Is Race Just A “State Of Mind” In Online Dating?


During the 2008 US Census, most Americans said they approved of racial or ethnic intermarriage. At least six of every 10 people checked “it would be fine.” But data gathered from online dating sites illustrates a different story between what people believe and how they behave.

“According to a new UC Berkeley study of one million online daters, cyberspace is just as segregated as the real world. When it comes to dating online, whites prefer whites, research reveals. More than 80 percent of whites — even the 48 percent of males and 28 percent of females who said they were indifferent to race — sent messages to whites and just three percent contacted blacks.”

Read the article here, and please share your comments below.


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  1. 1

    When I read “whites prefer whites” I mentally added “or Asians” (white men –> Asian women).   I can’t tell you how many white men’s profiles I’ve seen listing a preference for Asian women!
    As a white woman I’ve gotten a lot of attention from black men.   Honestly?   I hate to say this, but I’ll be honest.   I prefer lighter skin, the same way so many men prefer lighter hair (blondes).   ONLY when it comes to dating.   I have NO PROBLEM being friends and colleagues with black men (or women); I simply prefer certain physical characteristics just like most people do.   Some people like slim or tall; I like fair.
    It’s not so much about race, frankly.   I could be attracted to a lighter-skinned man who isn’t white.   Or less attracted to a very tan white guy.
    At times I’ve wished I didn’t have this preference since it would open up so many more dating options!   Black men really do like me!   🙂   And I like them… if only I could be attracted too!

    1. 1.1

      I admit everyone has…quote on quote a “Preference,” but a good looking person (regardless of race) is a good looking person.   I’m not at all surprised by the finding that most white people prefer other whites.   I think…too many people generalize an entire ethnicity of people just because of their experiences.   No offense Sarah, but you were probably raised to date your own race of people either influenced by family or peers or your cultural influences, pop culture etc etc.   I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but there is a sense of fear as well.   There are other reasons you can like someone regardless of their ethnicity.   Also…your comment about white men with asian women…I’ve noticed most of the white men with asian women seem to be the insecure types, and asian women seemed to be the least to discriminate.

      1. 1.1.1

        What you said about insecure white men dating undiscriminating Asian women is ridiculous. I knew personally many secure and successful white men have married secure and successful Asian women. When it comes to love and marriage, nobody can make a sweeping generalized statement. By making such a statement, you make yourself look stupid.

      2. 1.1.2
        Alexandria Yaj

        White is not an ethnicity, it is a race and social construct. FYI

    2. 1.2

      Sarah, I had a similar point of view as you did. I wasn’t that attracted to black men though obviously, there are a lot of hot black men.
      Then, I began to rethink it. Why?
      For one thing, I’m an older white female who was molested by my white grandfather. I looked on the horizons and saw that the men contacting me were beginning to look like the man who had molested me. I seriously started panicking at this. A black man is never, ever going to turn out to look like my white grandfather.
      So, I dipped my toe in the water and was very, very pleasantly surprised.
      Black skin doesn’t age as rapidly as white skin. I find black men beautiful (not all obviously).
      Come on, who the hell doesn’t like chocolate?
      (I know that sounds racist, but really, chocolate is good!)
      Now, I have more a problem with extremely white/pink men and am trying to get over that.
      So, open your eyes and your mind. They might become your favorite.

      1. 1.2.1

        I can’t help but think you are a sorry black man who got turned down by many non-black women.

        1. Jebediah

          And you come to this conclusion because…..?   Every person has their reasons for their choices.   I dated a white woman once that was generally turned off by white men in general and ginger men in particular exactly because of the reasons Sarah gave, she was molested by her white Stepfather.   It is true that one bad apple can spoil it for the entire bunch, white or black.   I’ve also known very nice white women that wouldn’t date black men simply based on their past interactions with them.

  2. 2

    Well, when they say they’re fine with it, they may mean – and the study  confirms this  –  that they’re fine with *other people* doing it. It doesn’t mean that they think that  race shouldn’t be  a consideration for themselves, and there’s nothing inconsistent about that, really. Social disapproval is but one of the many reasons why it doesn’t happen a lot.  Intersecting class stratifications, residential segregation, socialization (mores as well as cultivation of attraction to certain sets of physical and personal qualities), correlations between political and religious beliefs, all of these  play a part.  Also, studies have shown that there are differing levels of comfort  re: different types of interracial pairings… it’s not uncommon for someone to be totally fine with the idea of say, blacks and  Latinos dating or  whites and Asians, but  less approving  of, say,  blacks and whites or Asians and Latinos.  There can also be  differences in approval  based on  the gender of the  people involved.  If people feel fine about most IR pairings, they may “round up” and  say they approve.

    1. 2.1

      I fully agree.   The results of this isn’t very informative.   People are getting less judgmental of what others choose to do but that doesn’t change what they themselves choose to do.   What is also not a shocker is that people tend to express online what they don’t typically express in the real world.

  3. 3
    The InBetweener

    I think race is important only to those who MAKE IT important. I happen to be of a mixed race (American Indian/Puerto-Rican/African American) and I’ve dated people of other races also. Like the article states, sometimes it’s the parents that might forbid/look down or shun inter-racial dating/marriages – that could effect a persons opportunities when it comes to “finding the one on-line” or in face to face situations.
    A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I was personally in a two (2) year relationship with someone of a different race and they felt they would be “disowned” had their father found out they were dating/seeing someone that was african-american (mixed or not). The eye opener was had they been dating any other race, it would have been fine. As far as I’m concerned NONE of my family members could EVER fix their mouths to convince me on who to date – ESPECIALLY as an adult.

    Unfortunately, a lot of people misconstrue “race” for “culture” when I see them as two (2) TOTALLY different factors when it comes to dating.
    There might be culture differences within different races but the article rarely touched on culture difference vs. race.
    With online dating, it seems as if it’s a preference to date outside your race, you ALMOST always have to sign up with a site dedicated to inter-racial dating. Otherwise, nine (9) times out of ten (10), humans will “go with what they know” so to speak.

