Hi guys!

In class on Wednesday, we will be doing an activity that requires talking about your experiences with dating apps, specifically, how some of these apps can be racist. Any background or outside knowledge you have about dating apps / racism online is extremely encouraged to facilitate a strong class discussion! There is a video and an article that we would like you to post your reactions to in the comments – a paragraph or two. Nothing too long, just honest opinions! Please post your comments before class time on Wednesday 🙂

-Kianna, Jackie, and Adrienne


13 Replies to “Hi guys!”

  1. Hey Kianna, Jackie, and Adrienne,
    I enjoyed both the video and article you assigned for Wednesday’s class. I like how in the article it discussed the fact that online people will say what they want, but if they met someone in person they wouldn’t say the same things. That is something that I was thinking about as I read the article and watched the video. It also made me think about how over time we learn to be more judgemental which in a way can be both a good and bad thing. I think it’s a good thing because it shows that we have standards, we won’t surround ourselves with someone who does things we don’t value. for example, if someone said they smoke I might not be inclined to talk to that person. I also think it can be a bad thing because being on an online dating site allows us to just judge someone on a few pictures, brief introduction, or a few answered questions. I think as humans we can be visual and sometimes looks can be misinterpreted. I think meeting people in person is much simpler, makes us try, and be less judgemental. One thing that I thought of when watching the video is when it comes to the questions on a dating site I felt that maybe that isn’t an accurate representation of people’s real answers. I feel like people on dating apps might just say what they want others to hear then what the actually feel depending on the question. If the questions are more complicated like asking for your religion, or political views I feel like people would lie, or make their answers sound more neutral.

  2. Hey Kianna, Jackie, and Adrienne,
    I thought this was a really great topic and an important one! I found the article really sad to be honest, especially the title. I understand what they were going for with it, but they definitely could have found a better title. The fact that people have to already face prejudice in real life and to also have to face them online is terrible. Especially on a dating app like Grindr. It’s interesting how people are free to express their sexual orientation on that app, but not their race. Like how does that even work or make sense?
    The video was also interesting, I like how they were able to use the algorithms to actually give interesting and useful feedback about the words that certain genders or races were using most. But I wasn’t a big fan of how he addressed this stuff, he kind of took a comical approach to it. He laughed at certain things and I understand this is what he studies so he sees it a lot, but at the same time he is a representative of OKCupid and that should reflect.
    This was a great assignment and I’m wicked excited to talk about in class!

  3. Hey Kianna, Jackie, and Adrienne!
    I really enjoyed the homework you guys assigned to the class. The article truly displayed the negative and racist aspects to dating websites. As readers come across the article, they can truly feel for these groups of people who are targeted online. As a reader myself, I found the article extremely heartbreaking. Hearing about different individuals’ encounters on these dating websites made me realize how harsh dating websites are alongside other social media apps. A blogger even stated that “She’s faced messages that use words implying she – a black woman – is aggressive, animalistic, or hyper-sexualized.” Even though we are becoming more aware of how hurtful the digital world can be, reading the woman’s encounters with these dating apps made me incredibly frustrated and upset with how our world thinks this is an ok thing to do.

    I also liked how the article related back to Safiya Umoja Noble’s, Algorithms of Oppression, which is something our class knows about very well and helps us relate this topic to her book. The article relates back to Noble’s point that “search engines reinforce racism…the way we communicate online doesn’t help, and that in person there are more social conventions over who we choose to talk to, and how we choose to talk to them: “In these kinds of applications, there’s no space for that kind of empathy or self-regulation.”” I can definitely agree with her point and how it relates back to the article because it clearly shows that racism is all throughout the internet, as it started in person and moved into the digital world we have today. Showing racism in person is much harder than someone showing it through the internet because they are able to hide behind a computer.

    As for the video, I thought it was extremely strange that he was laughing at the serious situations he was speaking about. I get that people try to lighten the mood with comedy, but in this case, I thought it was a little inappropriate. Although I liked how he took fashioned approach to the questions, I also thing that people should be more free to what they want others to see and what not to see. There are many people on the internet who don’t believe they can be themselves due to societal ‘norms,’ so it can greatly affect their representation on these dating apps because they want to seem like someone different, which gives the other people viewing their profile the wrong idea.

    Overall, you guys did an awesome job picking a great article and video for everyone to read/prepare for Wednesday’s class!

