How Your Race Affects The Messages You Get

October 5th, 2009 by Christian Rudder

Welcome back, dorks. We’ve processed the messaging habits of over 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 other big websites 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 generating those millions act like turds. But being poor gives us a certain freedom. To alienate all our users. So there.

When I first started looking at first-contact attempts and who was writing who back, it was immediately obvious that the sender’s race was a huge factor. Here are just a handful of the numbers that illustrate that:

The takeaway here is that although race shouldn’t matter in messaging, it does. A lot.

. . .

First of all, how do we know that race shouldn’t matter? Are we just making some after-school-special assumption that “true love is colorblind?” more compatibility usually
means more replies
No, we’re not: we know race shouldn’t matter to replies because the races all match each other more or less evenly, and reply rate correlates to matching. That is, more compatibility generally means more replies.

On OkCupid you create your own unique matching system, and that means your better matches are people you actually want talk to. Below is a graph showing match percentages vs. reply rates for a random sample of 500,000 people.As you can see, in general, the better you match someone, the more likely you are to reply to a first message from them.

We can see this principle in action when we look at our trusty control, the Zodiac. Here are the match and reply rates side-by-side, with similar rates colored yellow. There’s no real need to inspect the numbers; just observe the similar colors.

  • Throughout this post, yellowish colors are short-hand for “neutral” and red and green indicate “strong preference.”

People of the various Zodiac signs match each other all at roughly the average rate, and, as we would expect, they reply to messages similarly. In general, the correlation between match percentage and reply rate means that whenever we compare the match/reply charts for a given breakdown of the population, they should look about the same. However, this, like so many other fine assumptions, totally breaks down when race gets involved:

Again, don’t bother squinting, just check out the colors. We’ll soon look very closely at these tables.

. . .

So here’s last week’s compatibility by race table (I explained how we can confidently measure “compatibility” in that post). This is a blow-up of the leftmost table above:

As you can see, the races all match each other roughly evenly: good news. It means all other things being equal, two people, of whatever race, should have the same chance to have a successful relationshp. But now let’s look at the table of how individuals actually reply to each other’s messages. First we’ll examine messages sent by men to women (I know our gay readers are interested in same-sex versions of these tables, there’s a link to them here and at the end of this post):

The numbers on the perimeter of the table are the weighted average rates for each column/row. Here’s what we can know:

  • Black women write back the most. Whether it’s due to talkativeness, loneliness, or a sense of plain decency, black women are by far the most likely to respond to a first contact attempt. In many cases, their response rate is one and a half times the average, and, overall, black women reply about a quarter more often that other women.
  • 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.

Let’s see what happens when it’s the women writing the messages to men.

  • 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 respond less overall. 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 in turn get the most replies. That has apparently made them very self-absorbed.
. . .

Finally, here are a couple tables that shed further light on our discussion. These are site-wide answers to a couple user-written match questions. They barely need any explanation: one comments on the other, really. Together they shed more light on the theory/practice schizophrenia of people’s racial attitudes.


. . .

It’s surely not just OkCupid users that are like this. In fact, it’s any dating site (and indeed any collection of people) would likely exhibit messaging biases similar to what I’ve written up. Any dating site probably
has these biases
According to our internal metrics, at least, OkCupid’s users are better-educated, younger, and far more progressive than the norm, so I can imagine that many sites would actually have worse race stats. But like I said at the beginning, we’ll probably never know. See you next week.

For a further discussion of race and replies, the same-sex equivalents of this post’s data are here.

1,557 Responses to “How Your Race Affects The Messages You Get”

  1. Nadia says:

    To the person who wrote DEAR NADIA
    I’M immature?! First of all.
    1) I never said Middle Eastern girls were superior. But if you look at the education rates of Middle Eastern woman IN THE UNITED STATES, you will find that we are better educated than white women, and are better traveled. We also tend to not have kids early, which black women of every education level do. Both of those might be appealing to educated single men.

    2) We are so culturally different? Do you realize that most Arabs in the United States are Christian? Even my Muslim friends are just like any other girl I know…they go out, date, party, etc. Do you even know any Middle Eastern people?

    3) I will say that many Middle Eastern girls value family, and are less likely to mess around with tons of guys because we were raised with strong family values. We tend to not have daddy issues either.

    4) “The Big Nose” thing? 90% of my Middle Eastern friends don’t have big noses. Do you want me to talk about black women and their big noses? Would you like me to stereotype for you?

    I’m glad we agree on the “safe exotic” thing for white men. However, I will say that I think ME women get more replies than Latinas cause Latinas in their late 20s to 30s on these websites tend to have kids. Just look on match.com and you’ll see.

    Peace.

  2. MissJamERICA says:

    I don’t give a damn about anyone’s preference or lack thereof to me (and yes, I am a Black woman). To be honest, I am here mostly to shoot the breeze with different people. I would love to find a partner, but am disillusioned by the idea of finding an ideal mate on this site (of any race). I get lots of messages (though they have definitely slowed down since I first joined the site) but from the wrong people (just don’t seem like a good fit).

    While the data listed in this article is far from surprising, the attitude of many of those leaving comments are truly eye opening. I consider myself, more or less, to be a realist and have always known that I would be at a racial disadvantage on this and other mainstream ‘dating’ sites. However I never took it personally or chalked it up to much more than personal preference. Now I’m seeing (from these comments) that a lot of these preferences are steeped in racial stereotypes and antiquated (racist) views as opposed to random preference. When I read things like (loosely paraphrased), ‘I can never find a Black person attractive,’ or ‘Black people’s profiles are just not good enough,’ etc., it lets me know that many people have obstinately decided they will not look at each person as an individual and come in with preconceived racist notions.