  4. 4

    I know a lot of people are going to think I’m hypersensitive (I’m anticipating a comment from Karl LOL), and I realize it isn’t “logical” but when I see a man that’s marked certain races in his preference list, I just click to the next profile. Even if he’s included my race in it- a lot of time the men (who seem very liberal and cultured otherwise) write ‘everything but black’ basically in their profile. Even though I’m not black, I just find this cruel. So- I basically just contact or reply to men who’ve written no preference.

    It’s funny- I notice on Match  that there are a lot of ‘no preference’ men- but Chemistry is very ‘stay within my race.’ Of course, this doesn’t mean the Match men would actually date anyone outside of their race- hell, maybe they just don’t want to seem racist in their profile.

    This isn’t limited to men of course. I actually have white girfriends who’ll say to me, of all people, that they hate it when men of color ask them out or show interest. Of course, you all are probably asking why I’m friends with women like this. Good question- I’m wondering the same thing…

    1. 4.1

      nothing wrong with preference

      1. 4.1.1

        There isn’t anything wrong with preference at all.   It’s when you determine who you date based on one single factor is when it becomes questionable, especially when you link that one factor to every other quality.

  5. 5

    By the way- I don’t have any particular racial preference when it comes to dating (otherwise the above would make me a hypocrite LOL), but I’m curious…
    I notice white men are very willing to date Asian women (meaning EAST Asian, not women from India or Sri Lanka), but not women of other races. Why is this? I’m very curious, considering Asian cultures are similar to South Asian, African, and Latin cultures with the emphasis on family, tradition, etc. A friend once said it’s purely based on skin tone and nothing else.
    Another friend suggested something too X-rated for me to write on here…

  6. 6

    Funny, I often got e-mails from white men who listed every race but African-American/black in their profiles.
    While I didn’t feel a need to respond to every man who contacted me, I would specifically ask these men why they wrote me when they stated in their profile that they were interested in every race of woman BUT black, and yet, they wrote me, a black woman.
    Usually I got no response back.   Which was fine — I didn’t expect one and likely wouldn’t want to pursue communication if they had, but I thought I should call them out on it.
    I think what happens is that whites have a perception of what a black woman, an Asian woman, a Hispanic woman, etc., is supposed to look like, act like, etc., and based on those perceptions, include races or exclude races accordingly.
    But since we’ve also established that a lot of men simply don’t read profiles and look at pictures, if they happen to see a picture of a woman who they find attractive, but happens to be from the “undesired race,” they’ll write anyway — likely forgetting that their profile, clear as day, is glaring in the fact that it shows that this man is not interested in women of that particular race.
    All that being said, I eventually married a white man I met through other methods. While I believe what was stated in the study, I also put more general stock into the idea that people don’t always know what they want UNTIL they meet that person — and he or she happens to be from that ethnicity/race/cultural group that they never imagined themselves considering.

  7. 7

    As an Asian woman I can vouch for what Sarah said, and say that I have gotten a lot of attention from white men on dating sites.   It’s hit or miss.   Sometimes it’s from nice white men who are genuinely interested in who I am as a person, with race having nothing to do with it.   Other times, I’ve gotten some disgusting messages from white men with stereotypical ideas about Asian women being submissive sex objects who will “love you long time”.   I’ve gotten used to it by now and try not to let some ignorant fools get to me (once I reported it to match when it crossed the line).   I really wish that the world  was different and that race didn’t matter at all, but have yet to see any study coming to that conclusion.   Unfortunately online dating isn’t somehow immune from all the inequities of the world.  

    However, I still try to work within the medium as best I can.   I’ve personally seen enough success stories (like my own sister) to think that online dating can work for minorities too.

    1. 7.1

      Christine that is horrifying. I am so sorry that you had to be put through that. If the online system were to fail, this would be the reason – ongoing harassment of perfectly lovely, decent people.

  8. 8

    In response to SS, I’ve seen some studies where they believe that men don’t list African American women in their “preferences” because of stereotypes that they are allegedly domineering and difficult. I hate to say that and don’t think that’s true but, that stereotype does exist.   Just as I’ve run into men who think the opposite of Asians–that they will be submissive and eager to please.   I think it might have something to do with those “Madame Butterfly” or “Miss Saigon” stereotypes–where the self-sacrificing, submissive Asian woman is some geisha/courtesan for the white man.  

    I think I know the X-rated thing Sayanta is referring to, about why some white men are willing to date Asians, but it’s too crude to put here!   It’s incredibly stupid but sadly, I’ve run into guys who believe that.  

    1. 8.1
      I love Suzy

      Or the japanese geisha girls stereotype stuck in people’s heads. No not that one!

      1. 8.1.1

        Media slaves believe everything they are told. I am mature; therefore I am a cougar; a relentless predator of shirtless young idiots. Can they be any more stupid?

  9. 9

    “A lot of time the men (who seem very liberal and cultured otherwise) write everything but black in their profile”

    This is actually why I’ve never dated a white guy… because  I live in the South, the  subset of men  that I’m solely  interested in  (liberal, “cultured”,  educated,  largely  secular, childless,  same age range, roughly  equal attractiveness level),  when white,  refuses to date blacks  – they tend to strongly  prefer the company of  Asians  when dating interracially, if they  date interracially at all  –  and the few white guys who show interest in  me have more in common with my racial group’s  stereotypical  demographic profile  than with me as  an individual member of that racial group that deviates from said profile somewhat, so I just don’t bother. I ended up mostly  dating guys from  the groups that I have the strongest physical  preference for, who coincidentally  are  also extremely  likely  to meet my  other criteria  as well  –  East Asian and Indian  men.  My problem, if and when  I choose to care, is  finding  someone who’ll  stay  in it for the long haul with a black person.  

