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Monday, June 06, 2011

Patterns of Racial-Ethnic Exclusion by Internet Daters

"Facts are the enemy of truth." - Miguel de Cervantes

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Patterns of Racial-Ethnic Exclusion by Internet Daters

"Racial exclusion in dating is gendered; Asian males and black females are more highly excluded than their opposite-sex counterparts"

"The literature on interracial dating and racial boundaries generally focuses on white-minority relationships, ignoring inter-minority pairings...

Previous studies indicate racial homogamy in dating is strong among all racial groups (i.e., Blackwell and Lichter 2004; Joyner and Kao 2005). Assimilation theory posits that a shared racial identity is a powerful determinant of in-group marital preferences (Gordon 1964; Kalmijn 1998). Similarly, the evolutionary psychology perspective asserts that “similarity overwhelmingly is the rule in human mating.”(Buss and Schmitt 1993:205) According to these perspectives, the majority of our online daters should prefer to date within their own racial-ethnic group.

Other theories suggest different preferences for racial homogamy among racial groups. Social exchange theories argue that lower status racial-ethnic groups trade wealth and education for a racially higher status mate (Davis 1941; Merton 1941). Minority group members who intermarry with whites exchange their higher socioeconomic status for the higher racial status of a white spouse (Blackwell and Lichter 2000; Kalmijn 1993; Qian 1997). Nonwhite daters gain status by dating any white. Whites, on the other hand, have little to gain by dating minorities unless the latter can elevate their economic status. Similarly, Blumer (1958) posits that, as the historically dominant group, whites solidify and maintain their group position through prejudice towards others. According to social exchange and group position theories then, Asians, Latinos and blacks of similar socio-economic status should be more open than whites to outdating and more open to dating whites than whites are to dating them.

Existing theories also suggest differences in the degree of acceptance or exclusion different racial-ethnic groups may face in dating markets. According to the social exchange perspective and classic assimilation theory, those minority groups that enjoy greater secondary structural integration, as measured by income, educational attainment and residential integration, should enjoy greater primary structural incorporation or close, personal ties with out-group members... Based on the secondary structural assimilation of Middle Easterners, East Indians and Asians, one might expect whites to prefer dating those groups over Latinos, and to least prefer dating blacks...

Recent studies argue that similar to the inclusion of European immigrant groups, the boundaries of “whiteness” are extending to include Latinos and Asians, but remain closed to blacks (i.e., Feliciano 2001; Lee and Bean 2007). Evidence for this thesis is found in both the greater acceptance by whites of Latinos and Asians than blacks, and also the greater acceptance of whites than blacks by Latinos and Asians...

The classic assimilation perspective, consistent with the aforementioned studies, suggests that Asians, Latinos and blacks will prefer to date whites over one another, and that Latinos and Asians will be more open to dating one another than they will be to dating blacks. However, much of the research considered thus far does not consider the extent to which racial-ethnic exclusion may be gendered...

Several studies confirm [the Evolutionary Psychological prediction] that women are less willing to out-marry than are men (Tucker and Kernan 1995; Yancey 2002), and place more emphasis on selecting a same-race partner than men (Fisman et al. 2006). Collectively, these studies predict that women will be choosier, that is, have more criteria for dates and be more likely to select a same-race date than men...

It follows from both social exchange and sexual strategies theories that women should prefer dating white, Asian, Middle Eastern and East Indian men than black or Latino men [due to wealth]...

Recent survey research suggests that internet daters do not differ in socio-economic or demographic characteristics (such as gender, race or education) from single internet users who do not use internet dating services... Online daters are also found to be more socially liberal compared to others (Madden and Lenhart 2006), and more educated respondents have been shown to express more positive racial attitudes (Bobo and Massagli 2001)...

Misrepresentation of age and physical characteristics is common among internet daters, although scholars find no gender or ethnic differences in the levels of mispresentation (Cornwell and Lundgren 2001)...

In contrast to marriage and dating outcomes (Harris and Ono 2005), stated racial preferences are not necessarily limited by physical proximity. On the internet, individuals are free to state preferences for groups they might not normally come into contact with in their everyday lives. Therefore, stated racial preferences in an actual search for a date may be a better indicator of the social distance between groups than dating or marriage outcomes...

Women are more likely than men to state preferences for all characteristics except body type... Women tended to state preferences for many more characteristics than males (50% vs. 34%)...

We see few racial differences in the percentages stating racial preferences. For those who state a preference, both white males and females are the least open to interracial dating within their genders – 29 percent of white males and 65 percent of white females prefer to date only whites...

White women (4%) are less likely than black women (8%), Latinas (16%), and especially, Asian women (40%) to prefer to date only outside of their respective racial group...

We find women are much more likely to state a racial preference than men (74% vs. 58%, pr = .001, not shown). However, we see that only some groups of women prefer to be more racially homogamous than men. Among those who state a racial preference, more white women (65%) and black women (45%) prefer to date only within their race than their male counterparts (29% vs. 23%). However, Latino males and females do not differ in preferring racial homogamy, and Asian women are much less likely than their male counterparts to prefer to only in-date (6% vs. 21%)...