    I am going to keep it real and blunt…I look better than the average OKcupid poster, (don’t care what random dissenters say, but this can be verified by my profile of the same name [MissJamERICA]). I am also smarter than most posters here(natural as my IQ falls into the top oneth percentile). So far me to hear how racial stereotypes are reinforced on these sites and how close-minded non Blacks really are in their racial views is more than a little disheartening. From time to time, I randomly send messages to people if I think we have something in common (has nothing to do with hooking up, dating etc). However now I’m wondering if those who ignore me, do so simply because I’m Black (despite having common interests) or what. Guess I will just be more guarded and cautious when it comes to interracial messaging, smh :-\

  3. hd says:

    I am an Asian male. I can see this study reflects the reality. For black women, I do like mixed ones such as Halle Berry, Alicia Keys, Beyonce, Ashanti, Amerie, Naomi Campbell, Tyra Banks, etc. Of course, in my dream if I could get with these women. In general, I like light-skinned black women. Basically, I have a penchant for creole women. For Asian Women, my own kind, I am disappointed with their low rate of response for Asian men. I am surprised at the rate of response of white women to Asian men, I thought it would be like 5%. Whenever I see Asian dudes with white women, they are always in expensive cars, I’m saying rich Asian dudes usually go for white women. For Hispanic women, much love, I live in Cali, there are fine Mexican women out here. Other groups of women I don’t know much about, but much love to them too. Why discriminate, it is only my loss if I do.

  4. bad nadia! says:

    “…At least middle eastern girls don’t need a lot of surgery/boob jobs like you white girls do!

    I’m not saying there aren’t some FUGS middle eastern people out there. But most white people (especially blondes) all look alike to me…boring!

    PLus you all need botox by the time you’re 40!”

    Time to drop the racism hammer! White women feel compelled to conform to the media’s perfect standard of beauty, while middle-eastern women just accept their ugliness and hide under a sheet. But we still see your fugly noses. Change your sheet color more often, you all look the same to me! Oh, and even if you don’t wear your hijab, you all have the same hair color anyway.

  5. Nadia says:

    MyPersonalReasons…have you ever read the blog “Stuff White People Like” which includes “Obama”, gentrification, having black friends, and “diversity?”

    I’ve lived in the North and South, and no one can explains the difference between the two regions better than late comedian Dick Gregory. “For a black man there is no difference between the North and the South. In the South they don’t care how close I get as long as I get too big. In the North they don’t care how big I get as long as I get too close.”

    Translation…you can vote for Obama, but would you live near a black person? Just look at the suburbs and inner cities in Detroit, NYC, DC, Chicago, and then tell me that Northerners are less “racist” than the South.

    And for the dude that says he does not find women like Halle Berry attractive but he is not racist…let me ask you this. Halle Berry basically has “white features”..small nose, petite mouth, wavy hair. She basically has a tan. So it clearly goes deeper than just “I don’t find black people attractive.” There is obviously a stigma involved. Do you find Rashida Jones attractive? My guess is you would find her pretty, unless I told you she was black, then perhaps you wouldn’t. There is something much deeper going on here. MUCH deeper.

    Oh and p.s. for the guy (the same genius who made the above comment) who said “Black men like white and asians, Middle eastern girls like whites and asians…” Well I am a Middle Eastern girl and I am attracted to Meditteranean/Middle Eastern looking men, I never find the Wasp-y white guys attactive (although I dated a white guy for two years, though he wasn’t Waspy). And when I went to Egypy, I got a lot more attention from the men there than the other white blond girls in the group. White people need to seriously get over themselves. You’re not all that, and not everyone’s into you!

  6. Ugh. says:

    @ Chris in regards to “I have black friends, no issue, but for some reason I don’t even find “the sexiest women alive”, Halle Berry, to be the LEAST be “sexy” or “cute” or anything, she looks NASTY to me, as do most black girls.”

    You may be patting yourself on the back, thinking you were brave enough to be “honest” about how you’re not racist, just true to your preference but – that is the most racist comment I’ve read out of the mass of racist garbage other OKC users word-vomited on this blog. To automatically assume or “instinctively feel” that most black women are, as you so arrogantly put it, “NASTY” is racist in and of itself. So you’re not attracted to black women. That’s cool, they aren’t attracted to you, either. But, I’m almost certain they never thought you were “NASTY” or dirty, a farm animal lover and a cousin groper. Also, if you feel that it’s just your wiring that makes you believe an entire race of women are so physically revolting, you should re-evaluate that, in general. You really don’t think you have a social problem? Think again.

  7. Frank says:

    I really think racial preferences with dating is something that happens more in America then other places. I’ve been living in Europe for three years now and I’ve noticed that here they are more likely to date outside of their race across the board than in America. I really do believe that one of the reasons is because of the manner in which the media portrays people of color there. Black women are portrayed in a very negative light in America. They are seen as bossy, loud, rude, and classless. There are millions of black people, in the US alone, and we all hail from all walks of life. There are black women who are doctors, lawyers, bankers, even CEO’s. Hell, one of the most powerful and currently the wealthiest woman in America right now is a black women. All these women are out there, but you wouldn’t know it by watching television. On t.v. they are mostly either baby’s mamas fighting with their man on Jerry Springer or fighting with some other girl on some show on VH1. I don’t think people are ask asking white men to apologize for the way things are playing out, but I do feel they do get a little pissed when people dismiss this as something that’s in their heads.

  8. NicholasWright says:

    Why aren’t people talking about the fact that WOMEN DO NOT REPLY TO MEN NEARLY AS MUCH AS MEN REPLY TO MEN. I mean, come on! It’s just stupid! Look at those graphs! Women need to stop being so selective. It’s plain insulting.

  9. It is what it is says:

    i’m a black female and i constantly receive messages from white men whose profiles either indicate they’d prefer to date white women only or every race (including “other”) but african american. they don’t come off as guys looking to experiment or see what brown nipples look like or anything. just a regular guy writing to a regular girl. unfortunately, i feel uncomfortable pursuing anything with these men because although they made the initial contact, i feel they may have hang-ups regarding race/ethnicity in general and i just don’t feel like going on that journey anymore. i don’t have the patience. perhaps i’m going about it wrong… i know it would be in the back of my mind so i just don’t even go there. so, in that respect, maybe there *should* be a race filter. or maybe some people need to venture outside of their little boxes. who knows? anywho, kudos to okcupid for actually saying (writing) difficult isht (that i already knew) outloud.

  10. Surprised Indian says:

    Well to be honest, I am not that surprised by these statistics. However, I do have a problem with some of the conclusions that are being drawn out from these statistics.

