Dating sites should eliminate ability to select racial preference

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    Although the U.S. rarely experiences any large-scale occurrences of racism or segregation nowadays, there are still means by which Americans are expressing segregation. They just think they’re doing so in private.

    According to a report in Time that examined racial preference in dating websites, whites were more likely to state they had no racial preference but still only communicated with fellow whites.

    On the other hand, black people were more likely to state they were interested in other blacks on their profiles but were also more likely to communicate with whites.

    In the many racial divides that have occurred in history, many have opted for excuses instead of solutions, which have only helped to widen the gap between races.

    Psychologist Jerry Mendelsohn said in the report that segregation has become a social norm and “is sort of built into the social scene for the time being.”

    That statement sounds more like an excuse than a solution.

    And while some racial issues will likely never be fixed, there are solutions to this sort of segregation.

    Websites like eHarmony and match.com advertise as if they will help ambitious singles find love, but they subconsciously encourage stereotypes in their advertisements.

    Think: when was the last time a TV ad for a dating site featured a biracial couple? Although they might occasionally feature a Hispanic or black couple, they have failed to represent what might be considered “rare” couples.

    Many times, the human mind operates on schemas, or small 8212; and many times arbitrary 8212; details that are used to identify a situation or experience. For example, when someone sees a lion on TV, he or she might remember the time he or she went to the zoo as a child.

    In the same way, when Americans see couples on TV that feature two individuals of the same race, they ultimately accept that portrayal as a norm.

    Although this form of advertising does not seem racist, it can assist in perpetuating stereotypes, which encourages racist sentiments, and racist sentiments have been shown to have a negative impact on cognition, according to a study by Psychology Today titled “Racism Breeds Ignorance.”

    In the study, 86 students were asked to write an essay about a boy named Tyrone or Erik. Afterward, they were asked to complete 30 math problems. The researcher found that those who wrote an essay that identified Tyrone as African-American and characterized him with stereotypes surrounding African-Americans ended up scoring lower on their math problems.

    Therefore, perpetuating stereotypes can have a negative impact, both socially and mentally.

    Going back to the websites themselves, it would be more beneficial to eliminate requiring an individual to express his or her racial preference on these websites.

    First, it puts too much emphasis on identifying a “type,” which is a term often used in relationships. Also, it automatically assumes race should be an important aspect of selecting a significant other.

    All of this is not to say that these dating sites are a barrier for progress. They are, however, a microcosm for a much larger issue 8212; the common nature of perpetuated stereotypes in the U.S.

    Wyatt Kanyer is a junior news-editorial journalism major from Yakima, Wash.