    As studies have shown, because of the fear of alienating potential mates from acceptable racial groups, many people lie  or use preposterous work-arounds (if a person  has found  99% of the people in a  particular  racial  group  unappealing, they can say that they’d be theoretically  willing to date that 1% or people from that group  that they haven’t had the opportunity to see before,  instead of just  describing themselves as functionally  unwilling)  to  obscure their racial  preferences  and just  practice them behind closed doors, which is even more disadvantageous to the people who are targeted for  rejection.

    Sayanta, white men are also extremely willing to date and marry  Latinas. White/Latino is now the most common IR pairing involving whites. It’s got to do with a combination of beauty standards,  socioeconomic status  (both real and percieved), and religious background. Asian women are exceedingly good matches for  one of  the types of white men that’s more willing to date interracially. They’re educated, coastal, slender, often  atheist/agnostic… they’re often assimilated into  “mainstream” culture, raised in  neighborhoods and taught in schools right alongside whites, so there’s lots of common ground  and copious  opportunities.  Also, the American beauty standard for women  has become slightly more “ethnic” than in days past… not enough to include the very dark/full-featured among us, but enough to see dark hair/eyes, high cheekbones,  tanned skin  and full lips as pluses or neutral qualities  instead of detractions.

    1. 9.1

      So East Asian and Indian men, but not black men? Interesting. Would I be incorrect in guessing that you are a black female? If you are then you are actually apart of a popular dating  demographic. Just flip on the tv or check any magazine.   White guys are definitely chasing black ladies now, or rather the black ladies are more overtly chasing the white guys and they are going with it. So don’t worry anymore, the pale men are definitely interested in the “dark and full featured.”   From what I have seen, black women are avoiding black men to date and marry any other ethnicity.   For a quick example see the post immediately below yours.

  10. 10
    Germaine Beuviere

    As a “Black” woman, I prefer Asian men. However, it’s really hard to interact with them despite there supposedly being an increase between the two. I do get looks from other men even if I’ve specified who I am looking for. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a little aggressive (okay, I’m a lot aggressive LOL) or what. I just wished there would be more interacting. Race shouldn’t be an issue. If you’re secure in who you are then it shouldn’t matter.

    1. 10.1

      It’s funny how you say you prefer Asian men and the later state that race shouldn’t be an issue.   It sounds a little confused and disjointed.   I wonder if you’ve ever done some self examination as to why it is Asian men that you prefer?   You have a right to preferences, I’m just wondering why that is.   I’m a black man and I’ve dated all “races” but I typically have better connections with white woman simply because of my personality type but it doesn’t sound as if that’s the reason why you are drawn more to Asians.

  11. 11

    Sayanta post #5 wrote
    Another friend suggested something too X-rated for me to write on here…
    Eh?   You can’t just pique the readership’s curiosity and drop the issue :).

  12. 12

    Sayanta in #4 wrote
    but when I see a man that’s marked certain races in his preference list, I just click to the next profile. Even if he’s included my race in it- a lot of time the men (who seem very liberal and cultured otherwise) write ‘everything but black’ basically in their profile. Even though I’m not black, I just find this cruel.
    I have seen the same thing with women’s profiles.   It makes we wonder about the judgment of the author.         It is easy enough to simply not to reply to such contacts, but instead they have something that makes them look mean or obtuse on their profile.

    1. 12.1

      It makes sense to have that on their profile so they don’t waste other people’s time.   I don’t think there is a button that says 90% chance I’m not going to date you if you’re black but 10% chance if your sexy enough with a very likeable personality and good paying job.

  13. 13

    Interesting article and great topic. When I do searches on match, I limit my searches to white women, with the occasional sprinkling of Asians and Hispanics. I’ve verbalized many times that I’m not attracted to Asian women even if they’re off the charts hot, which is ironic in a terrible way because I’m partly Asian. There’s something going on there at a core level that I’d like change.
    If a black woman asked me out on a date, I’d certainly go and put my best foot forward. IMO, lack of experience is a big factor, because it reduces my comfort level and allows any lingering prejudices to affect my actions. A sticking point for sure, and now that we’re discussing it I’d like to eliminate it.
    It would be easier to try dating across racial lines if you met someone in person because then you focus on their personality and conversation vs. simply looking at skin color and facial geometry in pics. A huge drawback to online dating, for sure.

    1. 13.1

      Lance, you were very honest in your comments and I commend you for being aware of areas that you feel you would like to improve, however, I must admit this line made me sad, “If a black woman asked me out on a date, I’d certainly go and put my best foot forward.”

      As a Black woman who has been single nine years and rarely (about 1 time per year) is asked out on a date and gets very little (1-2 a month) messages in onine dating it’s disheartening and sad to see that men feel WE should ask them out, that they have no interest in asking us out and that, at most, they’d “put their best foot forward,” as if we are a task to be done rather than a person to be enjoyed.   If you see us as such, we’ll always be such to you.   Unfortunately, a large amount of men in the dating zone feel this way about Black women and it’s why I rarely open a dating profile anywhere. It can have a very heavy and negative impact on one’s emotions and outlook on love.