    Racism: I am an Indian male (from India, not born here) and have lived in US for almost a decade now. I have almost exclusively dated outside of Indian circles and I tend to befriend more whites and blacks than people from my own community. Does that make me racist? Not really!

    My personal preference comes from the my observation that my far-left liberal views (I am too far on the left for most leftists too) are not palatable for most of the Indian crowd. I tend to find Indians (because of their culture) to get either offended or disagree with my lifestyle, views and sense of humor (which at times is gutterish <– not an english word!)

    What I find fascinating is that even though most ethnicities tend to stick with their own kind, when whites do it, the idea of racism pops up almost immediately. People have boundaries and live within shells based on their upbringing. I have dated mostly white women but they were not the typical ones that you find in bars. I have also dated Burmese, chinese, Vietnamese, middle easterners, Blacks and hispanics. The white women I've dated were more culturally aware, well traveled, highly educated and above all curious about people from other ethnicities. But I wouldn't blame the ones who don't display these characteristics for sticking to their own race. You can't expect a girl from Alabama to reach out to Indians who sound funny and say words which aren't in her vocabulary. Why not? People are most comfortable in their own homes, aren't they? Dating a white guy for a white woman makes life easier. So why put white women under the microscope?

    Do I feel being discriminated against if I am not selected by a white, hispanic, asian or middle eastern woman for being Indian? Absolutely not! First of all, who gives a fuck? Secondly, there is enough fish in the sea for you to worry about the pale ones slipping out of your hands. Third, its their choice. Its a free world, isn't it? Whatever makes you happy!

    Above all, if you're a good looking guy/girl – you are not bound by any race issues. You will get some tail regardless of what the ethnicity is.

    But for all my lovely white women out there: In the words of Russell Peters – You can run from us (Indians) right now, but eventually we are going to hump you!! …..And then we will make beige babies with ya'll…not the pale ones who look like they're about to wither away if they don't get some Sun. ha!

  11. Phil says:

    First off, the last table supposedly showing that people say that interracial dating is ok, but then don’t want to do it themselves, isn’t a fair conclusion.

    The question phrasing isn’t fair.

    The 1st question: “Is interracial marriage a bad idea”
    This is basically asking – “do you think that interracial dating is ok? Ok for others? Would you judge someone that was married to a different race?”

    Of course the answer is NO. Most people don’t care what other people do.

    I would get the same response if I asked “do you mind of someone is married to a ugly person?”

    No, people don’t care.

    But then if you turn around and ask about THEMSELVES, of course the answer will be different.

    So if I asked the question – “Do you highly prefer to date someone who is ugly”
    The same people will now say NO, of course.

    The bottom line is that some people just prefer their own race and that doesn’t make them racist. Just like some guys like thicker women, skinny women, tall women, short women, and same idea for girls.

    Why can’t race just be an arbitrary preference just like body type, etc??

  12. zoomi says:

    Thanks surprised indian for actually making an intelligent comment. I guess the data was right on the other page when it said that according to profiles indians were the most sophisticated ;)

    Waisay, I’m curious what other think, if I have a preference for brown guys (and not just ‘light’ brown guys or guys with white-ish features or whatever) does that make me racist to white people? Or do we just have to sort of accept that physical attractiveness is something that just sort of develops.

    Though I am not personally shallow enough to only reply to someone I am physically attracted to and thus refuse to answer people I don’t find attractive, I know attractiveness is key for some people. I don’t think its racist not to reply to someone you’re just not attracted to. And I don’t think it’s racist not to be attracted to someone because you don’t like their physical features, which includes skin colour. It would be another thing if you refused to be friends with them because of it.

    Also, if this survey showed how many obese people got replies, I’m sure it would be much, much, lower response rates all around. Is that fair?

  13. @ NicholasWright says:

    I understand your frustration to the obvious issue of who replies more, but you have to think through the standards of society and culture, regardless of whether people say they exist or not.

    Chivalry may be dead, but I believe women don’t want it to die quite yet. They’re going to want you to make the first move. On these sites compared to real life, they have the option of not responding without feeling guilty for being cold to you if you spark up conversation.

    Secondly, it’s biological. Men want to spread seed…everywhere. Women want their offspring to have the best chance of survival, so they are selective with who they mate with. That’s why the reply rates are so low with all women. They choose who they think would fit best. It’s innate, whether they admit it or not.

    Add race/ethnicity into the mix, and it becomes a matter of preference through society. We as humans have evolved differently based on location, and the differences are obvious in a place like the US where all types of people gather together. Without the bias of feeling superior/selective through history and those feelings carrying over into today’s culture, these numbers would probably be much more even.

  14. X says:

    Hay guyz, we got bigger problems to worry about than what race replies to what race because of such and such criticism. Such as: the collapse of America and the monetary system. Let’s at least all agree that we need food, water and air and the crooks in Washington will not make us their slaves!

  15. John C says:

    I just want to add evidence to Okcupid’s findings
    I have messaged about 30+ White Females and have gotten less than 4 replies. That’s about a 13% reply rate from them which is worse than the 21% that Okcupid has found for White Females replying to Asian Male senders. I want every White Woman to visit my profile to see that it’s not likely that it’s some profile issue. And please, message me to find out if I’m some loser who can’t write a message. I’m certainly not too stupid to write one.

    Thanks Okcupid for your progressive data analysis. Keep them coming and if you can please give some information on subpopulations

    P.S. my username is jc3281

  16. PS says:

    My God, have you ever considered that OK Cupid users are a completely self-selected group? If you’re black and want a black partner only, you’re unlikely to be hanging out on OK Cupid. The percentage of black members is low, and it’s a lot higher on black planet or wherever else. If you’re Indian, there’s shaadi.com… etc.

    Basically, participation in OK cupid indicates openness toward dating a largely white demographic. A white person primarily interested in white partners could logically turn to OK Cupid, but the same is not the case for, say, a Middle Eastern female. More scientific studies of interracial dating have produced different results.

