About Least Desirable
An awkward name for an awkward existence.
In 2014 Christian Rudder of OkCupid published Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One’s Looking), a book that detailed how our private online behavior belies our public personas. While the book covers all things analytics from Google searches to Facebook likes, one of the more viral revelations was the data surrounding race-based dating preferences.
“All the data on race I have is from dating sites,” Rudder said in an NPR interview, “but on these sites, [for] black users especially, there’s a bias against them.” In fact, the strongest biases in heterosexual dating preferences were against black women and Asian men. Dataclysm also reported that black women receive 25 percent fewer first messages on OkCupid than women of all other ethnicities.
Black women receive 25 percent fewer first messages on OkCupid than women of all other ethnicities.
To most, this was a provocative tidbit to be retweeted and forgotten within days. But for black women like me, this is life.
The data are mere tidy representations of a messy existence. And while I’m a big fan of big data, the good stuff begins where data ends. My goal with Least Desirable is to share stories of what it means to be a minority not in the abstract, but in the awkward, exhilarating, exhausting, devastating, and occasionally amusing reality that is the pursuit of love.
The stories here will cover the personal to the political to pop culture and beyond; but most of all, they will be reminders for people of color (and to anyone who dates, really) that we aren’t alone.
If you’d like to share your story here, please don’t hesitate to email me at email@example.com.