      1. 13.1.1
        Karmic Equation


        I don’t think your experience is unique to black women. “Fat” women get overlooked. “Plain” women get overlooked. I’m sure they have the same complaints about online dating as you do as a black woman.
        And to those women, I would advise that they ignore race and date men they think they can kiss (that’s what Evan advocates, actually, so I’m just promoting his philosophy) — So “fat” and “plain” women need to be open to dating fat men, plain men, very skinny men, men not of their race. They need to give up hope dating a “hot” guy. Most hot guys want hot, too. Most fit guys want fit, or at least within reason. And frankly, most hot guys don’t want commitment, so it’s ok if they bypass you anyway. Less heartache in the long run.
        I wrote to Jason in another thread he ought to consider plastic surgery if he doesn’t have a kissable face. Women don’t have to go to that extreme until they run out of other options, such as a more flattering hair style, better make up application, a more flattering style of clothing. Men don’t have options of make up and there’s only so much he can with a short hair style (or no hair style in case of baldness). They can all certainly learn to dress better, though 🙂
        If you’re not getting asked out, then the men online are not finding either your pix appealing nor your profile. The profile thing is easy to fix. Use a service like Evan’s e-Cyrano.
        The appealing pix…well that depends. If you’re heavy, you need to hit the gym and learn to eat healthy. Depending on the amount of weight you need to lose, you might want to put your dating profile on hiatus until you reach your fitness goal. If you want to continue dating as you get fit,   then go to a Sephora and have a make up technician show you how to do your makeup. Schedule a professional photo shoot for the same day 🙂 The makeup lesson is usually free, except you have to buy about $50 worth of stuff, so the lesson isn’t *really* free 🙂 — but if you’re using the wrong products (e.g., wrong colors) you’ll need to buy all new stuff, which can add up to a couple of hundred dollars real quick.
        Men are visual, so you need to have an appealing face or you need to have an appealing body type. The women with both have the most choices. Isn’t that what you want? To have the most choices? The way I see it is, if I want to date fit men, then I need to be fit. If I can date “average” (e.g., a little stocky) men, I can be a little overweight myself. If I want to date handsome men, I need to be at least pretty, etc., etc. But the bottom line is that if I’m fit, and pretty, then I can date any man that I want.  
        You CAN improve your online dating experience. But it comes at a price. You have to invest in your physical appearance, because men are visual. But remember that outward beauty only gets you dates, it’s your inner beauty that keeps a good man by your side. So don’t neglect continuing to be (or becoming) a good person inside. Be happy. Be confident. Be supportive. Those characteristics will help keep men hooked once you’ve passed their looks threshold.


        1. Kyra

          A response to a couple of your suggestions:

          “Use a service like Evan’s e-Cyrano.”  

          I have and I am also a professional writer. So, I’m aware of how to use (positive and specific) language in a profile. Out of curiosity, I once asked men who viewed my profile to give me honest opinion and   feedback on my profile. The responses I received were generally that I seemed “highly intelligent” from my writing style, which intimidated and/or *could* intimidate men into not responding. One man said, “I would think, if you talk like you write on a date, I’d have nothing to talk with you about because you seem so smart I wouldn’t be able to keep up.”

          I have been told, regularly over the past ten years I am still single because I am intimidatingly smart and that I am even “too smart for my own good” and should dumb down in order to attract a man (by a person in the psychological profession nonetheless). I took that feedback to heart and tweaked my profile, toning it down to where I sound intelligent, but not overwhelmingly so. And, as I sign-up and sign-off I’ll continue to tweak and see the results.

          “And to those women, I would advise that they ignore race and date men they think they can kiss (that’s what Evan advocates, actually, so I’m just promoting his philosophy)…”

          I find a great majority of men believe that Black women do not date out of their race and, it’s this suggestion (while absolutely correct, a good majority do not) doesn’t really get to the heart of the problem. I, personally, have dated men of all shapes, ages, sizes and colors since I was fifteen years old and, normally, date and am primarily attracted to men outside of my race. So, the issue (at least in my case) isn’t that I’m NOT open to men of different types/cultures/sizes/etc. It’s that the MEN aren’t open to ME. So, I can be as open to dating whomever I choose, but it does absolutely nothing if there is no reciprocity or interest in return.

            I a full figured (with goals) and understand the stream of fish with which I get to cast my net is smaller, but I also am very busty and shapely (think Queen Latifah mixed w/ Christina Hendricks) so, in real time say, on the street or at a bar, I get attention. Friends of many sizes actually have difficulty being with me around town as the constant attention and comments my body gets from men can be daunting.
          And, while it would be great if I could seek dates from these men,   this is not the appropriate attention and most approach with lascivious intent and make very inappropriate and sexual comments quite immediately.

          Online, I’m very ware my body doesn’t translate well. Most men exclude “full figured” or “curvy” from their searches. Those that do include them are fixated on my physical attributes and make very inappropriate comments and suggestions before even knowing my name. It’s a catch-22, sadly. I have a great enough body to get attention and interest, but it’s the WRONG attention.  Messages are very graphic or sexual in nature quite immediately.

          As for photos, I also utilize professional photos by a professional photographer. No cell bathroom selfies for me. My hair and make-up are exquisitely done and at times use photo-shop make-up tricks to enhance things like lip color, eyelashes, twinkle in the eye…

          I appreciate your comments, but I think we’re attacking the wrong issue here.   I would think I’m an aware enough of a woman to know who I attract, what I should wear, how professional both my photos and profile should be. And, for the most part, have not had an issue attracting a man because of my looks. Full-figured body, yes, of course. People have preferences and I both respect and steer clear of anyone who has no interest in dating a full-figured woman. I don’t need or have to lose weight, I just need to be aware of who I am, who appreciates me and who is attracted to me.

          I have, as stated,   had issue attracting a man because of my race. I have been made aware of this by comments made either in my inbox “Do you date white men?” “I love soul food!” “I’ve always wanted to be with a Black woman,” and many, many more racially motivated or focused comments. They’re approaching me as if I am different, therefore their interpretation of what dating me or having a relationship with me would be like is, in their minds, different. One man asked me point blank, “If we were to date, how would that go?”   As if I were an alien. If men are entering into the dating sphere with this notion of Black women, don’t really stand a chance of being given a true, honest chance unless their perceptions (not our make-up or our clothing or our photos) are changed. I’m a little confused I stated my dating issues have been primarily difficult due to my race (a study on several dating sites that has been both studied and proven: Black women are the least contacted women on dating site) and I received a response on how to improve my make-up, weight and photos.   Seems apples and oranges to me and part of the pervasive issue in conversation regarding men and their aversion/avoidance to and of Black women in the dating sphere. I wish we could just brush it off and say “It’s us… not them, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say I think a whole lot of women in the dating game would agree it isn’t. It’s men. Not how we’re dressing or how much make-up we’re not wearing.”   