Consistent with social exchange and group position theories, Asians, Latinos and blacks are more open to dating whites than whites are to dating them. Of those who state a racial preference, 97 percent of white men exclude black women, 48 percent exclude Latinas, and 53 percent exclude Asian women. In contrast, white men are excluded by 76 percent of black women, 33 percent of Latinas, and only 11 percent of Asian women. Similarly, 92 percent of white women exclude black men, 77 percent exclude Latinos, and 93 percent exclude Asian men. White women are excluded by 71 percent of black men, 31 percent of Latinos, and 36 percent of Asian men...

For Asian women, only 11 percent of whom exclude white men as dates, far less than the 40 percent excluding Asian men...

Latinas’ dating preferences are inconsistent with racial-economic exchange theory as they exclude Asian men (90%) at higher rates than black men (76%)...

Although white women and Latinas are more exclusionary of Middle Easterners, Asians and East Indians than of blacks, white men and Asian men are far more exclusionary of black women than other groups of women. The greater exclusion of black women by white and Asian men supports the secondary structural integration thesis, but the pattern of exclusion among women does not. This is particularly surprising because both social exchange and sexual strategies theories posit that women seek economic and financial security in a mate. Thus, women’s rejection of higher earning men fails to support these theories.

Similarly, we find significant gender differences in the exclusion and inclusion of Asians and blacks. White females, black females and Latinas are all much more likely to exclude Asian men as dates than their male counterparts are to exclude Asian women. In contrast, the gendered pattern to the exclusion of blacks is unique in that it is the only case where women from a particular minority group are more excluded than their male counterparts. That is, white men, black men, Latinos and Asian males are all more likely to exclude black women than their female counterparts are to exclude black men...

In contrast to black women, Latinas and Asian females are less excluded than their male counterparts. However, the gender difference in the exclusion of Asians is the most striking in its magnitude. The probability that an Asian man is excluded is .91, compared to only .61 among Asian women. Asian men are also much more excluded than white men (.31), Latinos (.63) or black men (.68). In particular, we noted that Asian females are much less likely to exclude white men (11%) than Asian men as possible dates (40%). This finding suggests a level of preference for a racial group different from one’s own (white men) among Asian women that is unique among all the racial/gender groups in this study...

Whites are far more likely than minorities to prefer to date only within their race. Our analyses of minorities’ racial preferences show that Asians, blacks and Latinos are more likely to include whites as possible dates than whites are to include them...

Existing theories may not adequately capture the complexity of Latinos’ racial position between blacks and whites (see Feliciano et al. Forthcoming). Our !nding that Latinos are the most included minority group by Asians, whites and blacks suggests that they may bene!t from racial ambiguity (that is, they may be seen as black or white) (Yancey 2003)...

Blacks are far more exclusionary of whites than Latinos and Asians are, suggesting that they are less open to primary structural integration. While this finding may be somewhat contrary to social exchange, group position and classic assimilation theories, it is consistent with a pattern of black exceptionalism, a product of the unique historical construction of blacks as the supreme “other.”(Feliciano 2001; Lee and Bean 2007) Given the long and pervasive legacy of white racism, blacks may have more negative perceptions of whites, and may perceive Latinos as more willing to date them than whites. Our data support this contention...

[Puzzling is that] all groups are more accepting of Asian women and Latinas over their male counterparts. Especially perplexing is that women prefer to date black men over Asian men. This is completely contrary to the claims of social exchange and sexual strategies theories that women should prefer to date men with higher socio-economic standing.

However, our findings are consistent with gendered patterns of black-white and Asian-white intermarriage, which existing studies have not explained (e.g., Jacobs and Labov 2002). Our results suggest that intermarriage patterns result from gendered racial preferences, but we can only speculate about the factors driving such preferences. One possible explanation for the greater exclusion of Asian men and black women is that they are less open to interracial dating than their opposite-sex counterparts. However, we find both are more open to dating other groups than these groups are to dating them, suggesting that the preferences of others drive the relatively low intermarriage rates of Asian men and black women. One study confirms that few black college women are willing to date whites because they believe whites perceive them as unattractive or as stereotypically hypersexual and promiscuous (Childs 2005). The reasons for these gendered preferences are still unclear, but previous scholarship suggests that negative portrayals of Asian men’s masculinity (Espiritu 1997) and black women’s femininity (Collins 2004) may shape the exclusion of these groups"


THE RESULTS ARE EXACTLY THOSE PREDICTED BY MY THEORY OF INTER-RACIAL DATING

It was proposed to me that men find lower status mates attractive, which was why White men liked Asian women. My reply was that in that case Black women should be the most attractive of all.

Sadly, black racism is explained as a reaction to white racism - which is very insulting (and yes, racist).
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