    – Gabby

  4. Hi Kianna, Adrienne, and Jackie,

    Thank you for this provocative pairing of texts for thinking about the important topic of racism in dating applications. Stokel-Walker’s article reminds us that digital platforms are never neutral (if our course had a thesis statement, that would be it!). Rather, they reflect the biases and standpoints of those who create them and often reproduce (but can also challenge) the inequalities endemic to society.

    One set of questions we might consider unpacking: what are the potential benefits and risks of allowing users 1) to identify their race and ethnicity and 2) of allowing users to sort for other users by race and ethnicity. Who might these options help? Who might these options harm? In thinking about these options, we might try to brainstorm the many possible effects they could have on users differently positioned amidst the intersecting axes of power.

    Your assigned readings/viewings, and really, all of the readings from our student-led sessions so far, are especially useful as we start thinking about the final projects for this class. You will all be creating something for others to interact with. More likely than not, this will be a digital project. What kinds of options do you want to give the users who will be interacting with your projects? How might you design your projects in a way that considers how users differently positioned in the intersecting axes of power (race, class, gender, sexuality, and ability) will access and experience your projects?

    Looking forward to tomorrow’s discussion!

  5. Kianna, Adrienne, and Jackie,
    Thanks for bringing up this really interesting issue that I never thought of before. It is so common now, especially with our generation, to meet, date, or marry someone you found online. Im super curious as to what it looks like when you fill out your info and who you’re looking for on these apps because that could definitely be an invitation to racism. I find it interesting that there are different apps geared to different people, for example one of them being a “gay dating app” rather than them all being the same/open to everyone. From the article, Grindr seems like a good example of taking a step towards change with their zero tolerance policy and possible ban of filters. This article was very beneficial to spreading awareness on a topic many people may not think about. A powerful example that stood out to me is that we no longer have racist segregation like in previous history where there were “no black” signs, but having the option to click no to different ethnicities on these apps is too similar and concerning.

  6. Hi Kianna, Adrienne, and Jackie,

    Great article and video choices. I was intrigued by the title of the article it automatically caught my attention. I never thought of having race filters in a dating app would actually occur and its sad how our society has pushed this issue that needs to be addressed. A comparison I made to banning people who use abusive/racist language was to Club Penguin (I don’t know why but that was the first thought that came into my mind. Basically the computer game would ban users who cursed or said things violating the game’s agreements). It’s concerning how grown adults have to get banned from dating apps for their language when they should know better and be able to respect others, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all,” even small children know this.
    From personal experience on dating apps, I have had a white girl refer to me as a “Spicy Mami” and I was so repulsed from that racist comment. I do think it’s a good idea dating apps are banning people for their homophobia, sexism, racism, etc. I like how the article brought up the comparison to “No Blacks, No Irish” sign because the race filter is another form of that discrimination.

  7. Hi Kianna, Adrienne and Jackie!
    I like this topic a lot and I am happy that you guys also chose it!
    The article was very interesting to me, but not that surprising. In the article where it talks about users blatantly saying they would not be with a certain race I was struck. This, of course, is racist and unfair but it made me think about real life. People have different bias/preferences whatever you may call it and avoid a certain type of person wether it be race, gender, lifestyle choices etc. I personally think it is unfair and rude to outwardly post that in your bio, but in reality, people do do this anyway. I was really happy to see Grindr take steps against this and I think other platforms should follow suit. I remember someones comment the other day referred to tinder as the “google of dating apps” and I agree with that in terms of how much they get away with things like this. It is very concerning that we categorize people by race etc but by nature dating websites are based on picking a partner (or whatever) by photos which by default makes it a shallow process, but there is definitely room for improvement.

  8. Hi Kianna, Adrienne and Jackie,
    I found this video very interesting, a little depressing, and incredibly disturbing. This video was interesting in the sense that OKCupid (and I’m sure other dating apps) has put together a global collection of social data in regards to ethnicity, sexual desire, and age. However I also think this is very creepy since this means that dating apps actively mine our personal data in what is supposed to be a safe, private space. It is not surprising to see old-school dating standards still practiced in modern times, and however immoral this may be, our culture has been divided according to race and there have been strict stigmas instituted around interracial relationships. However aware our generation has become as to these stigmatizations, we still have along way to go in order to dismantle these old-school ways and achieving true egalitarianism.

