Here’s why racism is rampant on dating apps

The authors of a new book are arguing for race-blind dating apps — and the removal of filters for race and ethnicity.

Finding love, they say, isn’t so black-and-white. 

In a new book, “The Dating Divide: Race and Desire in the Era of Online Romance,” sociologists Jennifer Lundquist, Celeste Vaughan Curington and Ken Hou-Lin show how online dating sites exacerbate racial divisions.

They found that race-related “preference” filters on digital dating platforms help foster racist attitudes — especially toward black women. 

Filtering out people based on race is a normal practice on dating apps,” Lundquist told The Post. 

“The idea of having racial preferences is unacceptable and illegal in any other arena,” she added. “But it’s literally built into the structure of these dating apps.”

A 2014 study about dating preferences along racial lines on OKCupid came to a similar conclusion: Black women had a hard time matching on dating apps, as did black and Asian men.

(The 2014 study also found that preferring to date within one’s race was fairly common. For instance, black women preferred to date black men at a rate surpassed only by Asian women’s preference for Asian men.)

Filtering for race on dating apps has led to rampant racism.
Filtering for race on dating apps has led to rampant racism.
Alamy Stock Photo

For their book, Lundquist and her co-writers analyzed large-scale behavioral data from one of the leading dating sites in America. The authors declined to publicly reveal which digital dating platform they used for their research per a data-share agreement with the website. 

They also conducted over 75 in-depth interviews with daters of diverse racial backgrounds and sexual identities. 

The authors found that racial filtering on mating forums exposed black women to more exclusion and rejection than white, Latina and Asian female daters. Black women were the most likely to be excluded from searches, as well as the most likely recipients of offensive messages.

The research trio found that discrimination is laced into the algorithms of mainstream dating apps and websites.

“[It’s] this idea that it’s OK to say, ‘I prefer this race of people, and I don’t like this race of people for my romantic interest,’” Curington explained to The Post.

Hinge, OKCupid, Plenty of Fish and offer race and ethnicity filters, while Tinder and Bumble do not. 

While plenty of people have “a type” when it comes to dating, the researchers found that filtering for race also let “people feel free to express their biases and racial misogyny towards women of color in a way they typically wouldn’t in a face-to-face encounter,” Lundquist said.

In a new book, “The Dating Divide: Race and Desire in the Era of Online Romance,” sociologists Jennifer Lundquist, Celeste Vaughan Curington and Ken Hou-Lin show how online dating sites exacerbate racial divisions.
The Dating Divide

So, how did users go from being ignored to harassed? One possible explanation: When the average dating-app user doesn’t see black women because of the filters they’ve set, you end up with a higher percentage of users seeking black women as a “fetish.”

For Nicole, a 39-year-old Afro Caribbean single mother from Brooklyn, receiving overly sexual overtures from non-black men on apps has become an unwelcome norm. 

“Right off the bat these guys are approaching me with, ‘Hey, sexy chocolate,’ or ‘I love your beautiful black body. Can you twerk?,’” the registered nurse told The Post.

Nicole and other black daters who’ve endured racist attitudes while online dating declined to share their full names with The Post for privacy reasons. 

“I’m on these apps hoping to find a meaningful relationship and these guys are treating me like a sex object before even extending a proper ‘Hello,’” the Brooklyn resident added. 

The authors found that black women on matchmaking platforms must frequently contend with racist stereotypes such as the sexually insatiable “Jezebel,” which has roots in slavery, and the “angry black woman” — a belief that black women are innately unruly and ill-tempered. 

“We talked to a number of educated black women who were thriving in their careers and looking for comparable partners,” Curington told The Post. “But there’s a disconnect between who they are in real life versus the Jezebel stereotype they’re being subjected to online.”

“I’m on these apps hoping to find a meaningful relationship and these guys are treating me like a sex object before even extending a proper ‘Hello.’”


Mish, a black executive assistant to C-suite business administrators, told The Post that her digital quest for companionship reaped a paltry handful of bad love connections. 

“I’m very turned off by dating sites now,” the 53-year-old Bronx native insisted. “They make me feel uneasy. Like I’m not being seen as the beautiful queen I am.”

She recalls one relationship with a Hispanic man that quickly turned sour.

“When we first met, he made a point of telling me how much he loved black women,” Mish told The Post. 

He was sexually aggressive during their first in-person meet-up last year. After finally engaging in consensual sex, he ghosted her. 

She later discovered he had a sordid history of fetishizing black women for his personal pleasures, then dumping them once he’d had his fun. 

“He targets black women because we’re seen as sexual objects, nothing more,” she said, noting that they never spoke again. 

Black gay men were also subjected to hypersexualized stereotypes, the authors found.  

Clark, a 26-year-old urban contemporary choreographer, told The Post his brush with racism ultimately got him banned from a leading dating app. 

“At first this white guy was sweet,” the Manhattan-based dancer explained. “But after a few messages, he asked for nude pictures to see ‘if the rumors about black guys are true.’”

Clark responded to the request with a flurry of expletives. The man reported Clark to the app administrators for “cyber bullying.” Clark’s dating profile was immediately deactivated. 

“I couldn’t believe it when I saw my profile was gone. I had to create a whole new account,” Clark told The Post. “It was like I was being attacked twice, once by the white guy and once by the app.”

The authors suggest doing away with racial filters on apps in order to eliminate the perpetuation of racial stereotyping and discrimination. 

However, they note that their objective isn’t to bash people for having a dating “type,” nor is it to browbeat folks into dating outside of their race. 

“We’re not dumping on dating apps or people’s individual choices,” Curington told The Post. “We just want everyone to be aware of the long-standing societal issues being exacerbated on this platform.”

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US Solar Companies Rely On Materials From Xinjiang, Where Forced Labor Is Rampant

Stringer China / Reuters

A man walks through solar panels at a solar power plant under construction in Aksu, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, April 5, 2012.

This project was supported by the Eyebeam Center for the Future of Journalism, the Pulitzer Center, and the Open Technology Fund.

Solar power has built a reputation as a virtuous industry, saving the planet by providing clean energy. But the industry has a dirty underbelly: It relies heavily on Xinjiang — a region in China that has become synonymous with forced labor for Muslim minorities — for key components.

Over the past four years, China has detained more than a million people in a network of detention facilities throughout its Xinjiang region. Many of these camps contain factories where Muslim minorities are forced to work. The solar industry is overwhelmingly reliant on parts and materials imported from this region, where heavy government surveillance makes it nearly impossible for outside observers to assess if people are working of their own free will. However, there are few alternative suppliers for the components the solar industry in the US needs.

It’s a particular problem for polysilicon, the metallic gray crystal form of the element integral to making solar cells, which convert light into energy. In 2016, only 9% of the world’s solar-grade polysilicon came from Xinjiang. But by 2020 it provided about 45% of the world’s supply, according to industry analyst Johannes Bernreuter.

At least one major Chinese polysilicon manufacturer has close ties with a state-controlled paramilitary organization, the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC). Last year, the US government slapped sanctions on the XPCC for helping Beijing carry out its mass internment of Muslims, and the US banned its cotton, citing evidence it was produced using forced labor.

The American solar industry faces a choice: ignore the risk of human rights abuses or develop costly new alternatives for an industry struggling to compete against more polluting forms of energy production.

Another major Chinese polysilicon producer said it works with “vocational schools” in Xinjiang, a red flag because the Chinese government has long used that term as a euphemism for internment camps.

The Solar Energies Industry Association, which represents solar companies in the United States, opposes the “reprehensible” human rights violations in Xinjiang and is “encouraging” companies to move their supply chains out of the region, said John Smirnow, the group’s general counsel.

“We have no indication that solar is being directly implicated, he said, “but given reports, we want to ensure forced labor is never a part of the solar supply chain.”

But as President-elect Joe Biden prepares to take office, after promising to improve clean energy infrastructure in the US, the American solar industry faces a choice: ignore the risk of human rights abuses or develop costly new alternatives for an industry struggling to compete against more polluting forms of energy production.

Costfoto / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

A worker produces polysilicon quartz rods in Donghai County, Jiangsu Province, China, on June 30, 2020.

China came to dominate the global polysilicon industry after it put tariffs on polysilicon imports from the US, South Korea, and the EU and ramped up domestic production, in apparent retaliation against US-imposed tariffs, in 2014. China is also one of the world’s biggest consumers of polysilicon, which meant it became less desirable for many companies outside China to compete because it was no longer cost-effective to export it there. In the years since, China’s polysilicon industry has thrived, not just in Xinjiang but in other regions such as the southwestern province of Sichuan.

“Most of the supply chain is concentrated in China, and most of the rest in southeast Asia is in plants owned by Chinese companies,” said Bernreuter. “There is no large alternative for the supply chain.”

But imports from Xinjiang have drawn the ire of lawmakers in the United States in recent months.

In the last Congress, representatives considered a bill that would have banned all goods from the region, a piece of legislation likely to be revived in the upcoming session. The House bill specifically targeted “poverty alleviation” programs that move Xinjiang’s Muslims to work in factories and on farms away from their hometowns.

“It’s almost impossible to confidently assess the labor conditions in Xinjiang.”

Since late 2016, the Chinese government has imposed a campaign that has included mass detention, digital surveillance, indoctrination, and forced labor on a population of about 13 million Muslim minorities in the far west region of Xinjiang, including ethnic Uighurs, Kazakhs, and others. Non-Chinese people visiting Xinjiang are often heavily monitored or escorted by police officers, so it is very difficult for companies to audit their supply chains for forced labor, experts say.

“It’s almost impossible to confidently assess the labor conditions in Xinjiang just because it’s almost impossible to get a competent assessor into the region. And then their ability to interview workers, especially Uighur workers, is limited because of the surveillance,” Amy Lehr, director of the human rights program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC, and the lead author of a report on forced labor in the region, told BuzzFeed News.

But US Customs and Border Protection already has the legal authority to ban imports from the region if it suspects forced labor has been used. The agency stopped a shipment of human hair from Xinjiang in July based on reports that the extensions were made using prison labor. In December, CBP seized shipments of cotton and computer parts from Xinjiang. This week, it banned imports of tomato and cotton products from the region over what it called “slave labor.”

“It’s quite possible solar companies could be scrutinized by CBP regarding Xinjiang-related forced labor risks in their supply chains even if there is no regional ban because this issue is getting more attention,” said Lehr.

The research group Horizon Advisory said in a report that polysilicon from Xinjiang frequently lands in the US.

“Those goods enter the United States from China both directly and via indirect trans-shipment and processing in several other countries, including Thailand, Malaysia, Korea, Singapore, and Vietnam,” the report says, concluding that “exposure to forced labor is pervasive” in the industry, including in “solar panels imported and installed in the United States.”

Forced labor is typically used for manufacturing jobs that don’t require specialized skills. Some of these types of tasks, like breaking apart tubes of the material, are used in the production of polysilicon.

If the US did ban polysilicon imports from China, industry experts say US-based companies would have enough capacity to make up for the shortfall, but would face higher costs and other problems in the supply chain.

For one thing, other parts used in solar panels are dominated by Chinese manufacturing as well. Once polysilicon is made, it’s sliced up into tiny nuggets called “wafers.” The overwhelming majority of wafer makers are located in China. And compared to other parts of China, it’s cheaper to manufacture polysilicon in Xinjiang, where companies can receive large subsidies from the government and the cost of electricity, provided by coal plants, and wages are typically lower than in wealthier parts of China.

REC Silicon, a Norwegian polysilicon maker whose manufacturing facilities are based in the US, invested more than a billion dollars in building a polysilicon factory in Washington state. After the Chinese tariffs on US goods hit, the company had to first slow production and then completely shut it down in 2019.

And the industry could face more domestic difficulties ahead. An executive with Hemlock Semiconductor Group, a US-based polysilicon maker, told investors on Oct. 22 that he was “fairly convinced” a US government investigation into the solar supply chain is coming.

BuzzFeed News; Google Earth

Satellite photos showing the construction sequence of Daqo’s polysilicon plant

Most of Xinjiang’s polysilicon is made by four Chinese companies, which are among the six biggest suppliers of the material in the world. One, the Daqo New Energy Corp, is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. With that comes transparency requirements that allow a better understanding of how it operates.

According to Chinese state media reports and the company’s website, it has close ties with a Chinese state-controlled paramilitary organization called the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC) — an organization so powerful that it administers cities in the region. Known best in Chinese simply as “the corps,” its activities have included helping Han Chinese migrants settle in Xinjiang and administering farms. The XPCC issued a policy document in 2013 setting solar energy as one of its “development goals.”

In July, the US government put the XPCC under sanctions, saying it had helped implement Beijing’s mass internment policy targeting Muslims. On Dec. 2, the US banned cotton imports produced by the XPCC, citing evidence it uses forced labor.

The XPCC could not be reached for comment.

In public filings made in October with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Daqo disclosed that it gained “additional advantages” in electricity costs because the XPCC operates the regional power grid. The local state newspaper reported that XPCC paid Daqo subsidies amounting to more than 489,447 yuan (approximately $75,000). The companies received millions more in subsidies from the government of Shihezi, a city in Xinjiang administered by the XPCC. In a Chinese language press release, Daqo’s Xinjiang subsidiary has also noted that it’s considered an “innovative enterprise pilot unit” of the XPCC.

Daqo’s polysilicon plant is located just over 7 miles north of Shihezi City. Construction started in spring 2011, when an area of farmland the size of 110 football fields was cleared to make way for the plant. By 2013, it was complete, with large industrial buildings covering the site, linked together by a network of elevated pipes. In 2014, the compound was extended by a further 3 million square feet, and over the following two years, new buildings continued to be added. The latest growth of the plant took place over the summer of 2019. Another 3 million square feet were added at the southwest end of the compound, and parts of the site that had previously sat unused were filled in with buildings. The plant now covers 12.2 million square feet, the equivalent of 215 football fields.

Daqo could not be reached for comment, but has previously said it does not use forced labor “under any circumstances whether in its own facilities or throughout its entire supply chain.”

In Xinjiang, programs euphemistically described as “poverty alleviation” have been linked to forced labor, according to research by CSIS and other organizations.

“It would be unsustainable to have an industry built on coal and slave labor.”

One of the other big polysilicon makers in Xinjiang, GCL-Poly Energy, said it works with “vocational schools” in Xinjiang in an annual report. The government has long referred to the internment camps in the region as vocational schools. Chinese language news articles also say GCL-Poly takes part in poverty alleviation programs.

GCL-Poly could not be reached for comment.

The industry has to make a choice, said Francine Sullivan, vice president for business development at REC Silicon, the Norwegian polysilicon maker.

“It would be unsustainable to have an industry built on coal and slave labor,” she said. “Most people in solar think it’ll be greenwashed away from us. We don’t have to deal with it because we’re solar.” ●

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Dining News

Women Say Sexual Abuse Is Rampant in Elite GuildSomm Program

In the wine world, perhaps no title is more coveted than that of master sommelier. But the New York Times has uncovered a pattern of harassment, sexual abuse, and rape perpetrated by master sommeliers and members of the title-granting organization, which has traumautized and made life near impossible for women who train for the title. Included in Julia Moskin’s Times report are accounts of women who were harassed so intensely that they stopped training entirely.

In the United States, the master somm title is awarded to those who endure years of study through GuildSomm, the educational branch of the Americas chapter of the Court of Master Sommeliers. According to the Times, the educational branch of the organization has seen a massive influx of students since 2012, following the Netflix release of Somm, a documentary that follows the grueling process of training for the test. While many of the 12,000 members of the GuildSomm community are young women, only 24 of the 155 people who have achieved master sommelier status since 1997 have been women.

