The Dating Divide: Race and Desire in the Era of Online Romance
The data behind a distinct form of racism in online dating.
The Dating Divide is the first comprehensive look at "digital-sexual racism," a distinct form of racism that is mediated and amplified through the impersonal and anonymous context of online dating. Drawing on large-scale behavioral data from a mainstream dating website, extensive archival research, and more than seventy-five in-depth interviews with daters of diverse racial backgrounds and sexual identities, Curington, Lundquist, and Lin illustrate how the seemingly open space of the internet interacts with the loss of social inhibition in cyberspace contexts, fostering openly expressed forms of sexual racism that are rarely exposed in face-to-face encounters. The Dating Divide is a fascinating look at how a contemporary conflux of individualization, consumerism, and the proliferation of digital technologies has given rise to a unique form of gendered racism in the era of swiping right—or left.
The internet is often heralded as an equalizer, a seemingly level playing field, but the digital world also acts as an extension of and platform for the insidious prejudices and divisive impulses that affect social politics in the "real" world. Shedding light on how every click, swipe, or message can be linked to the history of racism and courtship in the United States, this compelling study uses data to show the racial biases at play in digital dating spaces.
Praise for The Dating Divide: Race and Desire in the Era of Online Romance
"The Dating Divide claims that online dating creates a sort of apartheid, where individuals can filter, reject or simply ignore certain groups. . . . This original, thought-provoking, engaging book is a must-read for anyone interested in exploring how racism seeps into every area of our lives."
— Times Higher Education
"The Dating Divide adds historical background and in-depth interviews to explain where our dating biases come from. . . . A useful and thoughtful contribution to the literature, and well worth reading."
— Social Forces
“The Dating Divide is a unique study of online dating, an area not readily studied but significant to modern society. . . . The role of race in these interactions is an important area of examination and will no doubt be increasingly important. . . . Highly recommended.”
"The Dating Divide makes strong empirical interventions…[that] make this text quite useful for teaching about structural racism and its embeddedness in our personal lives in an accessible way."
— American Journal of Sociology