Additional Income Quotes
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In addition to all the information about income, education, and looks, men and women on the dating site listed their race. They were also asked to indicate a preference regarding the race of their potential dates. The two preferences were “the same as mine” or “it doesn’t matter.” Like the Weakest Link contestants, the website users were now publicly declaring how they felt about people who didn’t look like them. They would reveal their actual preferences later, in confidential e-mails to the people they wanted to date.
Roughly half of the white women on the site and 80 percent of the white men declared that race didn’t matter to them. But the response data tell a different story. The white men who said that race didn’t matter sent 90 percent of their e-mail queries to white women. The white women who said race didn’t matter sent about 97 percent of their e-mail queries to white men. This means that an Asian man who is good-looking, rich, and well educated will receive fewer than 25 percent as many e-mails from white women as a white man with the same qualifications would receive; similarly, black and Latino men receive about half as many e-mails from white women as they would if they were white.
Is it possible that race really didn’t matter for these white women and men and that they simply never happened to browse a nonwhite date that interested them? Or, more likely, did they say that race didn’t matter because they wanted to come across — especially to potential mates of their own race — as open-minded?
Steven D. Levitt (Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything)