This brings us to the second issue: mating decisions are often complex.
There are dozens of potential variables that people assess when choosing a mate—such as how much money they have, how much they weigh, how tall they are, their age, their relatedness to us, etc.—and the importance of these qualities also varies somewhat depending on the nature of the relationship (whether it is more short- or long-term, for instance).
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.
Preferences can be funny things, or at least our judgments of them.
If I were to state that, “I have no interest in hiring a black person to do this job”, I would receive more than a little condemnation for that view.
The important point here is that Let’s say, for instance, that men tend to prefer women shorter than themselves as dating partners (the reasons for this preference or it’s actual existence need not necessarily concern us).
If that were the case, provided there are any average differences in height among the races, we would still see different response rates to and from each racial group, even though no one was selecting on the basis of race.
Now tone doesn’t come across well through text-based communications at time, but neither “fetishize” nor “devalue” sound as if they have a particularly positive connotation to me.
As one of my colleagues recently posed the question, “” The issue of discrimination is one I’ve discussed before, considering why discrimination on the basis of standardized test scores is deemed to be appropriate, whereas discrimination of the basis of obesity is often not.
So let’s turn our attention towards discrimination in the sexual realm today.
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.