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Gendered Black Exclusion: The Persistence of Racial Stereotypes Among Daters

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Abstract

Employing questionnaires of 381 college students, this study examines the reasons why Latinos, Asians, and whites choose to include or exclude blacks as potential dates. First, we find that past structural explanations for low rates of interracial intimacy explain current disparities less among young people today. Only 10 % of respondents cited a structural explanation, lack of familiarity, or contact, as the reason they excluded blacks as possible dates. Second, the reasons for black exclusion vary across racial–ethnic–gender groups. Among non-blacks, whites were the most open to dating blacks, followed by Latinos and Asians. Asians and Latinos were more likely to exclude blacks because of social disapproval, and whites were more likely to exclude blacks because of physical attraction. Black women were more highly excluded than black men and more excluded because of their perceived aggressive personalities or behavior and physical attraction. Black men were more excluded because of social disapproval. Thus, persistent racial ideology continues to drive the social distance between blacks and non-blacks, particularly toward black females.

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Notes

  1. There are some limitations to using data collected off of the Internet to examine racial/ethnic preferences in dating. The first concern is that the selection of people who choose to date on the Internet is not a random sample of the population. Therefore, results may not be generalizable to the population as a whole. However, Feliciano et al. (2009) find their results with respect to gendered racial exclusion among daters, to mirror the patterns of exclusion among interracial married and cohabitating couples in the USA (compared to American Community Survey (CPS) 2005 results). As Robnett and Feliciano (2011) note, although Internet users tend to be better educated than the general population, the sample selections in these studies did not appear to bias the results with respect to racial exclusion. Instead, the rates of exclusion may be underestimated because higher-educated respondents might be more open to interracial relationships.

  2. The substantive findings do not change when we analyzed the responses of only those who excluded blacks entirely and their reasons for excluding them.

  3. 22 % of respondents provided more than one reason for excluding or ranking blacks less preferred.

  4. Simple bivariate significance tests are reported, despite technical problems with sampling and sample size, to provide a concrete perspective on size of effects and likely reproducibility and reliability of findings.

  5. This could be the result of our sample of college students who are arguably less likely to view other college students as on welfare or irresponsible toward their families.

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Bany, J.A., Robnett, B. & Feliciano, C. Gendered Black Exclusion: The Persistence of Racial Stereotypes Among Daters. Race Soc Probl 6, 201–213 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12552-014-9122-5

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