We looked at race in one of our very first posts, and today I’d like to revisit the topic with fresh data.
Move one square to the left, and you see that they think Latinos are 1% above average, and so on.
The color is there to make the big trends easy to see. Ok Cupid users are certainly no more open-minded than they used to be. Here are the numbers for 2009 till now—use the slider to move through time. These numbers reflect different people year-to-year. Together the charts fold in data from some 25 million accounts.
One interesting thing is to compare what you see above with what those same users have about their racial attitudes.
Answers to match questions have been getting significantly less biased over time: And yet the underlying behavior has stayed the same.
You can use other online data to see this split personality play out elsewhere.
The night Obama was first elected was a moment of catharsis. All the dating data I’ve seen fits Ok Cupid’s pattern: black people and Asian men get short shrift.It really felt like something had changed about the way America perceived and thought about race, and for at least that brief moment, the nation appeared united. For example, below are the numbers from Date Hookup, a site that we acquired a few years ago (but that still operates independently.) Date Hookup has a distinct userbase, a distinct user acquisition model, a distinct interface, yet their data reflects the same basic biases: While Ok Cupid is large enough that its demographics reflect the general Internet-using public, Date Hookup is a niche site particularly popular with Latinos and blacks (those groups comprise 13% and 20% of the site, respectively.) Other sites in our portfolio, with still different demographics and business models, show the same attraction patterns.No less than Karl Rove captured the moment well: “an African-American candidate who was aspirational and inspirational…is very powerful. Q: Is it possible that some small number of users is throwing off the averages? For example, 82% of non-black men on Ok Cupid show some bias against black women.It’s a night for our country to celebrate, and for the world to celebrate.” Meanwhile, that same evening, American Google Searches for the word “nigger” hit an all-time high.) a few questions always seem to come up. And, similarly, it’s not outliers among the women driving the results. Anytime you’re trying to make an impression on a stranger.It’s a wholesale phenomenon: the ratings for an entire population are shifted down. And science has long known that bonuses accrue to beautiful people: they have better outcomes at work and at school, more success with juries, even live longer lives, and so on.Q: Are you saying that because I prefer to date [whatever race], I’m a racist? There are many situations that might not be explicitly romantic, but are nonetheless a lot like a first date. In short, “beautiful people” receive a lot of the same built-in benefits in our society that white people do. Beauty is a cultural idea as much as a physical one, and the standard is of course set by the dominant culture. One interesting thing about Ok Cupid’s interface is that we allow people to select more than one race, so you can actually look at people who’ve combined “white” with another racial description. In fact it goes a long way towards undoing any bias against you.