Race and dating websites
"I don't think that this is going to be fixed without someone doing something like that, specifically starting a dating app or a dating company addressing it."Rudder is less optimistic."There is no way to change racism in dating without changing it outright in every way," he says.
Instead, we’re trying to focus on facilitating a better experience and environment."About 90 percent of people [whom we work with] had a racial preference, and about 85 percent of that was for white people," she says."Black women and Asian men have it the worst."I'm not a black woman or an Asian man, but I'm a first generation Indian-American woman. " For example, after asking where I lived and how I was planning to spend the weekend, a Tinder user I matched with jumped right into: "So what is your ethnicity? The classic question," he began nonchalantly guessing: "Indian or Sri Lankan? I grew up with these kind of questions living in Laredo, Texas, and later in college at the University of Texas at Austin. Race had yet again become the conversation starter."If you accept the premise that most people are people of goodwill, which I think is reasonable, I don't think people are adopting these preferences because they really dislike other races or out of a racial thing," says Rudder.As an Asian male, he felt that the current offerings “get hijacked by the majority.” So, Tran and a few friends spent a weekend building an app that was focused on minorities and those who like minorities.That was two months ago — since then, Color Dating has attracted more than 30,000 users and quite a bit of positive feedback.“All the dating data I’ve seen fits Ok Cupid’s pattern: black people and Asian men get short shrift,” noted an Ok Cupid study from 2014.
Vu, who went through Y Combinator with two separate startups before launching Color Dating, said that the online dating experience — particularly for quick-swipe apps like Tinder — can be frustrating for minorities.
Tran, a Seattle native who re-located to the Bay Area after stints with Student RND and Tune, said that he primarily made Color Dating after females consistently told him that “I don’t date Asian guys,” or, “I’m just not attracted to Asian guys.” Tran felt that this was unfair and that the trend carried over into dating apps like Tinder.
He cited experiments that showed Asian males getting significantly fewer “matches” than Caucasian males and studies that demonstrated how difficult online dating can be for black women.
At the same time, he knew friends who were attracted to men and women outside of their own race, but they felt like it was too taboo to pursue anything because of pressure from parents or other reasons.
Color Dating aims to facilitate more positive messages around interracial dating.
"A guy asked me if I was part white, and I was like, ' No,' and he was like, ' Oh, I thought you were,'" she says. By simply swiping left or right on a certain profile without a lot of context besides looks (and let's be honest, how many people are reading profiles? African-American investment banker Justin*, 44, hardly deals with these kind of questions or comments from women, suggesting that this is a male-oriented issue. "I do have a high attraction to white women, so I'm not really asking them where they're from," he says.