I would like to try and pick up some of that explanatory slack.
Despite initial appearances, it is possible that this data has very little, if anything, to do with race per se.
Most men, if you polled them, would overwhelming respond to women on dating websites, and not other men; women would likely do the reserve.
This does not mean, however, that men (or women) “devalue” other men (or women).
To give you a sense for the data (and so you don’t have to click back and forth between links), here’s the breakdown of the response rates for people who are interested. When it comes to the highest positive response rate, most women, regardless of their race, appear to favor white men, whereas most men, again, regardless of their race, tend to favor Asian women.
In terms of the lowest response rate, women appeared to shun black men, whereas men tended to shun black women. Jenny, using what I can only assume is that same “high-powered sociological lens” I’ve encountered before, concludes that this clearly demonstrates that race matters, and serves to counter accusations that we are living in a color-blind, post-racial world.
Now I happen to think that race likely does matter to some extent when it comes to dating preferences, but the degree of that extent is anyone’s guess.
To see why I would say this only requires that one understands a very basic statistical concept: correlation does not equal causation.The data is labeled “unfortunate” in some respects, because there appear to be winners and losers, and those winners and losers seem to break down along racial lines.When it comes to mating, it seems that everyone doesn’t get to join hands and cross the finish line at the same time so that we all end up with equally-high self-esteem (I know; I was shocked too).Similarly, just because people on these dating sites might respond to black people at the lowest rates, it does not mean they “devalue” black people more generally.But maybe we do devalue certain racial groups, at least when it comes to dating them.In fact, she doesn’t seem to offer any explanation whatsoever for these patterns of responses.