        2. Karmic Equation

          Hi Kyra,
          First, I meant no offense. If you read enough of my posts on this blog, if I meant to offend, there would be no question that’s what I was doing. I don’t hold my punches.
          Second, I’m Asian. Chinese to be exact.  Many who do contact Asians contact us for the same reason as contacting black women: We’re on their sexual bucket list. Just got to face that. Delete.
          And we’re stereotyped as well. Asians are stereotyped as submissive whereas black women tend to be stereotyped as hypersexual. So we suffer from being stereotyped. Big deal. I’ve gotten a few msgs alluding to having “yellow fever” and “I’ve always wanted to date an Asian woman”. So I understand exactly where you’re coming from about being seen as a “race” and not as a person. But, when  I get those messages, sometimes after trading some innocuous messages first, it’s ignore/delete time. No biggie. They filtered themselves out.
          “They’re approaching me as if I am different, therefore their interpretation of what dating me or having a relationship with me would be like is, in their minds, different.”One man asked me point blank, “If we were to date, how would that go?”
          A lot of men are clumsy online. They try to be clever and then end up saying the wrong thing. Not too much different from IRL dating, really. To the guy who asked you that question, I would have replied, “What do you mean?” and see where he goes. Give him the chance to redeem or hang himself with his response. Having a benign attitude to men’s clumsy approaches online would open your dating pool more than having a defensive attitude. You can still ultimately filter them out, I’m suggesting that if a guy doesn’t approach with a sexually loaded msg off the bat, suss him out. Then rule him out if you feel he’s not worthy.
          Sometimes depending on my mood and how cute the guy is, I go with the loaded opener and just have fun with it. Only happened once. He was very hot and very alpha looking. I think he got banned from the site as I couldn’t find him a day later. lmao
          Perhaps it’s because my race is treated differently online than yours, but I personally don’t see my race as either a hindrance or a help. I see myself as a woman first and foremost. Often, I don’t even remember that I’m Chinese until I look in a mirror, that is how little my race affects my self-perception. And the world rewards me by treating me just as race-blind as I treat myself.
          That’s why I focused my reply on your looks and your profile. Those things you CAN change, whereas you can’t change your race. Optimize what you can change rather than lament what you cannot. Yours is a defensive way of thinking, imo (again no offense, just candor). Unless you’re as beautiful as you can get, you haven’t eliminated looks as an obstacle to your being approached online. If you’re as beautiful as you can get outwardly and yet quality men online are still not contacting you, then it could be your smartness or your race.
          The sad reality is many men truly don’t care how smart or stupid you are. There was a post from Evan where he showed a woman who was a semi-literate, admitted hit-and-run murderer who was inundated with male attention. A murderer. Really. But she was cute, after all. The post was funny and sad at the same time, but very enlightening.
          Being comfortable with your looks is very healthy and goes a long way towards RETAINING men you date. But getting your foot IN THE DOOR, e.g., being asked out for dates, DOES require you to pass a man’s looks threshold. I’m not suggesting you lose weight if you’re happy and comfortable with the prospects you attract both online and IRL. But if you’re NOT happy or satisfied with your dating situation, and you don’t change SOMETHING, you’re not helping your own cause and are being stubbornly unrealistic and using race as a crutch. (Candor again).
          I get approached by men IRL too. But never in an offensive/uncomfortable sexual way. Sometimes even when I dress in what I believe is a very sexy way, the approaches are still polite. I follow the simple “rule of one”: highlight only ONE asset when you dress sexy. When you highlight two or more, that’s when “inappropriate” come ons are more likely. For example, I’ll wear a miniskirt and heels, but don’t show cleavage. Or I’ll show cleavage (to my navel even) but pair it with slacks or jeans, not skirts. If you have a nice spine/back, you can wear a low-cut-back top (right to crack even), but don’t show cleavage or leg. Very easy rule to follow to be considered sexy and get more appropriate attention.
          Did you check out Evan’s e-Cyrano before and afters? As a professional writer, I’m sure you can easily follow his template and tweak your own profile. You do write beautifully 🙂 However online dating profile writing is a different beast from simple expository.


        3. Kyra

          Hi Karmic,

          You didn’t offend me at all. Some of your points were very valid and, you are correct, both men and women should take their appearance into consideration when creating their profile. However, I did feel you glossed over the very real difficulty women of color experience online to focus on appearance/weight/make-up and, perhaps that was my fault, because I did not explain, exactly, what treatment and/or comments I have gotten that have lead me to believe men were contacting or not contacting me due to my race.

            Your comments on dressing IRL in order to attract an appropriate man are great and quite accurate. I don’t tend to dress overtly sexy and have a very casual style. Unfortunately (or, in some cases, fortunately) I have a large chest (Christina Hendricks size) and a large bum (think Nicki Minaj or the singer K.Michelle. I don’t really know who this woman is, but I’ve been told my backside is a twin to her backside, but bigger.   *sigh*). I’ve actually been called “a walking orgasm.” I’ve had drivers of cars hit people on bikes for not paying attention to where they were going as I walked down the street   and a couple of close   friends who have said, point blank, I am not in a relationship or married because of my body as it only attracts hypersexual men with less than admirable intentions.   I’ve been on dates with an on-again-off-again boyfriend of mine and had other men approach him when I walk to the powder room asking they can hit on me so they can have sexual relations with me. Even he’s said to me, “I don’t know how you deal with it.”

          It’s unfortunate.   As I’ve aged I’ve learned to handle the inappropriate attention much, much better and calmer than I did than when I was younger. But, it has affected the *type* of men that approach me. And dressing down doesn’t hide what men can obviously see. So, you learn to just dress the best you can and hold yourself with class and dignity and hope it will attract the same sort of man.

          In photos online I dress very, very carefully and mindfully. I show only a little cleavage and cut photos off at an appropriate level except for, of course, the full body photo. I give a *peek* of the goods, but leave anything further to their imaginations.   

