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While sites like Match and e Harmony require users to build extensive profiles detailing their interests and personality traits, apps like Grindr, Tinder and Bumble rely on selfies as the determining factor in a user’s decision to swipe right (yay! As a result, users are often more blunt about their physical preferences, including race and ethnicity, right in their bios or their DMs.
This ends up creating a hostile environment for people of color on apps that are supposed to be for everyone.
These stats echo the historical degradation and defeminization of black women’s appearances in racist media as well as the stereotypical feminization of Asian men in television and movies.
The open dismissal of entire ethnic groups occurs on LGBTQ dating apps as well.
Is there a double standard when people of color choose to date within their race or reject white partners? Black people and other racial minorities need exclusive spaces where they feel understood and appreciated in a society that deems them lesser.
These sites were, in fact, created as safe environments for people of color seeking partners with shared cultural experiences.
You may have heard the term “jungle fever,” referring to non-black people who are attracted primarily to black people, or “yellow fever” about non-Asian people who are attracted primarily to Asian people. For East Asian women, the “lotus blossom” or “geisha” stereotype assumes that they are submissive, servile and willing to do anything sexually.
Likewise, Asian men were ranked as the least attractive group by most women.
Don’t these attitudes toward people of color help to eliminate racism rather than perpetuate it? When you reduce human beings to characteristics, often stereotypical of their race, ethnicity, or culture, you’re objectifying them to fulfill your own personal wishes and expectations for how they should look and/or behave.
Racial fetishism also demands a level of performance from the person of color who may not naturally exude the traits you expect them to have.
You may be thinking, what’s the harm in appreciating someone for their race?
Isn’t it a compliment that I’m especially attracted to this group of people?