One of the experts featured in that documentary is Geoff Kruth, one of the court’s leading educators. Kruth is also the founder and president of GuildSomm. In the Times reporting, 11 women recounted experiences of sexual misconduct by Kruth, who denied any wrongdoing. One woman, a Charleston, S.C sommelier named Ivy Anderson, recalls taking Kruth’s champagne class when she was 22. Soon after, seeing that she had bought a ticket to GuildSomm’s 2016 holiday party in New York, he invited her to dinner. According to the Times, he also “invited her, she said, to stay in a Manhattan hotel with him and other court members.” But when she arrived at the hotel, Anderson noticed there was only one bed in Kruth’s room. He told Anderson he and his wife had “an open relationship” and that “sex between master sommeliers and candidates was common.” Anderson, who knew no one in New York, and had nowhere else to stay, recalls feeling that she had no choice but to go along when he initiated sex.

Alleged accounts of Kruth and other powerful men sexually manipulating women in the training program and leveraging their power are numerous throughout the report. Jane Lopes, a 35-year-old wine importer in New York, told the Times that after a dinner in 2013, Kruth “suddenly slid his fingers inside her underpants and kissed her breast.” Rachel van Til, a wine director near Detroit, recalls being flattered when Kruth reached out online to offer to help with her work. After some proffesional back and forth messages between the two, Kruth “sent her a link to a graphic oral-sex guide, and asked which position was her favorite.” Til filed a formal complaint with the court’s board, and Kruth was barred from judging any of her future exams.

But herein lies one of the educational organization’s most deeply rooted failures: the secrecy surrounding the final test to become a master sommelier. “Grading of the final test is cloaked in secrecy,” writes Moskin, “determined by examiners drawn from the senior ranks of master sommeliers.” These are sometimes the very same sommeliers weaponizing their power to harass, abuse and rape female students and those adjacent to them in the industry. Many of the women interviewed by the Times say that they believed interacting with — and sometimes sleeping with — these men was the only way to advance in their field.

Alexandra Fox recalls receiving an unprompted message in 2011 from Matthew Citriglia, a board member on the court from 2005 to 2017. Fox shared with the Times that Citriglia told her in his message that he was coming to Tampa, Florida for “a group dinner for wine professionals.” Only, no one else showed up for the “group dinner” and Citriglia made a pass at Fox when dinner was over. According to the Times reporting:

Mr. Citriglia apologized repeatedly, Ms. Fox said, and she agreed to take a class he was teaching a few weeks later in Cleveland. One night, she slept with a fellow student; when Mr. Citriglia found out the next morning, he closed the classroom door in her face as the class watched. Months later, concerned that he might be an examiner on future exams, she reached out to clear the air; he never responded, she said. “I never did anything further toward certification,” said Ms. Fox, 51.

Reached for comment, Citrigilia told the Times that he did “not agree with the accusations.”

Women who are shut out of the upper echelon of the wine world aren’t only losing access to a respected title or a dream career; There’s the loss of income, too. Master sommeliers score all sorts of glitzy brand partnerships and consulting gigs, and command an average annual income of $164,000 and a median consulting rate of $1,000 per day, according to a 2017 internal survey of the organization.

The Times reporting implicated men at every level of the organization. More than a dozen women told the Times that in the presence of Fred Dame, the court’s co-founder and honorary “chair emeritus,” they were subjected to sexual innuendo and unwanted touching. Dame did not respond to the Times request for comment. Kate Ham, who worked at Verve in Manhattan in 2018, recalls a traumatizing experience with an unnamed master sommelier. After agreeing to have a cocktail with the master sommelier who she met at a company party, “[t]he next thing she said she remembers is waking up in a strange bed, fighting back as he raped her.” Ham is no longer training for the master sommelier title, and tells the Times that she has “no desire to be tested and judged by these people.”

