Those old race fears come back to haunt online dating

09.WhatSay.Self.SW.WDC.28nov05

I’ve been meaning to write about race and dating for a while. Originally I was going to write for Singleblackmale but I’m not really bringing anything new to the party except my own thoughts.

Racism is not gone, not by a long shot. In the online world the xenophobia runs riot.

If you need evidence of this, I’d point you at the now classic OkCupid’s Trend about Race Affects The Messages You Get. Then a more recently thanks to Tim Dobson, some more uncomfortable racial preferences.

Its worth pointing out that like most online dating data, we (not just me) grab on to it in lei of anything else. The last one Are you Interested? Could be seen as a poor/bad attempt to get their name out in an already crowded field. To be honest I had only heard of Are you interested? In passing and never actually tried it or installed it. I was surprised they hadn’t gone for rui.com instead.

Here’s the upshot

Despite an increase in interracial marriages and birth of multiracial babiesone study revealed that racism is still a factor when looking for love online.Kevin Lewis, a sociologist at University of California San Diego, analyzed messages sent by over 120,000 users on dating site, OkCupid, finding racial prejudice affects dating decisions. According to Lewis’ research, all users falling within the site’s five largest racial categories (black, white, Asian, Latino, Indian) were more likely to initiate contact with users from their same racial background.“Most men (except black men) are unlikely to initiate contact with black women, all men (including Asian men) are unlikely to reply to Asian women, and although women from all racial backgrounds tend to initiate contact with men from the same background, women from all racial backgrounds also disproportionately reply to white men,”

Now you can pretend or not acknowledge these facts but trust me as someone who has emailed quite a few people in the past, there is something about the replies you don’t get. That silence even when you connect really well on many levels. Of course its not simply one kind of person, it just happens if your males and black, you will get less replies.

This is why I find the data really interesting as its response rates. You can craft an algorithm which connects people in what ever way but their reply rate will say so much more.

However saying all this, something else is at play

Lewis also found that people were more willing to reply to a user of a different race after that person initiated contact. Furthermore, they were more likely to start a conversation with a user of a different race after that interaction.Lewis said one qualifying factor for this could be simple preemptive discrimination. In other words, users are less likely to initiate contact with a person of another race because they’re not sure that person will be interested in them.“Part of the reason site users, and especially minority site users, do not express interest in individuals from a different racial background is because they anticipate — based on a lifetime of experiences with racism — that individuals from a different background will not be interested in them.”

The data were reading from the dating sites is the instant reply rates. As I was saying no one likes being rejected specially on the grounds of race, theres a self censorship or lack of confidence to put yourself through the pain again. However if you do its more likely to work out better than you imagined.

So although the reply rates are bad for certain races such as black people, and it seems hopeless sometimes. I would urge people to keep going. Its a bit of a numbers game and this is once again another reason why the free online dating sites win out over the top of paid dating sites. You need time and its no fun sinking more and more money and your attention into something which isn’t going well.

Keep going…!

Your name is so ghetto…

This is a great story about a lady who stood up to her colleagues when one of them over stepped the mark by calling up a person because she sounded ghetto

things were cool until I heard laughter followed by “Let me call Tanneisha and see how ghetto she is.”

This area of discrimination bugs the hell out of me. I was very lucky to have parents who used common English names but most of my cousins didn’t. Now I remember reading a chapter in freakonomics about how your name effects your chances in life.

there is some evidence that a name can influence how a child performs in school and even her career opportunities. There’s also the fact that different groups of parents — blacks and whites, for instance — have different naming preferences…

I wonder if/how this applies to eastern names too? Lots of eastern Asia’s and those born in Pan-Asia have names very difficult to say in the English language. Do they have the same chances or is it something else at play? My feelings is there is something else at play. I’ll call it ignorance

Anyone who says puff-what a load of crap… Should read the story of Keisha.

