Friday, October 09, 2009

Data that should help me when I complain to my friends.

Your Race Affects Whether People Write You Back, by christian at OkTrends via Racialicious. Emphases mine, proving that it's not just me being a paranoid weirdo. Have some empathy, readers.

. . . [We at] processed the messaging habits of almost a million people and are about to basically prove that, despite what you might’ve heard from the Obama campaign and organic cereal commercials, racism is alive and well. It would be awesome if the other major online dating players would go out on a limb and release their own race data, too. I can’t imagine they will: multi-million dollar enterprises rarely like to admit that the people paying them those millions act like turds. But being poor gives us a certain freedom. To alienate all our users. So there.

[ . . . ]

  • Black women are sweethearts. Or just talkative. But either way, they are by far the most likely to reply to your first message. In many cases, their response rate is one and a half times the average, and overall black women reply about a quarter more often.

  • White men get more responses. Whatever it is, white males just get more replies from almost every group. We were careful to preselect our data pool so that physical attractiveness (as measured by our site picture-rating utility) was roughly even across all the race/gender slices. For guys, we did likewise with height.

  • White women prefer white men to the exclusion of everyone else—and Asian and Hispanic women prefer them even more exclusively. These three types of women only respond well to white men. More significantly, these groups’ reply rates to non-whites is terrible. Asian women write back non-white males at 21.9%, Hispanic women at 22.9%, and white women at 23.0%. It’s here where things get interesting, for white women in particular. If you look at the match-by-race table before this one, the “should-look-like” one, you see that white women have an above-average compatibility with almost every group. Yet they only reply well to guys who look like them. There’s more data on this towards the end of the post.

  • Men don’t write black women back. Or rather, they write them back far less often than they should. Black women reply the most, yet get by far the fewest replies. Essentially every race—including other blacks—singles them out for the cold shoulder.

  • White guys are shitty, but fairly even-handed about it. [I didn't write this; the OkCupid person did. Hello, nice white readers! Keep visiting my blog!] The average reply rate of non-white males is 48.1%, while white guys’ is only 40.5%. Basically, they write back about 20% less often. It’s ironic that white guys are worst responders, because as we saw above they get the most replies. That has apparently made them very self-absorbed. It’s interesting that white males do manage to reply to Middle Eastern women. Is there some kind of emergent fetish there? As Middle Easterners are becoming America’s next racial bogeyman, maybe there’s some kind of forbidden fruit thing going on. (Perhaps a reader more up-to-date on his or her Post-Colonial Theory can step in here? Just kidding. Don’t.)

[Edit: 10/11/2009] I have been reading through the comments on the above article and on websites where the OkCupid findings have been reposted. The comments range from agreement to vehement denial of the results. Many of the commenters don't think that excluding people from your dating pool based on race is racist. These commenters also insist that other factors have influenced the results, like income level, weight, education, and the ability to use correct English and grammar? Hmm. Maybe my chunkiness is overwhelming my bachelors degree, my upward mobility, and my penchant for crafting well-written posts.

Commenter PinkRanger, who happens to be white, says it best on The Frisky:

I find it curious that there are subtle notes throughout this post that imply minorities don’t have good grammer, english, or communication skills….....I find that unnerving.


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