Thursday, September 09, 2010

How Men of Different Races Describe Themselves to Potential Dates

OkCupid is a data site run by statisticians. Their reports are a gold mine for people interested in mate selection.

Their current report analyzes the terms people use in their profiles to describe themselves. Based on more than half a million participants, divided by their self-described race, the data cupids found this interesting trend in how men describe themselves to a prospective date:

Black men say I am cool - a very common choice (#2 out of the top 50).
Asian men say they are simple. This includes Indians and Middle Eastern men as well as East Asians (#2).
Latinos say they are funny guys (#25).

White men are much less likely to offer an overall self-description. The closest item in the top 50 profile items, coming in at #38, is I'm a country boy.

I don't have a deep analysis of what this means, and would welcome your thoughts. I have some guesses that are somewhat informed by the actual marriage patterns of each group, but I know I could be way off.

Cool: fun to spend time with, but doesn't demand commitment.
Simple: does not want an emotionally complicated relationship, just commitment.
Funny: will pay attention to you and not be overbearing.
Country boy: masculine and simple; hasn't had to give much thought to what kind of man, because white men have the privilege of thinking of themselves as just normal guys.


Kelly said...

I think you're right about white guys having the privilege to think of themselves as just normal guys. Maybe not having to see your race as a defining factor in your day-to-day life makes you less likely to think of yourself in terms of defining factors.
It reminds me of when a cousin referred to me as an "evolutionist." He was right in that I believe in evolution and am not a "creationist," but I'd never thought of evolution v. creation as something that defined me, where as I think most people who read the bible literally would list something closely related to that as one of the main things that define them.

Brendan said...

I don't have the background on marriage to say much about your conclusions, but your note about white men has the ring of truth.

Anonymous said...

What's your take on black privilege, affirmative action? How it effects blacks and whites. Perceptions, race relations,fairness etc. Do centrist professors study this subject?

Gruntled said...


Yes - please see

Anonymous said...

That link din't answer my question.I understand white privilege. My question is about black privilege in light of affirmative action and the effects on whites and blacks. For example high drop out rates for minorities that receive scholarships not based on test scores only. Are there academic studies on this topic or is the subject verboten at most universities?

Gruntled said...

There are indeed academic studies of the effects of affirmative action on black students, in particular. I recommend Shelby Steele or Thomas Sowell as a place to start.

Whit said...

Outstanding, Gruntled. I also recommend Steele and Sowell.

But as to "having the privilege to think of themselves as normal", I don't think it is a privilege at all. You just do it.

A man can think of himself as white, or black, or a klutz, or short, or disabled, or whatever - or not. If he stereotypes himself, it is self-fulfilling prophecy.

Gruntled said...

The main finding of studies of privilege is that the greatest privilege is not thinking that you are privileged. In a way, if you read an advantage from some aspect of yourself without thinking about it or even realizing that it is an advantage, that is a double advantage.

Whit said...

Gruntled: If a white person is "advantaged" then a black person is "disadvantaged" in comparison. My point was that black people should stop thinking of themselves as disadvantaged . . . and it will cease to be true. At that point we Americans will all be advantaged. This has been our history, disadvantaged groups joined the rest of us, Irish, Polish, Italian, Jappanese, Cubans, etc. etc. Preservation of this group identity as victims is the biggest thing holding black people back.

I'm not saying there is no racism left out there, white or black. But for the most part racists are no longer in positions of power. In my business I know many small business employers. They would hire the most qualified candidate regardless of race.

And that makes sense. If there were really any significant racial component to hiring decisions overall (as opposed to a few outlying cases) you could hire a black person for less than a white person of equal qualifications. And small business people are, if nothing else, focused on the bottom line - so the problem would be self-correcting. I believe Sowell made this very argument.

Gruntled said...

Privilege comes from how other people treat us. It is not primarily a matter of self-perception.

Whit said...


Even assuming what you say were correct, that does not vitiate my point. It makes it. If black people did not treat white people as "privileged" (whatever that means) but rather thought of themselves as equal (which is identical to ceasing to think of themselves as not privileged), the whole "privilege" issue will go away. We will judge by the content of character not the color of skin.

And you do not address my original point that thinking of oneself as a victim is self-fulfilling. But if you believe in hard work, education, staying out of trouble and acting prudently, you will greatly increase your chance of success. And that is Steele's point.

Brendan said...

Whit: so if black people just improved their self-esteem, they'd be treated exactly like white people, right? What if you take the self-esteem out of it and just compare the way those small business owners treat resumes with "white" and "black" names?