Remember that scene in the Oscar-winning “Crash,” when the disgruntled client asks the hard-as-nails supervisor of health insurance claims what her name is? She says “Shaniqua,” and he says, “Big surprise, that is.”

That’s the kind of stuff Keisha deals with. She didn’t grow up in a diverse community. She wasn’t surrounded by a lot of black people. And as she got older, her name started to become a source of jokes. Kids would ask her if there was a “La” or a “Sha” in front of her name. There was a hint of racism and ignorance embedded in their comments.

“It’s like they assumed that I must be a certain kind of girl,” she says. “Like, my name is Keisha so they think they know something about me, and it always felt negative.”

Even a teacher once asked if there was a dollar sign in her name, like the singer Ke$ha. If she couldn’t even get through a class without a teacher taking a cheap shot at her name, what would happen in a job interview?

Racism, ignorance whatever it is… Its going to lower her opportunities in life. How much different would my life be if my parents choose Tyrone, Willie or Jamal?

The most famous speech in human history: Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream”

Martin Luther King Jr. - I Have A Dream Speech

Its been 50 years since Martin Luther King’s massively inspirational and moving speech. I was watching some of the programmes from the BBC about the speech and Martin Luther King himself. I didn’t really get a chance to blog about it but here’s some great stuff Umair Haque wrote on twitter and fb.

On the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, here are 10 points on his legacy and what it still means to us today:

  1. If MLK was alive today, wonks would tell him a revolution of love was impossible, politicians would ignore him, and pundits would mock him.
  2. MLK was a great leader. He wasn’t a wannabe. He wasn’t a cowering flunky. He didn’t sell his dream out. He was the real thing.
  3. So I can’t tell whether its funny or sad to hear glowing praise for MLK from people who surely would have hated him were he alive today.
  4. It’s amazing to me how America misremembers MLK. As a policy “activist”. Wrong. He wanted a revolution of love.
  5. MLK didn’t want slightly higher taxes, or one new law. He wanted something bigger: revolution in people’s hearts. A revolution of love.
  6. So to remember MLK as some kind of policy wonk or activist or lobbyist is laughable. He was more than that. He was a real leader.
  7. MLK was the kind of leader whose memory tells us: we don’t have much real leadership left today. Just wimps selling out.
  8. MLK is probably one of the last people in America who called for real institutional change. For that, he was spied on, jailed, and killed.
  9. MLK didn’t just want an end to segregation. He wanted an end to poverty, war, anger, and greed.
  10. What MLK’s memory should remind us of is: once we had revolutionaries. Now we have analysts. Because we killed our revolutionaries.

In honor of MLK, I’m going do 7 points on dreams. Enjoy!

  1. Each and every one must have a dream. That marry who we are with what we want the world to become.
  2. Your dream is your destination. Without one, you’ll always feel lost.
  3. There are better dreams, and worse dreams. Better dreams are bigger than just you, and your aspiration.
  4. Heartbreak doesn’t happen when your dreams don’t come true. It happens when they do.
  5. Don’t cripple your dreams. With evidence or logic or doubt. Dreams are a kind of magic.
  6. Dreams are always impossible. And so we must use a force stronger than our minds to ignite them. We must have faith in them.
  7. Never step on people’s dreams. They’ll rarely forgive you. Always lift people towards their dreams. They’ll love you for it.

Manchester stand up and say something!

Black and White.

I know how TV works, heck I’ve had more than enough experience of how engineered certain shows can be. But Channel4’s new show right after firstdates is eye spy.

Stephen Fry narrates this new series which tests to see if the people of Great Britain really are ‘great’ and can be heroes when faced with a particularly challenging situation. Eye Spy features ingenious hidden camera stunts that throw up assorted moral dilemmas and psychological conundrums to wrestle with, challenging the notion inherent in many news stories that our ‘once great nation is going to the dogs’. You may say you’d do the right thing in a highly-pressured situation, but only when you’re actually in the moment can you ever really know.