    And as someone who has lived in the Middle East, I can confirm that Middle Eastern females do not generally tend to date white males, let alone preferring them. Even in liberal Turkey, there is always a taboo again non-Muslim men. So the idea that Middle Eastern females prefer white males should by itself tell you how globally these results can be applied. Which is not at all. The results apply to the world of OK Cupid, and that’s it.

  17. cutie says:

    @ HD unfortunately, beyonce, naomi campbell, and tyra banks aren’t mixed. just black. just thought I’d let you know incase you ever meet them =)

  18. Kitsa says:

    This study is ridiculous. Women: do not let these “studies” deter you from the wonderful life that awaits you. If you listen to polls, you would think only Pamela Anderson and Gisele Bundchen get dates. Look around you. You see women at 200 pounds, women at 150 pounds, women green, white, etc who are in loving relationships. Why? They were open to the world. Go out and meet people. Don’t just rely on creeps online. Travel. Do things. As someone said above, in Europe black women – especially France and Italy – are seen as a prize. In America, we have issues. Once again another study to degrade black women. I am a white woman who has people of all colors in my family. We are cosmopolitant and well traveled so we don’t care about this crap. See the world. Go find love where it wants you. Who cares if some creep on Ok Cupid has hangups. Would you want to date that guy anyway? I commend black women for being the first ones to reply. it means they are modern women who are independent. Love yourselves women and know that love is out there for you. God would not create you and not show you love. Do the work it takes to be a good persona and you will find love.

  19. Nikki says:

    Not everything needs to be everything!

    But everything is something.

    What is nice about okCupid is having so much information, that you can look past the surface and find people you can really connect to, unique, funny, and sometimes just plain unexpected.

    Those who screening on looks, race, height, (I am sure there will be a similar pattern for short white men) are the ones missing out.

    Personally I enjoy open minded people, who like to explore, love the unexpected, can find beauty everywhere, so I appreciate that all you others self-screen.

  20. KITSA & BLACK WOMEN (don't do it!) says:

    Kitsa,

    great post! And while I wholly loved and agreed with MOST of what you wrote, I have to admit I take offense as a Black woman to one part you wrote.

    I find White women are always encouraging Black women to self sabotage themselves – especially in the mating/dating arena. To do things you (white women) would never encourage each other to do with their femininity. LIKE what you said in your post:

    “I commend black women for being the first ones to reply. it means they are modern women who are independent. ”

    I am not saying you are saying that to hurt Black women, but it’s a trend I notice White women do with Black women and I am not even sure White women realize or understand why they continue to try to “other” Black women.

    First of all that whole “independent” thing is a turn off to most men. YES, men like to know women are not always sniffing up under them, but its that very frame of thought that makes men run for the hills when they hear women screaming about being independent. WHY? b/C its in a man’s nature to want to protect and provide and make a woman feel taken care of. if he is with a woman always talking and showing how independent she is, he will eventually feel he is not needed. Its not in a man’s nature to feel not needed b/c they are protectors and providers by nature.

    I am so sick of White women telling Black women to do the stuff they wouldn’t tell each other to do in the dating mating arena. The whole independent thing (and the whole “embrace your fatness” thing which I will touch on in a follow up post after this one) is what keeps Black women LOCKED out of the mating game b/c men equate that with being masculine. And being perceived as MASCULINE in America is one of the biggest issues affecting Black women in the dating market.

    Many Black women have bought into the White femininity that says women should be independent. YES, women should be to a certain extent. But too many women today (no matte the race) don’t know the right ways in which they should exude independence without turning men off , taking independence to the extreme and coming off as tooo masculine and rigid.

    What WHITE WOMEN like you need to realize is, when it comes down to it, Black women are in a complete different circumstance than White women. White women can message all the men they want first and b/c they have positive perceptions about their femininity, no one would think twice.

    Black women on the other hand are already working with some really bad perceptions which revolve around being seen as carrying masculine and unfeminine traits. So why on earth would you tell Black women to message men first to show off how “MODERN and INDEPENDENT” they are when you know most men find this a turn off and/or masculine? Even if they don’t realize it its in their subconscious.

    As I said in earlier posts, women messaging and pursuing men FIRST is so masculine and unnatural. men want to be the pursuers. ITS NATURAL! This whole modern woman thing irks me to no end b/c its that frame of mind that has male/female relationships so messed up now. Men don’t know their roles anymore and women want to take the roles of men. Its all just disturbing!

  21. Black Women (DON'T DO IT!) says:

    Another thing I notice White American women like to encourage Black women to do that they don’t encourage each other to do is this whole “EMBRACE YOUR FATNESS” phenomenon. last I checked White women were not encouraging each other or their young women etc., to embrace being fat. Everyone on planet earth knows that men do not find FAT women attractive in general. Not to mention that shit is unhealthy and is the number 1 killer of Black women.

    men do like women with curves but curves in the right places! Nowadays that term “curves” is thrown around so loosely, and its Black women who end up buying into this bullshit of “embrace your curves (i.e. FATNESS)”.

    No other races of women (outside of Black) are encouraged by society to embrace being FAT. I wonder why?

    Black women need to wake up and stop voluntarily allowing yourselves and women of other races to “other” Black women. if you see women of other races are not doing what they encourage YOU to do, then open your eyes and realize there is a reason – and don’t do it! B/C they know that shit isn’t going to get them anywhere. yet they will encourage Black women to do that? Psssh! I’ll put it as one Black female blogger put it – “let those bitches go first”!

  22. Y says:

    I’m pretty surprised this post is still getting comments a year later. I’m not really surprised by the findings. People are generally way less open-minded than they present themselves to be. But for all the gloom and doom about black women, here I am as a black woman, still dating the same white man I met through OKC two years ago, and planning for our wedding next year.

    My advice for other women is to not waste your time writing to men first. Men say they would be flattered to have a woman hitting on them but flattered does not = interested. If he were actually interested, he would have been hitting that send button before you.

  23. Carla says:

    Slow down. It’s likely that race doesn’t play as large a part in this as we think.

    First, I am not an OKC user. Thus, I am unfamiliar with the community. However, I’ve noticed a trend in my own dating community.