          I should also note I live in San Francisco. We have a very small African American population, a very large Asian population and a very large gay population.   At the moment White male-Asian female couples are very common and the Asian friends I have (of different sizes) do very well in the dating world. A Black woman attempting to date in this atmosphere, however, can be daunting. I’ve been told for many years I should move to another area, however, I cannot as I have an elderly mother here I need to remain close to. I have heard from several women of color in CA from mid-20s through early 40s — who are all lovely, beautiful, height-weight-proportionate women —   say they get very little results or messages online. It just seems to be a universal problem that is need of a deeper dialogue like the one you and I are having now. Black women are the largest single population in the country (with 70% unmarried) and, aside from the obvious reasons about Black men being, largely, unavailable in some aspects, which we won’t go into here for obvious reasons, there’s something MUCH deeper going on that needs to be discussed openly and honestly.

          When a man who is not of color asks why a beautiful woman like me is still single I (cheekily, admittedly) ask them when was the last time they dated a woman of color. When they stand there speechless or say “Never,” I respond, “Well, there ya go. That’s why.”

          LOL, I admit to being quite bold.

          I absolutely agree with your comment on stereotypes. My best friend is Asian and she is constantly hit on by Caucasian men who expect her to be submissive when, in actuality, she is quite the firecracker. And, I know in my case, men immediately expect me to be sassy, bossy or hyper sexual (my body shape also does not help with this stereotype).

          I will say this, I have not used online dating for near four years now. I’ve logged on, then closed after a week or so. And, in those four years A LOT has changed. We’re in the Instagram age and profile photos are much more stylized now. I’m a 39-year-old competing with 20-years-olds who use filters and contouring make-up techniques like Kim Kardashian and brow waxes and expensive digital cameras. My photos may be nice, but they’re not *memorable.*   I took your words and thought upon that very seriously today.

          So, I’ve opened a new account. And, beyond that, I’ve created a male account to create the EXACT type of man I want to date. I will then surf female accounts to see who my competition is, how their photos look and what they’re placing in their profiles. I will then take that information and give my profile and photos an upgrade it to get the best results I possibly can. I’ll watch YuTube to learn how to contour, I’ll use different filters to see the effect it gives photos, I’ll take photos in my backyard rather than just in my home to get natural lighting. I’ll take my profile from *nice in 2008* to *memorable in 2014.)

          Then, I’ll monitor my results carefully. And, if I see no results,I’ll tweak more.   Lather, rinse and repeast again if necessary.   I’m also now tracking key words usage in the profiles of men that view my profile. And, as I note the most commonly used words (it’s been fascinating to see which words/things are of importance to the men in my preferred age range! With “life” being the most used word) I will tweak my own profile to include words that really resonate with the men who are reading it.  

          I’ve learned to excel in every other area of my life through hard work and self-teaching. I’m going to learn to excel at this.

          I will always believe that a lighter face next to mine will get the click and… that’s ok. I’ve learned to live with and accept that. One time I did OkCupid’s “rate a face” and saw my photo against a white-collared shirt. The white collared shirt got the vote. LOL. Someone just didn’t want to click on the Black woman’s photo (and it was a hot photo). So, that taught me a thing or two about online dating and that, no matter how good you look, as some people have stated in the comment here some men will click EVERY race except Black. I made my peace with those men years ago.

          Over the years I’ve learned to soften my language toward me in general. I’ve learned instead of “No” when someone asks to meet immediately to say “I’m not really a spur of the moment type of gal. My life is a bit too busy for that, but if you want to plan something for the weekend, I’d love to meet up.”   So…. it’s all in progress. The sexual men, I just ignore. The “I’ve always wanted to sleep with a Black woman” men, I just ignore.  

          Like you I never *remember* I’m Black until I look in a mirror. Being Black isn’t a large part of my experience, really so it can be very difficult when it becomes a very big part of my identity and experience in online dating. And, I need to figure out how to craft a profile that is friend/attractive as well as communicates the message that I live my life in a colorblind way. That can be difficult sometimes.

          I do agree with you that we, Asian and Black women, can very much be the victim of men online who choose to treat us in very specific and offensive ways due to their racial ignorance, stereotypes and/or fetishes. It can be exhausting.  

          So, thanks for the open and honest conversation.   I’ll be putting my 2014 profile upgrade into effect over the next week.   

      2. 13.1.2

        Kyra, have you considered the possibility that your situation might stem from the fact that you are primarily attracted to men who tend to have a standard of beauty polar opposite from your type of beauty? The type of men that would find a curvy intelligent black woman irresistable tend to have darker skin color (black or Hispanic) and based on your own admission, you prefer to not date these type of men. If you had your choice between an intelligent, educated black man who is completely into you and a White/Asian guy who is into a Suzy (the generic White girl), you will probably have your eyes set on the White guy and completely ignore/dismiss the black guy for whatever reason. And I don’t want to hear that all the good black men are unavailable. It could be argued that your own dating bias has put you in your difficult predicament.

        By the way, all the men who show interest in you are attracted to the physical first. The better ones just know attraction shouldnt be ONLY physical and search for deeper connection while some just want sex. Even though all the men who approach you crudely are most likely in the category of men who just want sex, there’s no guarantee that the guy who approaches you without first commenting on your curves isnt just after sex. You know this already so I’m preaching to the choir.

        1. Kyra

          Absolutely, Victor, I have. This came with time, age, reading (about men and women, race and attachment). My comments were written quite a long time ago and my views (as well as my actions) have vastly changed. I also just stopped dating or, rather, looking for dates. No online dating whatsoever. I’m just focusing on living.

          However, yes, you are right. The men I am probably more drawn to may be very physically attracted to me (as I’ve never had issue in that department, I’m hounded every day men men of all colors), but when it comes to finding dating or exploring emotional compatibility they have no interest. Men are visual and appreciate an attractive woman’s shape. If they are attracted to you they ask you out, in hopes of having sex with you. I’ve understood and learned that over time, especially reading blogs like Evan’s. But, one their racially-curious sexual desire is explored (or not, dependent on how I feel about them and what I seek) they have no interest. And, I am aware it is because they seek a woman they feel more compatible or “right for them to date seriously or marry,” which is usually a White or lighter woman. I do not begrudge this. I realize this is just how it is and women of color have a more difficult time finding individuals nowadays willing to date them seriously.

