Home “White Guys Suck” & Other Insights from OKCupid Study on Race & Online Dating

“White Guys Suck” & Other Insights from OKCupid Study on Race & Online Dating

According to a recent study conducted by dating website OKCupid, “Black women are sweethearts… white men are sh*tty,” and white people in general are a horrible bunch of xenophobes.

The company recently ran some numbers on response rates for messages sent between almost a million otherwise compatible men and women of varying races, and the results are eye-opening. “Whenever we compare the match/reply charts for a given breakdown of the population, they should look about the same,” the related blog post reads. “However, this, like so many other fine assumptions, totally breaks down when race gets involved.”

In general, the greater a pair’s compatibility according to OKCupid’s mysterious matching system, the greater the likelihood that a sent message will receive a reply.

As a control group, the folks at OKCupid examined reply rates based on zodiac signs. They predicted a 60% match rate among all zodiac signs, and there was relatively little variation between the response rates, which ran in the 30% range and pretty much match up with the line graph above:

However, when looking at profiles with a similar degree of compatibility – right around 60% – the reply rates varied wildly based on gender and, interestingly, race:

It probably comes as no surprise to the seasoned Internet user that, in general, the ladies have a better chance of getting a reply to a sent message (sorry, fellas!), but looking at the exact breakdown of replies is a disheartening commentary on interracial dating.

Here’s a table showing response rates for male senders of varying ethnicities:

The data show that black women reply “about a quarter more often” than women of other races, that white men get more responses, and, to quote from the post, “White women prefer white men to the exclusion of everyone else–and Asian and Hispanic women prefer them even more exclusively. These three types of women only respond well to white men. More significantly, these groups’ reply rates to non-whites is terrible.”

Next, let’s take a look at what happens when the sender is a woman:

And now we see why white men are today’s punching bag – at least on the OKCupid blog. They respond less than any other group, and they respond least of all to black women. And speaking of black women, who we saw in the last table responded more than other groups: These ladies are receiving fewer responses than their peers of other races.

Finally, take a look at this chart looking at users’ responses to the question, “Would you prefer to date someone of your own skin color/racial background?”

Ouch! White men and women do not come off particularly well, especially considering the relative open-mindedness of their peers. And sadder still, according to OKCupid’s internal metrics, their users are younger, better educated, and more progressive than users on other sites. Truly, the mind reels.

Without making any assumptions, we would also love to see how the data look for same-sex pairs of varying races. Is there something about GLBT culture that might make queer folks less racist than our straight counterparts?

Moreover, we wonder if the study was conducted based on data from U.S. users only, or whether international users’ messages and replies were examined, as well.

What do you think this research signifies, RWW reader? Are there other, unseen factors at play, or do you think the data stand as a sad commentary on unjustifiable race-based phobias inherent in a hegemonic culture? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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