    I am a white female interested in all races. What I’m not interested in is “hey gurl u lookin good wanna hit me up tonite???” And, unfortunately, this type of message comes from nonwhites more than it comes from whites. (which I think is a darn shame, too.) I am more inclined to reply to someone who has put effort into their message than someone who has not.

    Maybe the real statistics lie with the actual CONTENT of the message, rather than with ethnicity.

  24. Mitsu says:

    I agree with Carla… if the content of the messages being sent were studied, you would see why some women choose not to respond. I’m a Black female and I have a preference as to who I date, but that said, I am open to someone that I normally wouldn’t think twice about… but it’s all in the message. If all you have to say is “hey you’re hot”, I’m going to write you back and confront it or tell you that I’m not interested. If you take the time to write a well thought out message, then I’ll reply to get to know you better… we may not hit it off, but at least we’ve tried.

    With regards to responses, I’ve sent out about 10 messages in the 4 days I’ve been on this site and I’ve received 1 response. Also, I’ve received no first contact messages in the last 2 days… I don’t know why, but that’s that… I make an effort to respond to everyone that writes – even if I’m not interested, I can give them the respect and let them know that. I think that when you’re online, you tend not to worry about the other person’s feelings because they aren’t real. Think of it this way, if you were introducing yourself to someone you saw on the street or something, and they didn’t respond to you and just stared blankly at you… how would you feel? It’s the same thing when you don’t respond to someone… just have the decency to tell them that you’re not interested.

    For the whole idea of interracial dating, it’s difficult and it sucks. I’ve been given every reason in the book why a guy can’t date me seriously, but they’re more than willing to “experiment” because they’ve never dated a black girl before. Gentlemen, I’m NOT a novelty!!! My preference is Italian men and that’s mainly because I was raised in an Italian neighbourhood and went to school with mostly Italians… it’s what I like…and I don’t think there is anything wrong with it. Society isn’t all accepting of interracial relationships… there are still many old Italian parents who shudder at the fact that their son is dating a black woman… I’ve seen it and experienced it, and it’s not pretty, but that’s life.

    One thing to remember, for every racist person out there, there is one who isn’t…

  25. Tessie says:

    Haha, looks like Chris got his a*s handed to him. Well done mysterious “Ugh”, well done.
    Surely, these harsh, out-of-line comments can’t be coming from my age group. I thought we’re supposed to be better than our grandparents. A more accepting, mixed, and tolerant generation? What a shame to see it otherwise.

  26. Indeed... says:

    So here’s the deal. I’ve wasted too much time in my life trying to impress, and get people to like me. I’m done with that. Seeing this (como una chica negra) I think the best thing to do is to leave the site, and go somewhere where this sort of thing won’t be an issue. Getting all hot and bothered over persons who have made their choice about you, before knowing you, can only do self-damage. Indeed! Black females, and Asian Males alike. How’s about we get away for a while, and come back when this site has an apparently much needed race filter, eh? Peace and love, besos y abrazos to my OKC users, but I think I going to go. All the best <3

  27. allan says:

    We saw in a more recent okcupid blog that men with higher stated income gets more messages. This article only states that you have tried to select representative men based on rated looks and height. It would be interesting to see if removing income differences between races, would change the results.

  28. Brian says:

    I absolutely love what you guys do with these article! Very well done and also insightful!

  29. Cam says:

    I’m a member of this site….and let me type this….

    IT’S HARD FOR A BLACK MAN TO GET REPLIES!!!!

    One huge thing that these stats show is that the black man ranks at the bottom near every single stat. Sender/recipient. Forget the black woman….it’s I who am hurting!

    I encourage yall…send us black men a message or two! We’re on here because we’re the good ones!

  30. erik says:

    black women should move to sweden. we love dark skinned ladies. :)

    i think black women are portraied very unfairly in american media and that might be a reason why the stats are the way they are.

  31. Raggedy Android says:

    While attractiveness and height were factors, why did you not take income into account?

    (I didn’t search through all of the comments, to see if this was mentioned already.)

  32. YES ERIK says:

    Erik i looove Swedish men.

    i want to say to the American Black women here. Screw these American men go to Europe and see how much your Black beauty is appreciated by those men over there.

    More American Black women should definitley consider moving to Europe where they are MUCH more appreciated.

    American men suk and are very racist and judgemental.

  33. AGREEMENT says:

    The person who replied to KITSA & BLACK WOMEN (don’t do it!) speaks the truth. As a black woman I joined okcupid as a social experiment to see if this data was true and I have to say that it is unfortunately accurate. For the record I am young, single, have no kids, considered attractive offline, educated, and not obese. I have had success offline in the dating department but I just wanted to see if this data was true. I noticed that a diverse number of races visit my profile but only black and latino men have the balls to message me first. I have seen the same white men visit my profile multiple times yet never leave a message or even wink. I also put a disclaimer in my profile that I was here to date interracially yet no one other than blacks or latinos message me. Also I am open to dating blacks and latinos, so no I don’t have a racist preference.

    And I agree that black women on this site need to stop messaging men first. It is a lazy excuse for them to not have to do any work and to make the black female take the masculine role in their relationship. This has to do with the fact that black women are seen as masculine, just look at some of the comments from people who said that they are not attracted to black women. It is okay for non-black women to message men first cause they don’t have stereotypes working against them.

    Speaking of non-black women a lot of them claim that they hate chivalrous men yet I rarely see them refuse to have a man pay for their dinner or hold doors open for them. Yet these same women want black women to be INDEPENDENT and MESSAGE MEN FIRST. Don’t tell us to do what you wouldn’t do yourself, white “feminists”. My white female friend had an okcupid profile and although her looks are really average she gets a lot of messages. I can’t help but think it is because of her race because offline no one hardly even looks her way.

    My fellow black women, don’t expect much from this site. It caters to progressive white liberals who think they are open-minded but they are really not. Don’t message men first either. If he has balls, he will contact you first. If he doesn’t, then he isn’t worth it in the first place. We unfortunately can’t do what non-black women can.

    I have had luck with European men before. I am not saying that they are perfect but they are a hella lot less racist when it comes to dating than American men.

