Research has shown that people are interested in dating or reaching out to individuals of the same race. But that doesn’t mean they won’t respond to someone who isn’t.
A slew of researchers have been analyzing online dating by examining anonymous data provided by dating websites, USA Today reports. More and more sites are finding that interracial dating has become easier online.
Sociologist Kevin Lewis of the University of California, San Diego analyzed the first interactions of 126,134 American users on OkCupid.com. His research, which can be found in the journal proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reflects similar thoughts: “I’m showing that racial boundaries are being crossed and are more permeable than we once thought,” he told USA Today.
Lewis found that people are more likely to respond to people outside of their race rather than to pursue them.
“It’s not that people’s levels of prejudice are changing; people are avoiding others from a different racial background because they think those other people won’t be interested,” he says. “Receiving an interracial contact and replying to it makes you send over twice as many new interracial messages in the short-term future than you would have otherwise.”
According to Lewis’ research, the strongest in-race contact is maintained among Asians. Whites were more likely to traverse racial lines.
“There’s a high degree of segregation by race. It’s part of the reason people don’t initiate across racial lines.”
Sociologist Jennifer Lundquist of the University of Massachusetts in Amherst did discover some irregularities for minorities. According to her research, which has been published in the American Journal of Sociology, white dater’s messages get more responses from daters of other racial groups; however, white women respond mostly to white men. Black daters are often ignored when they contact people outside their race.
“Black women are the most penalized of any online dating group,” Lundquist said.