The shirtless gay YouTuber Davey Wavey just released a video to his 950k subscribers about racism in online dating profiles.
Wavey invited a few of his gay friends to sit in front of a camera and read some actual dating profiles found on the gay hookup app Grindr. The guys were in for a racist surprise: each profile revealed a user who wanted nothing to do with an entire race of people.
“I block more Asians than the Great Wall of china,” read one. “Is there a block all black button?” said another. Another: “i’m white and attractive so sorry but if ur anything less (i.e. Not white) you’re not worth it. Just a preference sorry”
Fellow YouTuber Kory DeSoto, who described himself as Japanese, Puerto Rican, and white, said there’s such thing as preferences in dating, but that these types of profiles are just plain racist.
"It's a preference to say I'm a muscular guy and I'm into thin guys, or hairy guys—there's hairy Asians, there's no-hair Asians,” he said. “But I feel like blocking out a whole ethnic group is wrong. It's racism."
“As a minority, if you see things like that all the time it can kind of be taxing and affect your self esteem and how you see yourself,” said Kingsley, another YouTube personality.
Statistically, people between the age of 18 and 34 almost all say mixed-race dating is good for America. But racism appears to be alive and totally out in the open in online gay dating profiles.
The straights are prejudiced, too. OkCupid found racial bias actually went up between 2009 and 2014. OKCupid users of every race negatively rated users of a different race. And this is on OKCupid, where the median age of the online dating site’s millions of users is 29. About 85% of OkCupid users are college-educated and some 80% of users are white.
There is a glimmer of hope. OKCupid found only about 30% of users say they strongly prefer to date someone of their own race—that means the majority of users, the other 70%, are open to mixing things up.
One researcher actually found that when OKCupid users receive messages from users of a different race they go on to initiate more new interracial exchanges in the short-term future than they would have otherwise.
One explanation of why OKCupid users were more likely to engage interracial exchanges after receiving a message from a user of a different race is that dating site users may engage in “preemptive discrimination,” according to Kevin Lewis, a sociology professor at the University of California, San Diego.
“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,” Lewis wrote in his 2013 study, which analyzed messages sent and received among 126,134 OkCupid users.
Grindr declined to provide data about racial bias and their users when I requested numbers in July. But it’s so prominent that there’s one Tumblr called Racist guys on Grindr and another one called Racists of Grindr. And then there’s Douchebags of Grindr—the blogs and hashtags are endless.
In light of Wavey’s latest video I’ve reached out to representatives at Grindr for access to data and to see if they have a response to Wavey’s latest video. I’ll keep you updated.
A version of this story was presented earlier this year live on stage in Los Angeles at Fusion’s very first Real Future Fair. If you’re in San Francisco attend the latest event this weekend.