          I took some time to date/focus on men of many colors over the past couple of years. The problems I’ve had with men of my own race, sadly, still existed I found.  I met   nice man and went on a date and, immediately, was spoken down to because I began singing along to a Neil Young song on the overheard in the restaurant. A friend of a relative showed extreme interest in me earlier this year. After some talking the conversation changed. I was “uppity” or “bougie.” I watched strange things or listened to strange music. I talked “white.” And, lastly, he had a degree of homophobia and transphobia that I was extremely offended by. I’m also an atheist and I’ve found many in my culture to be extremely religious.

          There’s been a disconnect I’ve had difficulty making connect when dating Black men. So, I just stopped dating or, rather, looking for dates. It’s just where I need to be right now: with me, being me without apology or feeling as if I need to find a space I fit where men accept me.

          So, while I absolutely agree with you, it is something I’ve found to be a bit of a conundrum in dating. Where does an out of the box, rock/classical/indie music loving, atheist, pansexual Black woman find a man who sees her as woman first, color second? Heck if I know. The men of color I have found to be as out of the box as I date/marry outside of their race, because, like I, they’ve had difficulty finding a Black woman who accepts and appreciates their uniqueness.   So, I’ve been good with not focusing on anything but me now and just being me: woman first, color second.

          Someday, a good man of any color will see me the same way, get with it and lock me down. Until then, I’m good. Thanks for the thoughtful and respectful comment!

        2. Kyra

          I also agree. Not all good black men are taken. Black (all) men of a specific caliber, absolutely, diminishes once you hit 40 and up, but there are still good Black men out there. The difference for me is that I’ve always been on the quirky side, since teenage years. And, the things I’ve learned, done, read, watched, sung or had great interest in have not been things Black men have. I was around 16 or 17 when I began hearing Black men call me “weird” or “uppity” or “strange.”   So, I suppose the reasons I taught myself to primarily consider the intelligent, educated White man over the intelligent, educated Black man is because I could have conversations that are important to me about subjects a percentage of men in my race are not open to or interested in having.

          In a conversation with some of those family members and the male who was interested in me, family was quick to mention how “different” and “uppity” I am: that I like “that white kind of stuff.”   So, perhaps it’s the person I am and the interests I’ve grown to have that are more the issue than I’m just not into Black men.

          I’m into all men, but the main thing is they have to be into me too… just the way I am. I just haven’t found that man yet, but I’m absolutely open now to that man being of any color.

  14. 14

    Some really great responses here- I wish I could discuss what every poster has said, but time limits me.

    Jada- to your last paragraph in #9- the Asian women being “Atheist/Agnostic”- I never thought of that. I actually didn’t even know that. With us South Asians, life tends to revolve strongly around religion (for a lot, though not everyone).

    yeah- now that I’m comparing online dating in my thirties to my 20s, I’m noticing an interesting pattern. In my twenties, I rarely got e-mails from men of my own culture (Indian). Most of them were from white men.

    Now, at 32, I don’t get any e-mails from white men, or men of other races, but only men of my race. I haven’t changed too much in my core values and appearance in only a few years, so the only thing I can think of is this:

    In my twenties, those guys were trying to just satisfy curiousity (or fetish)? Now, when, presumably, men are looking to settle down, they’re only looking at women their own race (or East Asian).

    Oh, to SS-

    That’s awesome that you called those guys on their bs. Good for you! 🙂

  15. 15
    Karl R

    The article said:
    “More than 80 percent of whites — even the 48 percent of males and 28 percent of females who said they were indifferent to race — sent messages to whites”

    If I believe (correctly or incorrectly) that I will get the most responses from white women, then it becomes a rational decision to focus my efforts on those women. A lot of that belief is based upon what I think the women I contact will prefer.

    If I meet a woman in real life, I have a way to guage her interest in me. If it’s online, then it’s just a gamble. And the odds are lower if I contact someone who isn’t white.

    Men gravitate toward what they like -and- toward where they think they’ll have the most success. (People don’t like constant rejection, so they tend to avoid large numbers of  low-probability dating situations.) Therefore, I’m not sure that peoples actions are purely based upon racial bias. It seems likely that they’re partly based upon an expectation of encountering racial bias in other people.

    The InBetweener said: (#3)
    “Unfortunately, a lot of people misconstrue ‘race’ for ‘culture’ when I see them as two (2) TOTALLY different factors when it comes to dating.”

    Yes and no. Your race doesn’t determine your culture. But there’s often a strong correlation between race and culture.

    For example, in college I met a student who’d been orphaned or abandoned as an infant/toddler during the Vietnam War. She’d been adopted by an American family and been raised around the U.S. Her culture was white/middle class/army brat.

    But the majority of Vietnamese in this city either grew up in Vietnam, or they were raised in a Vietnamese neighborhood where all the adults had been raised in Vietnam. If I meet a Vietnamese woman in those neigborhoods, we probably won’t be culturally similar.

    In most cases, people will get along better when there is cultural similarity (there’s one fewer source of potential misunderstandings).

    If I meet someone in real life, I can take an educated guess as to whether there are cultural similarities/differences. (Based on the person’s name, accent and speech patterns.) On-line, those clues are a lot less apparent.

    Jadafisk said: (#9)
    “many people lie  or use preposterous work-arounds (if a person  has found  99% of the people in a  particular  racial  group  unappealing, they can say that they’d be theoretically  willing to date that 1% or people from that group  that they haven’t had the opportunity to see before,  instead of just  describing themselves as functionally  unwilling)  to  obscure their racial  preferences  and just  practice them behind closed doors,”

    In the time I spent on, I don’t believe I ever contacted a black or hispanic woman. Nor do I believe I ever added a black or hispanic woman to my favorites. Due to some cultural differences, I don’t think it’s a stretch for me to say that I’d rapidly rule out 99% of the black and hispanic women.

