A few times a year, they pour some of their millions of user profiles through an analytical sieve and serve up the clickbait-y results to eager news outlets.
I’m basing this on the findings of Ok Cupid, the dating site that’s also a data site.
Back in 2010, Ok Cupid selected around 500,000 profiles created by self-described “white” people, then “isolated the words and phrases” that made them “distinct” from those of other races.
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That’s why I’m starting to wonder about my genetic makeup, because according to Ok Cupid, white women are very, very interested in ... Then in someone named “Jodi Picoult.” Of the dozens of hot button white woman words, the only ones that resonated with me were “mascara,” “coffee,” and, I guess, “thunderstorms.” I’m assuming Ok Cupid cofounder, Harvard math major and “big data” junkie Christian Rudder was the one who cooked up his company’s elevator pitch: “We use math to get you dates.” I feel safe making that guess because, well, I dated a mathematician and he sounded a lot like Rudder, here reflecting on that “white female” keyword cloud: It’s also amazing the extent to which their list shows a pastoral or rural self-mythology: bonfires, boating, horseback riding, thunderstorms.
I remind you that Ok Cupid’s user base is almost all in large cities, where to one degree or another, if you find yourself doing much of any of these things, civilization has come to an end.
For an American, Rudder displays a refreshingly un-P. fascination with and candor about racial differences that screams both “Asperger’s” and “I sold my company for $50 million, so.” Need I remind you that we’re currently trapped in a niggardly niggardly niggardly niggardly world, in which even just talking about race is the new racism.
That’s why the portrays Rudder “as quick to point out” that Ok Cupid’s clients aren’t “’racist’ in the traditional sense of the word.” You see, according to Ok Cupid’s latest “study:” “Most singles seeking love don’t look outside their own race,” “despite nearly all saying they support mix-raced relationships.” Either they really are that ignorant or no one at the , or even Ok Cupid, has heard of the Bradley Effect or just plain old social desirability bias.
Never mind your favorite baseball team: these profiles also ask for your caste, subcaste, “mother tongue,” and breathtakingly granular astrological details.
(For the “Horoscope Match needed” option, many clients answer “Must.”) Oh, and then there’s blood type. Against all scientific evidence, many South Asians believe that marrying within the same blood type causes birth defects; “[T]here are still people who believe that everyone comes from one of seven ‘family lines’ and should not marry someone from the same line.” Then there’s the little matter of thalassemia. Anyhow, Christian Rudder isn’t done sifting his data: “One interesting thing about Ok Cupid’s interface,” he adds, “is that we allow people to select more than one race, so you can actually look at people who’ve combined ‘white’ with another racial description. In fact it goes a long way towards undoing any bias against you.” But I thought white people were universally hated. Indian singles with that rare blood condition have their very own dating site, which assures prospective brides and grooms that “it is not a contagious disease as believed by many.” But it sure must be a racist one, since thalassemia tends to particularly pick on these unfortunate brown—I mean, “wheatish”—folks. And those two phenomena kick in when people are responding to more or less anonymous polls.How likely, in our current Salem-esque environment, are individuals to admit they prefer their own kind on a website that displays their name, location, and photograph?By the time the exceptions start to pile up—it seems black men prefer Hispanic women; Asian and Hispanic females favor white guys; and everyone hates black chicks—Ok Cupid’s supposedly shocking study loses some of its voltage.