  9. Hi Kianna, Adrienne, and Jackie,
    In the article, you assigned for us to read I found many similarities between that article and the research I’m doing on mobile dating apps in a different class. In the article I read, The Gay Gayze: Expressions of Inequality on Grindr by Christopher T. Connor, he found that many people who use in Grindr in their bios they would say things such as that they were not into black people or what body types they were/weren’t into. He also went into the idea of superficial relationships that are created by these online dating apps such as Grindr. In the article assigned Sinakhone Keodara explains that “likewise, Tinder’s algorithm ranks attractiveness based on previous swipes; therefore, it promotes what is considered “traditionally” beautiful (read: white) people.” This goes into the idea of superficial relationships because many people on these dating apps are mainly attracted to white people. As a result, of this, people give most of their attention to white people and block out any other minority groups. They are mainly concerned with the exterior looks/attractiveness rather than one’s personality. From the video assigned, the maker of OkCupid shares his idea of what occurs on this dating app and how many of the people who use it are all a little racist. He also provides us with information that could break some of these racial stereotypes/racism however, these apps continue them.
    In another article, Seeing and Being Seen: Co-Situation and Impression Formation Using Grindr, a Location-Aware Gay Dating App by Courtney Blackwell she goes into this idea of self-representation on mobile dating apps. She noted how many respondents designed their profiles in ways to change viewers’ impressions of them so they would be taken more seriously. It was found that some users of Grindr had identity masking strategies to conceal certain parts of themselves. This relates back to the idea of racism and discrimination in dating apps. Mobile dating apps closely mirror society’s structures and many people conform to societal norms and how they believe they should perform their identities both in real life and on mobile dating apps. It’s interesting to see how race and sexual orientation build off one another and I’m excited to learn more about this topic tomorrow in class.

  10. Hi Kianna, Adrienne, and Jackie!
    Great blog post! I really liked the discussion about the racism in dating apps that many people seem to be pretty apathetic about. I find that it is one thing to have a very particular preference in terms of who you want to look for in these dating apps, but it is another for these dating apps to allow racist algorithms and actions.
    One thing that bothered me was the callousness of the ways in which this was described. The people behind these apps seemed to be resigned with the idea that these apps have to be racist in a way, when that is the farthest thing from the truth. There is no good reason why an Asian man should be flooded with messages about how gross he is for his race while he is trying to find an emotional connection or even just a sexual one. Dating apps do not have to be this way, and it is up to the people creating them and fixing them to create a space that is inclusive and not set up for hateful thoughts and language.

  11. Hey Kianna, Adrienne, and Jackie!

    Thank you for sharing these insightful resources for us to analyze while we think about the racism in dating apps. After reading the assigned article, I came to the conclusion that there is a very thin line between the preferences people have for other people they want to date and the racist algorithms embedded in the dating apps. It’s one thing for a person to not what to date a person who is African American or Asian however, it is another thing for that person to publicize their racist beliefs and take that next step to send that person a nasty message regarding their skin color. The article reinforces the same ideas we discussed the other day with dating apps and the LGBTQIA+ community. People use dating apps to find a person they can connect with and ideally, fall in love with. They cannot fully experience the good in these apps if the apps are loaded with racist algorithms and biases towards minorities.

    I find the quote at the end of the article to be truly powerful and eye-opening. Keodara responds to an answer that these racists acts are solely based on preference for one race over another. Keodara replies “But just because it’s preference, it doesn’t mean it’s right. Slavery was white people’s preference”. It is okay to prefer a type of person over another especially in the dating world. People are far from perfect and to be honest most people know they type of person they ideally want to be with. However, this is not a justification for being racist.

  12. Hi Kianna, Adrienne, and Jackie,

    This is a really interesting topic that you’ve assigned. I’ve heard about things like this on dating apps, even though I don’t use them myself. I think it’s really strange how people are saying this is all a preference, without examining where those “”preferences”” are coming from, like they can’t be based in racism at all. I don’t think having a list of banned words or phrases would be productive, mostly because people already have very easy ways to get around filters (censoring words l!ke this, spelling out words phonetically so filters don’t catch them) that I think we need to make sure that the culture around the acts changes so that this isn’t seen as acceptable.

  13. Hey Kianna, Adrienne, and Jackie!

    Thank you for sharing these insightful resources for us to read over while we think about the racism in dating apps. I haven’t had much success or failure with a dating app because i like meeting someone face to face and i have never felt the need to put in more effort to use a dating app. I think dating apps are helpful because people will eventually find who they want but they still have to suffer through the algorithm of people that might not want the same thing as you. If you are able to stick with it and get past the algorithm then you might find someone you truly love. Daiting apps are defiantly difficult to navigate but there is someone out there for everyone.

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