    And to all the losers who think that a preference can’t be racist, get a clue. Preferences don’t occur in a vacuum. Perhaps you love white skin so much because society says that white skin is beautiful? Perhaps you’re not attracted to dark skin because society says that dark skin is ugly and inferior to whiteness?

  34. Alloys says:

    This is really funny, I’m a White female (ranked about an 8ish usually, but not sure how accurate that is) and have dated an Asian man and a Black man before (both of which were in college, weren’t rich, “Ron Jeremy gifted”, enter other shallow reasons here, etc.) . It never bothered me or really occurred to me that it was weird, but I got some bizarre reactions. I remember my Asian boyfriend’s friends, also Asian international students basically probing to see if I had ANY female friends that might date them. All the girls in the Asian international student program had immediately hooked up with local white men and they seemed stunned that my boyfriend had attracted me.
    When I dated my Black boyfriend I was treated VERY strangely, got a lot of odd looks, asked if I was tutoring him (really offended me) and was asked by (admittedly mostly white people) why we were dating. As much as this bothered me, as soon as I spent time with his friends I immediately got the cold shoulder from his Black female friends (one pulled me aside and said I was taking “their man” and that I was “just being used” because I was white). Then as soon as I was over his friends wanted to know if I had friends, etc.
    I dated the Asian guy for two months, the Black guy for three, we got along well but eventually other things in our personality didn’t work. To be frank, though, for a girl that doesn’t care about race I was given a LOT of crap for dating outside “my group”, and the charts seem pretty accurate. With both sets of male “minority” friends I was treated like an exotic, naive pet that their friend had somehow lured in.

    Ironically, I’m bisexual, dated a Black woman and never heard crap from anyone in the gay community. We weren’t around many “straights” when we were together, and we stayed together the longest (5 months). I will also say, in my opinion, she was GORGEOUS, an amazing person, and I wouldn’t be nearly the person I am today without her.

    I feel like maybe the media contributes to this, race frankly isn’t a big deal and people need to get over their crap. I live in one of the whitest states in the country (Utah) and I’ve dated interracially, though admittedly not as often as I’ve dated other Whites.

  35. flexcamp says:

    Cultural preference is something that is learned/aquired over time, it is NOT ‘just the way we are’…’wired’. Of all the ethnicities I have interacted with I have found that Black people define themselves by their colour then their ethnicity/career, social standing etc.
    I have found white people, in particular white males defining themselves as everything but white! eg, One of the guys, just a guy, just a person basically. I believe the reason for this is that being a white is accepted as being the norm. The Europeanization of modern culture & society dictates the the world we live in basicallly white and that the default common denominator is white. most white people dont define themselve ethnically…because they dont need to.
    European inperialism, slavery and social anthropology has combined and conspired to denigrate and degrade black people over the past 4 centuries.
    What is also interesting to note is that most ethnic groups have a low opinion of, or see black people undesireable for various reasons, I believe this is also related to the historical stereotypes gleaned from Europeans. Interestingly, I have found that we are more positive towards Blacks & interracial relatioships generally, here in Europe than is the case of America.
    I shall expand on this post shortly – hope this gives a little food for thought!
    peace!

  36. EcceNoHomo says:

    I agree 100% with flexcamp. I’ve been telling my friends (of various colors) the same in regard to how U.S. society (and much of the world) has been conditioned to view persons of European descent as the “normal,” de facto human beings. Additionally, yes, I’m also convinced that, to a large degree, people of *all* ethnicities within the United States–including Africans born within its borders–are conditioned to view blacks as inferior. Such has been the case for centuries. In fact, not long ago, it was perfectly acceptable to systemically deny blacks social equality and access to the same resources that whites have enjoyed for quite some time. Brown v. Board of Education was only 56 years ago–pretty recent, actually. Around that time, it was also *not* OK for black people to drink from the same fountains or access the same laboratories as whites. Again, this was not that long ago. Much progress has been made with respect to the struggle for civil rights, but one would be naive to believe that everything could or ought to be fair and equal in the present. I’m convinced that the racist sentiments that were prevalent during the 50s are still present–only in more covert form.

    I’m no more arguing that all white people are racist than one could argue that all black people are uneducated.

    A person, regardless of their ethnicity, may argue that they simply possess a non-black preference, but then you have to ask from whence that preference originated. I would argue that it’s inherited by one’s family and community–especially when said family and community are homogeneous and segregated with intention–and stems from the centuries-long practice of devaluing persons of African descent. (Slavery, white flight, redlining, “Separate but equal,” anyone?) No one ethnic group has the market cornered on attractive characteristics–physical or other–and it’s unlikely that a person–regardless of their ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation–finds only *one* characteristic or set of characteristics attractive. To categorically dismiss all persons of a particular race as unattractive or undesirable fails to account for the high degree of diversity that exists among individuals within *any* ethnic group. And that, my friends, called by whatever name one chooses, is racism. Maybe it doesn’t don bedsheets and brandish a noose, but then, to be sure, those means of segregation have mostly fallen into disuse.

    All right, I’ve been speaking candidly with you all–not with the expectation that I would change your mind but rather in the hope that you might, at the very least, question your biases; it’s none of my concern whom you date, but, since we’re discussing the matter in an open forum, I figured I’d throw my hat in the ring. Furthermore, I’m not condemning anyone. I don’t believe it’s necessarily wrong to prefer a non-black partner. You ultimately have to do what suits you. I bear no ill will against whites or *anyone*. I think we have much to teach one another and, until we’re ready to engage, think it’s important that we, at the very least, treat each other with mutual courtesy and respect.

  37. Ha I'm Right says:

    Thanks for doing this study. It just proves what I thought to be true for black women anyhow. I guess the person that I finally connect with is truly going to be special if my race/gender’s reply rates continue to be so low.

  38. zalel says:

    JDate engages in a fiction that I like, although I know from the time I wasted with Yahoo dating, that I should expect similar attitudes and behavior in real life. Ostensibly, one is there to find a compatible Jew, so they only allow members to express preferences according to religious practice or non-practice, not race or ethnicity. Wishful thinking to be sure, but good wishes.

