions can be about weight, age, religion, lifestyle and ethnicity.
They are designed to help the site select the people who are more likely to be a successful match for a user looking for love.
But, what if a person wrote, “Whites only”, “No Asians” or “No Blacks” on their dating profile?
Or, what if someone reached out to a user after reading their profile and said that even though they were half-Asian or Mulatto they looked white enough to ask out on a date?
Would that be considered sexually racist?
Sadly, this is happening on some of these online dating sites. It’s shameful and horrifying. And yes, it is racist.
A few bloggers have called out these badly behaved daters, but it’s not enough. It’s time to make some radical changes in the online dating world. And it’s the online agencies who need to start making these changed by deleting users who are sexually racist.
Online dating users need to check themselves as well, though.
For whatever reason some of us may feel it is acceptable—whether it’s the safety of hiding behind a user profile on a computer screen, the feeling that honesty and cruelty are somehow the same thing, or the general need to overshare insults no one wants to read—being sexually racist is most definitely not okay.
For those that prefer a specific ethnicity, there are many dating sites that are designed to be ethnicity-specific like, asiansingles.com, blackpeoplemeet.com or wherewhitepeoplemeet.com.
Now, let’s talk preference.
Believe it or not, there is a huge sociological influence besides the chemical/biological component when it comes to who we are attracted to and what we prefer.
Which means that who we prefer to date is just as much in our control as it isn’t.
Studies show that black men and women are the least desirable in the dating preferential pool on gay or heterosexual sites. Is it because so many people are just inherently not attracted to black men and women? Can anyone really justify such a blanket statement for an entire racial group?
Everyone is entitled to their opinion and dating preference, but, perhaps we should start asking ourselves how much of that choice is a conscious one or just a habit. Much of our “It’s just what I’m attracted to…” statements have been programmed by what we are constantly exposed to.
If we took a hard look at our sociological influences from the people were raised with, went to school with, work with, live in our community and the social media we are exposed to daily, we can start to understand better why we are attracted to who we are attracted to.
For example, how many movies or television shows portray black men as sexy, successful and desirable? How many Asian or Indian men have been cast as sexy, hunky leading men in a big romantic film or weekly TV series?
Given that only 10% of minorities ever get cast in films and TV shows. As a matter of a fact, it usually happens that a white actor gets cast as the ethnic lead of a film that should have an ethnic cast like, “The Prince of Persia” or numerous other examples. (I’m thinking Hollywood whitewashing here.)
As a society, we spend a lot of time watching film and TV from childhood to adulthood. Its influence on what we find sexy and attractive effects our off-screen decisions.
Yes, there is a component to attraction and preference that we can’t help but there is a lot we can help.
Who we think we are attracted to is partly a result of enforced behaviors and sociological influencing. If we were raised and working in a primarily all-white community, where we only dated white people, then one day got sent to Asia to work for a few years, it might not take very long for us to start finding Asians more attractive than whites.
So the next time we start writing down what we prefer on a dating site, perhaps we should consider two things.
1. Am I being rude or unnecessarily cruel in posting this preference? And
2. Is my preference list so narrow that I could be preventing myself from finding true love…that just may be a different color from my own?
Author: Heather Dawn
Editor: Khara-Jade Warren
Image: DryHundredFear/ Flickr