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The influx of mobile dating apps with the "swipe" functionality has made the process of selecting potential romantic partners a lot more shallow. While sites like Match and eHarmony require users to build extensive profiles detailing their interests and personality traits, apps like Grindr, Tinder and Bumble rely on selfies as the determining factor in a user's decision to swipe right yay! As a result, users are often more blunt about their physical preferencesincluding race and ethnicity, right in their bios or their DMs.

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And although you may feel compelled to say, "But being good at sex or being an agreeable partner are positive things," remember that inferences made based on race are rooted in racism, even if the conclusion feels positive. But when non-white people already make up such a small percentage of users on mainstream dating apps, one has to question why allowing for the ability to filter them out of the dating pool feels like a necessary move.

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As much as all of us like to think of ourselves as equal opportunity daters, the truth is many of us hold a racial bias as a result of the culture in which we were raised. While it might be more comfortable to focus on examining and dismantling large, structural examples of systemic racism, it's equally important to look at the ways it manifests in our day-to-day lives. And they would be correct, we all have individual agency. ly she worked at Ms. You can follow her on Twitter at anitaism.

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It's easier for someone to say they have a preference than admit that living in a racist society has informed their worldview. Benevolent racism is still racism, folks. If you're dating, sexual racism is unavoidable, so much so that you can see evidence of it in modern dating statistics.

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Recognizing that your dating choices may be influenced by racial bias can be an uncomfortable thing to do. Racism is in the air we breathe, and it snakes into every interaction we have, even down to the most mundane, like swiping on Hinge during quarantine boredom. Decolonizing our romantic and physical attraction is hard work, but it is necessary because none of us operate in a vacuum.

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Sexual racism can also be seen in the adult entertainment many of us consume in our private lives which no doubt, if left unexamined, sublimates into our romantic lives. Anita Little is a journalist based in Los Angeles. She's currently a features editor at Playboy where she covers gender and sexuality.

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Right now, many white Americans are being forced to reckon with the ways implicit racial bias influences many of their decisions, and the dating world isn't exempt from this. Virginia—when an interracial couple, Mildred and Richard Loving, appealed the year-long prison sentence they were given for marrying—that interracial marriages even became legal. Racist tropes abound in porn, with blackness often being dehumanized or siloed into harmful depictions.

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In addition to discounting potential romantic partners due to their race, the inverse—dating someone solely because of their race, also known as fetishization—carries its own set of racist implications too. All were equally demeaning to me.

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Virginia, as recently as interracial couples only made up ten percent of married couples in the United States. The roots of sexual racism can be seen throughout history, with anti-miscegenation laws enforcing segregation even at the level of marriage and sex. With the increased attention the Black Lives Matter movement has been receiving after the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless others, companies and individuals are being forced to reexamine how they navigate race in a sociohistorical context that has always privileged whiteness.

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