    On Yahoo, which has sold its memberships to Match, members are allowed to specify which religious affiliations they’ll go out with, AND which racial or ethnic groups they’ll consider. Here in Good Ol’ Boston, roughly 90% of the White Jewish women will only go out with whites, not even Jews of Color. And most of those same Jewish girls will go out with men of other religions. Marrying White’s what matters up here. In New York, in contrast, it appeared that fewer than 40% of Jewish White women were looking at things the same way. I don’t know know if their behavior differs, but that’s what they declare.

  39. bob says:

    Well I am an Indian male and this completely explains the 0 replies I get back despite crafting unique message after reading each profile of the person I am interested in contacting…I knew it wasn’t me…thanks genes *dhurrrrrr*

  40. International Socialist College Student says:

    Don’t you people know that race doesn’t exist? The human race! Therefore there’s no such thing as interracial dating! Race was invented by the bourgeois to separate the people, pitting one against the other, to divide and conquer! Race is the same as a subspecies in any biology book, but when we international socialists of this generation unite, intellectual honesty won’t exist, either! Take heart my progressive comrades, for the day when we make one worldwide homogenous mongrelized brown race is upon us! No more racism or different cultures to fight each other. We will be the perfect economic labor units, serving our international government only! And no more white people to make us feel bad!

  41. Anand says:

    It just dawned on me the two reasons why black women are less likely to date interracially. Aside from the obvious: racism and plain out refusal. There is this: obesity & children. Two things that automatically take many black woman out of the interracial dating pool unbeknownst to them.* However this is true for any woman of any race*

    Obesity: Keep in mind that white males (and other non-black males by extension) categorize fat and thin in accordance with medical concepts of fat & thin. This idea of fat & thin is also the one espoused by the media. In general the black community has a much more lenient standard of fat vs. thin. What blacks consider thin but plump or in the vernacular, “thick” is considered outright fat by many non-blacks. By the time we get to the disignation of obese in the black community’s eyes, non-blacks would categorize the same person with the following statement, “harpoon her, there she blows”. Basically: too many black women are fat by ANYONE’S standards. NOT all or most but certainly too many(and I am a fat black woman so this is an eye opener for me as well).

    Fatness will significantly limit a black woman’s(or any woman’s) chances of finding love outside of the black community. Check how hard it is for fat non-black women to get a date! What do they often end up doing? They end up dating black men! Of course there are non-black men who like fat women BUT they are not a huge percentage so they cannot be depended upon. Often even if non-black men could overlook the obesity issue, there is issue # 2

    Kids: Of course there are successful black women who are thin and have no kids…and they’re probably the ones that make up the 38% who recieve replies back from all races of men. Let’s look at the ones who didn’t recieve any replies. If they’re not fat it’s probably because they have kids…emphasis on the plural. In the black community many black men also have kids …surprise! Therefore it’s not as big of a deal. Go to a black singles gathering on a Saturday night and you’ll find some babies mamas and a great many babies’ daddies as well(and hey! one night a week every parent is allowed a break so criticism, we’ll have none of that! I know all the single childless folks have these fantasies that once they have children, they’ll never leave their house without their progeny in tow…ha! Have some and report back to me.)

    However in non-black communities, having children takes you out of the traditional hip and happening young singles market and relegates you to the divorcee category which is often an older category with a different culture, one that still often frowns upon women who’ve never been married yet have children. It’s the old, “well at least I was once married!” thing. Many black women do not understand that the non-black guy who didn’t respond to their interest online or offline chose not too, not because he’s racist or doesn’t think you’re attractive. He might have been all for it until the “has kids” thing comes across the screen or out of your mouth: no one wants to miss out on an Interpol concert because your babysitter canceled.

    Now of course there are men who don’t have a problem with a woman whose plus sized or a woman that has kids BUT its the combination that ends up being the issue.

    And of course I will reiterate: there are still some folks who are just racist damn it! But that’s another response for another time.

    So my response might sound critical of black woman (keep in mind I am black…and umm…ahem… fluffy) but it actually has a positive bent because I donot think (like many articles try to convey) that there is something inherently wrong w/ black women or their personas. It really comes down to this: if you want to get in the game you have to play by the rules. They may differ from the rules of the game that you’re used too and as such you will have to evaluate the personal value in you becoming involved. For the black woman that does want to open up her dating possibilities, there is one part that can be changed from the above(no, not the kids…shut up), lose weight.

    Good thing, I’m married *pulls out a bag of M&Ms and crunches happily from the sidelines*

    I knew it couldn’t be the physical facial features of black women. Some racist people try to say that non-black men are simply not attracted to black women because they supposedly look masculine due to having broad noses & full lips(not all of course). Liar liar pants on fire!!!! Many Asian women (especially those from Vietnam, Korea, Laos etc.) have those exact features and they don’t have a problem interracially dating In fact many white guys will trip over ten white women to get to an Asian chick. In addition, everyone wants full lips these days and people pay alot to get them. I also knew that it couldn’t be the physical assets generally attributed to black women: hourglass curves, large breasts, shapely derriere. 98% of straight men do not have a problem with an hour glass shape or big breasts or a shapely derriere. I would say that *unfortunately* a good portion of men DO have a problem with a big gut. Honestly I am seeing that on all fronts, it’s just easier as a single woman regardless of race to lose the weight/stay in shape. We’ll call it, a woman’s “fighting weight” so to speak.

  42. Clocks says:

    Actually flexcamp, there is no Europeanization of modern culture or society, unless you are talking about non-North America, non-Europe and non-Australia. These civilizations were established by whites, so of course everything was going to be oriented toward whites. It’s actually the opposite now, the browning of society and culture through outlets like MTV and political correctness. You can’t blame everything on imperialism and slavery. Black people are better off today than they ever have been. They hadn’t accomplished much of anything before Europeans arrived in Africa. With tribal warfare, rampant disease, slavery already present in Africa and no written language or history, imperialism and social anthropology didn’t have much room to degrade any further. Less so with other “minorities,” but now most whites would consider a black just another respectable citizen of society.

