Different races have different experiences when it comes to dating. And when it comes to America, one of the most complicated set of experiences are those of black people, specifically black singles who attempt to wade through the waters of the information super highway to find love online. While looking for the someone who could be your one and only over the internet is not a uniquely black experience, there are certain parts of the experience that black people face disproportionately compared with people of other races. This is why black dating sites exist.
What Black Dating Sites Have to Offer
Black dating sites cater exclusively to black people looking to meet other black people. These websites do not allow people of other races from joining, so the only people there are black people looking to meet other black people. These should not be confused with dating sites that are racially specific but do not necessarily exclusively cater to black people, like those that offer to connect black men with Asian women or those that simply exclude Caucasians.
The first question we need to answer is why black dating sites even have to exist in the first place. Why can’t black singles simply join other dating sites that don’t exclude other races? The first thing we have to understand is that there are certain parts of the black experience that make dating someone from the same race as an attractive option.
For one, there is the cultural element. Black people in America have a culture that differs from that of white people, as well as those of other races. While it would be dangerous to essentialize what black people are and how they were raised, it cannot be denied that black people usually have a rather different family history compared with other racial groups in America. Native Americans have been in America even before it was considered discovered by the rest of the world. Caucasians first came as a colonial power, with more added later on because of immigration from countries like Ireland and Italy. Mostly all the other races arrived as a result of immigration, usually voluntary, wherein people came to America to search for a future they could not find in their home country. On the other hand, the ancestors of black people in America were, for the most part, slaves, who came to America against their will.
This complicated and unique history manifests in African-American culture to this day. For instance, the family narratives that black families pass down through generations sound a little different compared with those of other races, as they involve old practices like slavery and segregation. For a black single, the idea that the person they are dating enters their life without knowing how to navigate their family, especially given the cultural context, can be rather daunting. There are also a few seemingly superficial things that are different for black people that can become major annoyances when belittled by the person they are dating. These can include anything from body image to food.
There are also political struggles that the black community experiences that are unique to them. It is a rather long list that includes a higher incarceration rate and a lot of police shootings. A black single would probably want to be with someone who understands the political situation they are going through, as this affects how they live their lives.
Black dating sites are a great way to stay away from the problems of dating someone who does not understand what it means to be black, something only black people can really fully understand. This means that if you offer a black person access to free black dating sites, they would probably accept the offer because it means they get to interact with a romantic partner who could understand where they are coming from, instead of having to spell it out, like they would have to do for a person of a different race. While black dating sites do not necessarily explicitly say that they want to exclude other races in favor of a more black experience, they depict black people living harmoniously together, and the underlying message there is that black people are happy with other black people.
These black dating sites basically work like any other dating site, save that they are exclusively for people who identify as black. This means that they still work in a similar way using profiles filled with the usual information, along with one or more pictures. People then either look for matches or matches are suggested to them by the website. At which point, it is up to the people to communicate with their matches. So aside from the fact that only black people are allowed on these sites, there is not a lot that is different.
The Struggle of Black Singles
In order to further understand the crucial role black dating sites play, it is also important to understand the unique problems faced by black singles, particularly those who try their luck with mixed race online dating. The basic thing that needs to be made clear is that black singles have had a much harder time with online dating compared with most other races. Like other minorities in America, black people face the fact that a lot of people who do not belong to their race only ever see them as black without looking deeper into them as a person.
Rejection and Exoticization
When a human being is reduced to their race, no good can come of it. This is because they will be approached and rejected by potential partners solely on the basis of their race and not who they are as a person. Oftentimes this means that the profile of black singles are rejected altogether. Prospective mates decide to reject black profiles upon discovering they are black, instead of getting to know as much about the person before making an informed decision. The opposite is just as harmful. Sometimes, black singles are exoticized, with potential mates selecting them solely based on their race. This means that, in an open race dating site, black singles are always at a danger of not being seen as a person but as a skin tone.
Black Women in Particular
The problems are even worse for black women dating. Data from open race dating sites show that the least desirable singles are black women and Asian men. When it comes to black women, they seem to be getting little attention, even from black men, who seem to prefer meeting women from other races when they engage in online dating. It has also been found that when they are contacted, black women dating get a lot of unwanted sexual advances from men of other races who specifically mention that they want to have sex with someone who is black. This can make it quite uncomfortable for black women to find dates in open race dating sites.
This is why more and more women are opting for black dating sites. Some even go beyond the free black dating sites and opt to invest their money in the hopes that they can attract a black man who is interested in finding black women online.
What these sites do is to simply neutralize the factor of race. In an ideal world, everyone would be dating each other regardless of their race. However, the reality is that a lot of people in America have preferences towards certain races and even apprehensions against other races. Black singles use black dating sites as a way to make sure that they find someone who sees them as a person, not just as a race. Maybe in the future, this will no longer be necessary. But for now, black dating sites are a breath of fresh air for black singles.