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In a survey published Tuesday by dating app Tinder, people who date online — and on Tinder specifically — say such services make them more open-minded about dating someone outside their own race or ethnicity. According to the survey of more than 4,000 people ages 24 to 45, carried out by marketing analytics firm Morar HPI, 72% of people who used dating apps thought Tinder was the most diverse app.(Tinder doesn’t ask users to specify their race when they sign up, so they have no way of knowing the actual racial breakdown of their user base.)The survey is part of a campaign by the company petitioning the Unicode Consortium to include interracial couple emojis.Yet, some interracial couples say that intermarrying, which in the past was often the cause of angry stares and sometimes worse, can still bring on unexpected and sometimes disturbing lessons in racial intolerance. Looking back at their time in Atlanta, however, the pair recalled how they sometimes drew stares in the airport, and how Mr. Higgs admits that sometimes, if they’re running an errand together, such as getting something notarized at a bank, he’ll wait outside, just to keep the tellers from asking suspicious questions because he’s black. Cannata feels badly when he does things like that, but Mr. Pitt, emboldened by his ridiculous comment, looked him square in the eye, she said, and told him, “I think what you meant to say was congratulations on your recent engagement.”While moments like this don’t often happen to them, the couple, now newly married, say that their mixed marriage has played a bigger role than they thought it would in deciding what kind of community they want to be a part of and where they want to raise children. Khurana, a 33-year-old corporate and securities lawyer, is the product of a biracial marriage himself (his father is Indian, his mother is half Filipino and half Chinese).Christine Cannata, a 61-year-old retiree, and her longtime African-American partner, Rico Higgs, 68, recently moved from Atlanta — where their relationship sometimes attracted unwanted attention — to Venice, Fla., a predominantly white city where they say neither one feels like anyone blinks at their relationship. They’re an older couple, they’re in love, and no matter who the crowd is, Mr. Higgs had been stopped by the police of that city for what Ms. One time, officers pulled them over three blocks from their house; they wanted to know what he was doing in the car and asked to see his identification.“When you love someone, it’s hard to watch them be treated differently,” Ms. Higgs says, “It always makes things go smoother.”Katy Pitt, a 31-year-old consultant in Chicago, recalled being at a party in the months after her engagement to Rajeev Khurana. And as of late, he’s feeling less certain that he wants to stay in Lincoln Park, the upscale Chicago neighborhood where they now reside. Pitt’s idea to start househunting in more diverse areas of the city.As I pushed him around the neighborhood, I thought of him as the perfect brown baby, soft-skinned and tulip-lipped, with a full head of black hair, even if it was the opposite of my blond waves and fair skin.“He’s adorable. ” a middle-aged white woman asked me outside Barnes & Noble on Broadway one day, mistaking me for a nanny.“I am his mother,” I told her.
Tinder doesn’t offer data about how often users actually swipe on people of a different race or ethnicity — but it’s been studied already.A 2017 study by Cornell University showed that dating apps like Tinder increase interracial marriage rates, as they expose users to people outside their traditional social circles.In 2015, 17% of new marriages in the US were between spouses of different races, and in a 2017 Pew poll, 91% of Americans said interracial marriage was good or neutral for society., which struck down all anti-miscegenation laws remaining in 16 states.
Interracial marriages have increased steadily since then.When Crystal Parham, an African-American lawyer living in Brooklyn, told her friends and family members she was dating Jeremy Coplan, 56, who immigrated to the United States from South Africa, they weren’t upset that he was white, they were troubled that he was from a country that had supported apartheid. Parham doubted she could date him, although he swore he and his family had been against apartheid. Coplan reassured her that he was unfazed; he was falling for her. “I had my own preconceived ideas.”Marrying someone so different from yourself can provide many teachable moments.