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The Truth About Racial Dating Preferences in the Digital Age

A couple with racial dating preferences.
Thanks to the internet, modern dating has become both easy and overly complicated.

The miracle invention that is online dating allows you to date just about anyone with a dating profile. But could an argument be made that while the internet opens you up to a near-limitless pool of romantic candidates, the way online dating platforms functions perpetuates racial biases?

Look, is having racial dating preferences wrong? Not at all.

We are all free to love who we want. But it isn’t wrong to be open-minded about dating outside of your own race either. And are you limiting yourself from possibly having the best partner for you, regardless of race and culture?

Despite rapid globalization and a changing attitude towards multiculturism, outdated beliefs and prejudices towards interracial dating pervade society. This creates challenges and obstacles for individuals seeking relationships outside their racial group.

A study published in the National Library of Medicine entitled Negative Reactions in Heterosexual Racial Minority and Majority Group Members was done wherein 100 participants from different races were exposed to a mock dating profile.

The result showed that individuals who indicated a racial preference in their dating profile were perceived as more racist and received lower ratings in terms of attractiveness and overall positive evaluation compared to those who did not disclose any preference. Participants were also less inclined to establish a connection with these individuals.

Also, participants who viewed a dating profile disclosing a racial preference reported experiencing higher levels of negative emotions and lower levels of positive emotions compared to those who viewed a profile without any preference mentioned.

This result demonstrates that having racial preferences leads to an unfavorable response, even in the intimate sphere.

Here, we will discuss why there are racial dating preferences, and whether such preferences perpetuate racial biases or promote cultural diversity in the modern dating scene.

5 Reasons Why There Is Racial Preference Bias in Online Dating

The reality is that one’s personal preferences online largely reflect who they are in person. Altering your online persona doesn’t do you favors considering that at some point, you are bound to meet your online match in person.

Whether online or in person, one’s racial preferences in dating usually stem from several factors. It could be due to personal, societal, or more specific reasons. Below are the potential reasons why some people prefer dating someone from a particular race:

A man with preference bias in dating.
A person's preference bias may influence their attraction when it comes to dating.
  1. Cultural Familiarity

    Dating someone outside your racial group may require adjustments and changes. So some people stay in their comfort zone. They prefer someone with the same cultural background and upbringing, who can relate to their beliefs, experiences, or traditions.

  2. Societal Norms and Stereotypes

    People have the tendency to conform to the norms of their society. In dating, societal attitudes and stereotypes about different racial or ethnic groups can influence dating preferences. People’s preconceived notions and stereotypes may lead them to believe that.

  3. Media Influence

    At times, we find ourselves inspired by a celebrity and choose to emulate their actions or behavior. This influence can extend to our dating lives as well.

    Television, movies, and advertising often perpetuate specific beauty standards and ideals that shape people’s preferences. If certain racial or ethnic groups are consistently portrayed in a particular way or portrayed as more desirable, it can impact your racial preference in dating.

  4. Personal Experiences and Exposure

    Our encounters with people of similar or dissimilar racial backgrounds can also impact our dating preferences. Our positive or negative experiences can influence our inclination to date within or outside of a specific ethnic group.

  5. Family and Peer Influence

    Your family could also influence what race wouldn’t you date and what race you prefer. If you’re from a culture that venerates family, you may find your dating options limited. Cultural expectations, family values, or peer pressure can contribute to our preference to date within a specific racial or ethnic group.

How Online Dating Can Influence Racial Biases and Cultural Diversity

Online dating is unique in the sense that physical borders simply do not apply. It is where relationship-seekers of all races, ages, and personalities congregate.

Whether negative or positive, dating online can influence your views and perspectives on multicultural and multiracial relationships.

A man contemplating the question, “What race am I attracted to?”
“What race am I attracted to?” Your heart wants to be openminded. Let it.

Racial Biases

  1. Perpetuation of Racial Biases

    Because dating apps allow you to filter potential matches by preference, you’ll have to ask yourself “What race am I attracted to?”

    This feature may be convenient, but in ways reinforces your existing preferences or stereotypes and limits opportunities for meaningful cross-cultural connections.

  2. Algorithm-caused Reinforcement

Online dating may amplify racial dating preferences for a particular race. The algorithm in the app, which is based on one’s activity, may create a bubble. This may result in individuals predominantly interacting with others who share their racial or cultural background.

Cultural Diversity

  1. Overcoming Geographical Constraints

    Online dating can enable us to easily connect to people from different cultural backgrounds. It can be a bridge to meeting someone you may not have encountered yet. It opens up opportunities for cultural diversity and enrichment by facilitating connections between people across geographical boundaries.

  2. Challenging Stereotypes

    Save the filter feature of some dating apps, online dating may allow us to challenge stereotypes by connecting and engaging with people from diverse racial backgrounds. It allows us to get to know people beyond their race. And in the end, it makes us appreciate different cultures.

  3. Increased Access to Cultural Experiences

    If we engage more with different people without prejudice on their cultural backgrounds, we become more accepting and open-minded. Our interactions with them can lead to our personal growth and broaden our worldview. Online dating will expose us to new cultures, traditions, and perspectives.

Love knows no race

Have you ever wondered to yourself “What race will I marry?” That’s because you have been exposed to stereotypes and racial biases that both influence and challenge your own personal views.

But try to open your mind and heart when dating. When you challenge these biases and embrace a more open-minded approach, you will create meaningful connections with individuals from diverse racial backgrounds.

Love knows no age or race. And true compatibility and fulfillment cannot be found through your racial dating preferences. It is found by recognizing the special qualities and experiences that individuals from different racial backgrounds may bring to a relationship. Even if you’re dating someone with the same cultural upbringing, significant misunderstandings can still arise. In the end, it is not your race that will make your relationship thrive, but rather your willingness to listen, learn, and appreciate each other’s different perspectives.

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