    However, I have dated black and hispanic women whom I met in real life. I found them attractive, and I found them sufficiently similar for my own comfort.

    99% of the time, I will quickly exclude a black or hispanic woman as a potential date. But 1% of the single  black/hispanic women in this city is still a 5-digit number. That’s a lot of women. And I’m not going to rule out that many women because the odds of compatability are low.

    Does  my “1%” attitude  make me “functionally unwilling” to date blacks and hispanics?

    Jadafisk said: (#9)
    “Asian women  […] they’re often assimilated into  ”mainstream” culture, raised in  neighborhoods and taught in schools right alongside whites, so there’s lots of common ground”

    While I generally  find these women physically  attractive and sufficiently similar to me, I have never dated a Chinese, Japanese, Korean or Vietnamese woman. (Due to lack of mutual interest.)

    I’m not sure a person’s past dating record is an accurate reflection of their preferences and attitudes (though it does provide some insight).

  16. 16

    EMK- I’m so sorry for the double post- I promise it’s the last time I’ll do it. But thanks for bringing this topic up. It’s actually been on my mind lately, and it’s great to discuss this with others.

  17. 17

    @Christine: That could be, but I also think it’s more appearance-related than anything. I’ve done a lot of interracial dating, and when I would ask some of the non-black men about the outside negative perception of African-American women, I rarely heard them mention attitude. It was more about looks that they didn’t consider to be attractive and perceived cultural differences (a supposed “ghetto” mentality). I also think that while Asian women are definitely perceived as submissive by most groups of men, white women are not perceived that way by white MEN. In fact, most white men that I know laugh at the idea that white women are supposed to be more submissive or easier to get along with in a general sense. The only men that seem to have this perception are minority men.
    @Sayanta… it was pretty fun to do. I’m sure what happened was that they saw my picture and said, “Ooh, she’s cute,” and decided to write me. A dating coach/matchmaker I know (who is white) said she would meet white men who would say that they weren’t interested in dating certain groups of women (likely black), but when they happened to see a picture of a cute black woman in the book, they would say they’d like to go out with her. The matchmaker would say, “Wait, I thought you weren’t interested in black women?” and the man would answer, “But she’s hot though!”
    I just think the best thing to do — regardless of your preference — is not list one at all, and then decide to write to/write back to those people that you find attractive (physically and otherwise). If they happen to be all white, so be it, but at least you don’t get yourself caught up in a trap when you’re contacting someone and that person notes your exclusionary selections!
    Despite all this, I think the internet CAN be an excellent way for interracial relationships to begin. I interact with many black women who are involved with or married to non-black men, and a large number of them met their partners on the Internet. In a way, the Internet provides both groups greater access to people they likely wouldn’t have met in real life… some black women might get a reasonable amount of non-black men contacting them online, but none in real life, so online dating can be a plus in that sense.
    It’s a minus though when you often get to see racial preferences displayed right in front of your eyes. I honestly have no problem with whites preferring whites, blacks preferring blacks, etc., but when it’s clear that people are preferring everything BUT black, that is telling me that we’re still in a society where certain interracial pairings are much less acceptable than others.
    So I take a lot of the “Americans are more receptive to interracial marriage” statements with a grain of salt. Are we better than we were 30-40 years ago? Absolutely. But if one asked specifically about certain interracial pairings, I think that answers would be very telling.

  18. 18

    Karl #15, first paragraph-

    Hmmm- I don’t know about that. If I make the first step to write toward someone who’s white, Latino, or black (I’ve approached all three online), it’s obvious that fear of rejection shouldn’t be a factor. Yet, I rarely get responses from men outside my race anymore, when I did in my twenties.

    Before someone recommends getting dating site coaching (not that I’m knocking that, EMK :-)) I usually get responses to the e-mails I send to Indian men. For those of you who’ve read my posts- I don’t really fit the ‘classic’ stereotype of a traditional Indian woman. So considering all this, there must be something deeper than a fear of rejection factor going on here.

  19. 19

    @Sayanta — I meant to mention something about Indian men… actually, I might have said something about this before in a thread a long long time ago.
    When I started dating online, I got a LOT of contact from Indian men. The same happened when I did Speed Dating or went to a bar/club/party… even at my favorite local Indian food spot, the waiter asked me out.
    I went on one date with some of these guys, but it never went past that. The waiter invited me up to his place to “watch TV” after the date, and I declined. Some of the other guys would call me to ask if I wanted to go out to a club that night (and they would call around 9 p.m. or so), and then with one guy who I met while at a club, the next time he called me was when he was drunk and it was 1:30 a.m.   On a Wednesday.
    Long story short — especially seeing the low numbers of interracial marriage with Indians in America — I came to the conclusion that I was “just for fun.” That might have been the same if I was a white woman as well, but it just seemed so odd how many initial contacts (in real life and online) I got from Indian men compared to white/Hispanic/other Asian men…
    Meanwhile, I only know of one or two Indian man-black woman married couples out there… I eventually stopped responding to the Indian men who’d contact me because I had the sense that they were still in their “play around with non-Indian women” phase, and then when they hit that magical age, they would settle down and marry an Indian woman that they didn’t meet at the bar or club or at Speed Dating or on the Internet, unless it was… and that’s a whole different scenario.
    Any thoughts?

  20. 20

    I am in the UK and can say that interracial dating is not much of an issue here, like it appears to be in the US. I think the history in the US  has alot to do with it; possibly because of slavery.

    Just my humble opinion.

    1. 20.1

      You’re likely correct but there is a lot of differences between people in Europe and people in the US.   People of Europe, of all racial backgrounds, have become a more homogenous group simply because they are typically forced to live together and interact in most cases.   Although segregation no longer exists in America, there is still selective segregation and economic segregation (whites tend to live amongst whites and similarly the same with other races), although this is likely by choice by whites and more economic reasons for blacks and Hispanics.   Thus, the cultural differences remain and are integrated into each new generation and the cycle continues, as well as stereotypes.

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