In response to questions from the Times, the court said that it expects members to “uphold the highest standards of professional conduct and integrity at all times.” Just last month, the organization opened an anonymous hotline to report ethical violations. But considering the damage done by countless representatives of the court and master sommeliers across the country, and the careers that have already been bulldozed and gaslit, it seems like much too little, much too late.

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Speculation Runs Rampant That Donald Trump Had A Stroke

After it was reported that Trump secretly went to Walter Reed for a medical procedure, speculation is swirling that he had a stroke.

Please note, that none of these people are medical professionals who have examined Trump. The tweets below are all speculation:

Flimmaker Don Winslow said he has been told that Trump suffered a series of mini-strokes:

Here is Trump not being able to say suburbs in an interview that aired Wednesday night:

Donald Trump has struggled in recent months with speech, walking, and even drinking a glass of water. Trump nearly fell down trying to walk up a few steps to get on stage in New Hampshire last weekend. After the report that Trump’s secret visit to Walter Reed in November 2019 was for a procedure where he had to be put under, Trump may or may not have had a stroke, but one thing is certain.

The President is not well, and the White House is hiding his condition from the American people.

For more discussion about this story join our Rachel Maddow and MSNBC group.

Follow and Like PoliticusUSA on Facebook

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Breaking New

Sanders says ‘rampant’ sexism in US is a hurdle for women running for president

During an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union,” Sanders was asked if he thinks “sexism and other forms of bigotry remain hurdles for candidates appealing for not just the general electorate but for the Democratic votes.”

“The short answer is yes, I do,” Sanders replied. “I think women have obstacles placed in front of them that men do not have.”

Sanders also said that the country has made progress in the last half century in terms of more women in politics.

“On the other hand, we have made progress in the last 40, 50 years in terms of the number of women who are now in the Congress. You can remember it wasn’t so many years ago — few decades ago — that Barbara Mikulski of Maryland was the only woman in the United States Senate, and we have made some progress,” the Vermont senator said. “But the day has got to come sooner and later that women can see themselves equally represented in Congress — half or more members of Congress, president of the United States, leaders of companies all over this country.”

“We have got to get rid of all of the vestiges of sexism that exist in this country, which is still pretty rampant,” Sanders added.

The comments from Sanders come three days after Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who was once considered a front-runner in the race, dropped her bid for the party’s nomination following a disappointing finish in primary contests on Super Tuesday. Earlier that week, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota dropped out of the race as well.
Elizabeth Warren defines the gender trap

Their departures left just one woman — Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii — in a race that once saw six women vying for the nomination and raised questions about the challenges women face when they campaign for an office that has yet to be held by someone other than a man.

Earlier this year, author Marianne Williamson ended her bid, while Sens. Kamala Harris of California and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York dropped their campaigns in December and August, respectively.

Warren herself commented on the issue when she publicly dropped out on Thursday outside her home in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

“You know, that is the trap question for women,” she said after a reporter asked what role gender played in her campaign. “If you say, ‘Yeah — there was sexism in this race,’ everyone says, ‘Whiner.’ And if you say, ‘No, there was no sexism,’ about a bazillion women think, ‘What planet do you live on?'”

In January, after Sanders denied a report — and Warren’s confirmation of it — that he told her, in a private 2018 conversation about the upcoming presidential election, that he didn’t believe a woman could win, tensions between the two candidates boiled over in public.

Sanders, who is now locked in a tight race for the nomination with former Vice President Joe Biden, said Sunday that he would “love” to have support from Warren, who has not yet endorsed a candidate.

“Well, I’m not going to speculate. We would love to have Sen. Warren’s support and we would love to have the millions of people who supported Sen. Warren in her campaign on board,” he said.

Sanders faces an uphill battle to win Warren’s endorsement as their relationship has become complicated by the election, which pitted the two progressives against one another. After dropping out of the race, Warren deflected questions about her plans, but her public comments about Sanders and Biden Thursday night added to concerns among movement progressives that she could either endorse Biden or sit out of the contest.

CNN’s Maeve Reston, Gregory Krieg and Ryan Nobles contributed to this report.

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