One of the situations was a racist waiter who couldn’t deal with mixed race couples. Actually as the site says, outrageously racist waiter.

The things he said were so direct to the mixed race couple and so loud everyone could clearly hear everything being said.

And he’s the main point of concern for myself…  They ran the test in London and in Manchester. Not just Manchester but Salt & Pepper in Castlefield, a place I would go to with a date (and to be fair most of my dates are European woman)

In London, a place which is more racially diverse (as the programme points out too) the waiter got told to shut up before the couple got up and left. Actually although they ran the experiment a few times the result was the same.

However in Manchester the couple had to endure the out and out ball faced racism of the waiter. In the end they got up and left, after they were told they were upsetting the rest of the restaurant!

No one stood up and said a word, no one said anything, not a single person. They just sat there in silence eating and not saying a word. Not a single person would stand up and say your bang out of order to the waiter. Heck even getting up and walking out would have sent a clear signal that people were not happy, which is what happened when they ran the same experiment in reverse with a white couple in an Indian restaurant.

So it drives me insane to know that if I and a lady was facing such racism, no one would get involved. Not only that people would sit there in silence! Not a single word… (Shocking!) And it wasn’t like the people were old, the people seemed like students into your mid 30s type and should have known better… There is no excuse for saying nothing!

When I first looked at Manchester I did worry about being in a northern city. I seen programmes about other cities near by where separation between the races are closer to something I’ve only experienced in parts of America. Don’t get me wrong growing up in Bristol wasn’t easy. My parents amazingly moved into a area which was very white and survived through all the NF sprayed on the house, brick attacks, etc. I was also one of only 2 Black guys in my primary/junior school. I could tell stories of running away from the National Front (Kingswood was well known for being their stomping grounds) and the different brushes I’ve had with racism including in London a couple times.

What bugs me is like David Starky’s ranting is these people do/should know better. My parents and our old  lovely neighbours supported them greatly and stood up for them. Without their support things would have been a lot worst… So you can see why I’m pissed at those people and I guess the fact Manchester for not doing better.

What kind of society are we if we don’t all stand up for each other?! And yes I know the Bystander effect.

I imagine some of you are saying, stop getting so worked up… its a TV programme and one social experiment (although they did run it 3x to the same effect). Maybe I should remember the benefits of moving to Manchester but its hard to be happy and defend the great city of Manchester in the face of such a obviously bad thing, even if staged for TV…

Geek and Geekhag Podcast 13 – Race and interracial stereotypes

Me and Sarah did a podcast last night about some comments on her blog recently.The post was about race and interracial stereotypes and centres around a piece in the guardian over a year ago (march 2005). Now someones called werdz has decided to write a comment and get back at Sarahs comments on the original guardian article. Sarah felt it best to reply by a podcast.

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The portrait of a south london racist

Pissed fools

Miles paints a picture of a South London racist which it too good to miss.

A hazard of living in South London is racists in the neighbourhood. The recent press hysteria about new EU entrants and “Islamic fanatics” has given the racists license to start expressing their hateful prejudices in public once again. After years of public disapproval of racism, these scum have clearly been waiting for the opportunity to spout their worthless opinions – and our wonderful politicians and business leaders have just given them the green light…

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Geek and Geekhag podcast number eight – Black White

Chess piece

My and Sarah's 8th podcast is now available online. Enjoy and please leave a comment if you've enjoyed it or simply hate it. This is really part two of podcast number seven but its unique enough to simply make it another number. As always, enjoy.

This time me and Sarah explain what happened after the last podcast and spend most of the time talking about Black White, a TV series we've been downloading recently which tries to tackle black and white culture in America. We talk about the difference between Black American culture and Black English culture. The weirdness which is simply the extreme American way and how I love to mess with people stereotypes and perceptions of young Black men. We settle on the fact that a whole range of things keep up the perceptions and that people hate change.

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