  43. jason says:

    and again this diagnosis only proves my thoughts.its unfair that someone can just look at the color of my skin and make some kind of assumption about me. its like i always says “if you know something but cannot prove it with facts it is therefore nothing but illogical fallacy”. god made us al different colors for a reason and that reason is so we wouldnt get bored or go crazy because of seeing nothing different. after all the body is just a vessel for the mind and the mind is what really matters. the first thing on peoples minds shouldn’t be if this black male is ghetto or can he speak proper English or if he has a gun or what ever stereotype people choose to throw out there. the first thought should be “i wonder what type of personality is like”. i guess i can only wish though because the world is just one big baby that needs to mature. its 2010 people find an architect get him or her to build you a bridge and get over the fact that someone is a different color than you.

  44. Dickface says:

    White people are still as racist as ever, no surprise.

    “BUT BUT BUT we elected Obama and then gave him 6 months to fix the country before we turned on him!! No way we’re still racist!”

  45. C says:

    Yep….that’d be about right. I’m a black woman – fairly attractive, funny, adventerous, well educated,stable, great job, varied interests….all of the qualities that should make me an acceptable partner to someone, and certainly a compatible friend. Yet I rarely recieve email responses. No self pity here, it’s the way it works I know. It’s certainly unfortunate – and I’d love to dig deeper to gain an understanding of why this is the case. Maybe this will make for a good doctoral thesis since I have so much time on my hands from not dating….smh.

  46. Katy Berry says:

    To the people who say black women should stop messaging first, I can’t say I agree because individuals will be individuals, and there’s so much variation in what people desire and the gendered characteristics they evince. I prefer men who have “softer” personalities/dispositions that make them less likely to aggressively pursue women in general, and are less likely to pursue black women in particular in part because of stereotypes that we are desirous of strong hypermasculine men to the exclusion of all others – as well as men who may be demoralized by rejection due to having characteristics (shy, cerebral, reedy, neotenous) that are widely deemed undesirable by other women. I also like men who are younger, more attractive and educated/articulate than the ones who usually message me – in my experience, being a black woman has an adverse impact on quantity AND quality. So, I message ppl. That being said, I generally don’t message white guys because of the unfortunate and cliched implications, a rejection rate among those who are my equals in education, attractiveness level and age range that makes it not worth it, and overall lower levels of attraction to and sociopolitical compatibility with the ones in my region.

    “Stop wasting your keystrokes, time and energy on White and other Non Blk men on regular dating sites. Its obvious your efforts are being wasted on men who frankly don’t deserve any attention from Black women and have no interest in you b/c you are Black (read the comments).”

    Interracial dating sites are usually sparsely populated in comparison to mainstream sites, which can be a big problem if you’re online specifically because you don’t live in a heavily-populated, bustling metropolitan and cosmopolitan area. In addition to that, they’re pay to play, and there usually isn’t a preponderance of attractive non-black men looking for black women.

  47. TBA says:

    Some of the responses on here are absolutely absurd. I am a Black woman on this site and I can say that I get contacted by all kinds of men [even women]. I, also, have no shame in contacting someone myself and if I don’t get a reply back? Hmph, oh well. There are too many people on this site to sit back and bitch over why one isn’t replying back.

    However, when people make stupid comments about other races (i.e. how apparently all Black women are nasty) that’s when I get irritated. How in the hell can you make such an accusation about ANYONE unless you have had the chance to be with that person? No two people are the same. No statistic is going to dictate who I am.

    How about instead of being a follower and buying into the bullshit that they spew to you on the television everyday, you get out and actually get to know people you normally wouldn’t and then make up your mind?

  48. MilkandMilk says:

    Here’s a question that men of color need to ask themselves: Why do you care sooo much about dating white women? I’m a white woman and quite frankly, bluntly and literally I ain’t interested in being somebody’s “get back” at the white man. OR somebody’s WASP trophy cause they want to make it up the USA social ladder. Nobody finds a self-hating person desirable, and that’s what men of color come across as often when they’re sniffing after even the ugliest white woman.

    And here’s what I think about Black women. Black women scare the shit out of men. They are perceived as strong, aggressive and sexually liberated. They are awesome. They have had to be like this because they did, oh I don’t know, hard labor to make white men money since slavery and beyond. Men still want the weak little damsel, which I think white women and asian women are often portrayed as in the media, even now. Black women are also portrayed terribly by the media, and unfairly. My family has been in the South since the 1600s. I have much respect for the strength and independence of Black women and its something that has helped the cause of all women in this country.

    So, I’ve rambled, but I think my point is that men are dumb. They’ll be gone in like 100,000 years anyway.

  49. IamSane says:

    So…I have a couple of random comments, in random order.

    1. Our outdated perceptions of race are tied up with our outdated perceptions of gender. I think Black women do seem more “masculine” to men because they are seen as assertive, independent as well as physically and mentally tough, as in if you piss off a Black woman she’s not going to cry she’s going to beat yo ass. The fact that all these GREAT qualities are seen as MASCULINE instead of the qualities of a strong PERSON is messed up within itself. AFrican-American women’s strength comes a dark place, it essentially comes from slavery when black women were not allowed to be “feminine” because they were too busy doing the back-breaking work that made all those “masculine” white men rich. Born from a dark place these qualities have been a benefit for Black woman and for all women. Want to know a a real feminine woman? Harriet Tubman.

    2. I keep reading all these references to “I’m not from the South, so…” basically relying on the stereotype that Southerners are the most racist of all…ummmm…not so much. I’m from the South and while I would never gloss over the South’s racist history, it is this country’s WHOLE history. There is racism everywhere and not just Black/White. Also I have been amazed at how geographically segregated the North and other U.S. regions are.

    3. I’m a white woman, and while I’m open to dating men of different races I have NO RESPECT for men of color who only date white women, or see white women as “better.” I’m not interested in being somebody’s WASP trophy so they can buy into what society tells you a successful man should have. Nobody wants to be a token.

  50. Naz says:

    Interesting to ses actual statistics about this…I always knew race always had to do with these sort of things no matter how much people these days say race is nothing and that there’s no such thing as race. I don’t use this website, so I haven’t experienced this, but I’m south asian and I’ve felt it in real life.
    Eh, but you can’t really blame people…it’s just how people are…