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(“If you’re a black man who prefers to date white women, this might be a good option,” he said — presuming you can get over the object of your affection’s stated racial preferences.) It costs a month to message other members, and the site’s terms of service specifically prohibit messages that “promote racism, bigotry, [or] hatred.” “The site is not racially motivated in any way,” Russell stressed.
And yet, regardless of what Russell thinks about his site or his own intentions, there’s no denying that dating is racially motivated — and online dating, demonstrably so.
Data from Ok Cupid, the most transparent of the mainstream dating sites, has repeatedly shown a sitewide bias against people of colour.
(“Every kind of way you can measure their success on a site — how people rate them, how often they reply to their messages, how many messages they get — that’s all reduced,” the site’s data scientist once told NPR.) Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has also found that “racial segregation in romantic networks” is not only “robust,” but “ubiquitous.” I ask Russell if he’s at all aware or concerned that white people already had the upper hand in online dating.
“It’s our right to have this business,” he replied — the “we” presumably referring to white people, generally.