Everyone has had a time in their life where they have been rejected or turned down by someone they were interested it, even the most ‘beautiful’ of people. These encounters are either dismissed by a simple “Sorry, I’m not interested” or the more common “You’re just not my type”; however, more often then not the line ‘You’re just not my type’ has been used and associated with race.
In this day and age it is unfortunate that race continues to be an issue not just socially but also in the dating scene, and although there are many people who are willing to befriend people of different cultures and ethnicities, the friendliness ends when any sort of relations are involved, be it romantic or sexual relations. These people claim that they are not racist and may use excuses such as; “we just don’t have anything in common” or “I’m just not attracted to (insert race here) people.” However before we go any further let us define a few terms. Race, is a classification system used to categorize humans into large and distinct populations or groups by anatomical, cultural, ethnic, genetic, geographical, historical, linguistic, religious, and/or social affiliation. Type, a category of people or things having common characteristics. Finally, racism; the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.
In the world of social media it seems as though dating has been taken to a whole new level with the accessibility of many different dating apps: OkCupid, Tinder, Grindr, Jack’d, Hot or Not, etc. Part of this new media take over of dating could be accredited to the ability to tailor your search results and only see profiles of people who have either physical or personal characteristics that you are interested in. However, many people have been seen bordering the line of what they simply aren’t interested in and racism. There have been many occasions when reading through someone’s profile that you may come across the phrases “no rice” or “no chocolate” or perhaps in broader terms “no blacks” and “no Asians.” Although many may feel that racism is only tailored to minorities, ‘white’ people also face discrimination on these dating apps. In 10 Grindr profiles that had specified they were not interested in a particular race, 5 of those men could not explain why they were disinterested but simply stated that they don’t fall into their ‘type’ and ensured that they weren’t racist. However the other 5 men when questioned, provided reasons that were either petty or superficial in nature. One of the men when questioned stated “Darker skin is sexy. A.k.a. Latino, Middle-Eastern, Asian, Indian, Black.” Another man stated that he was disinterested in “brown” men because “I like guys that are more dominant and I just don’t usually see those qualities in brown people.” When asked if he found a person who was both brown and dominant, would he date them? He responded “It depends on the person.”
Now although none of these men expressed any hatred towards any particular race, these racist undertones were formed in their belief that people who identify as a certain race, share something universally in common that you do not like. In reality the only thing that these people have in common is a tool that has been socially constructed to categorize people. In grouping these people together and ruling out the race as a whole, that is in fact racist. For example one of the men stated that ‘brown people’ don’t express the level of dominance that he is interested in. Surely there is at least one ‘brown’ man on this planet who can exert the level of dominance to this man’s satisfaction. Grouping the race as a whole and saying ‘brown people aren’t dominant’ is racist.
Although everyone should be held responsible for their actions, these dating apps also share the blame enabling these racist attitudes by designing features on these apps that give users the ability to only be matched with, or see other users of a particular race. Both Grindr and Jack’d have filters which allow you to tailor your search results to only view people of a certain race or races that you are interested in along with other superficial features such as desired height and weight. However, why is so much emphasis placed on ethnicity? Since when has race been joined together with weight, height, body type, and relationship status as a dating deal breaker? Now you may say that these apps only provide these features per request of the consumer, however by creating these features, these apps enable the racist attitudes of a small group of users, and as a result, open door for more users to take advantage of these features and further these racist attitudes.
When it comes down to it we are all humans searching for acceptance by one another. So it’s up to you to decide whether or not racial preferences are racist. It could be your type, preference, or ignorance, however attributing a certain characteristic to a whole magnitude of people is racist. Let us not forget; racism is the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race.