Similarly, online dating was heralded as a way to democratize courtship, but a new book co-authored by University of Massachusetts Amherst sociologist Jennifer Lundquist illustrates how it actually exacerbates racial divisions. They argue that the anonymity built into the design of online dating — perusing, ignoring, messaging, responding — requires constant categorization of large populations of people based on markers like skin color, eye shape and hair texture that are tied to social categories of ascribed difference, such as race. This is what we refer to as digital-sexual racism, a distinct form of new racism which is mediated and amplified through the impersonal and anonymous context of online dating. These racial categories, they say, are the most important predictors of how White daters select whom to date.
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