Today’s Non-News: Man Won’t Date Black Women

A story about a Texas man's tacky expression of his preferences for marriage is a reminder, not a scandal. 

Larry Busby and Halle Berry (YouTube)
Larry Busby and Halle Berry (YouTube)

And also pretty common.

Dating — especially online dating — is fascinating in that it’s one of the last bastions of explicitly stated racial preferences. Whether by checking a box for ethnic preference, composing a Craigslist personals sentence doing the same or simply failing to respond to those who don’t have quite the right look (ahem, skin color), many who might claim not to see color among friends, colleagues or politicians don’t even pretend for a second when it comes to the search for love.

A 2009 study suggested that even when people don’t come out and say, “No black women” (OkCupid, the dating site that conducted the study, doesn’t allow users to check off explicit racial preferences), they act on it. The evidence: Black women sent the most messages but got the fewest replies.

So today’s story is another sad reminder about who gets the short end of the stick when people take to the Internet to look for love. But it’s just that. A reminder, not a scandal. It’s not even really an exposé of a uniquely bigoted individual. If anything, it’s just a portrait of someone who lacks compassion and fails to filter his biases.

It doesn’t make any more sense to be upset about this guy’s tacky list of requirements than it would to celebrate that this week’s other white male Internet anti-hero — Mr. “Babes, you’re 299 sandwiches away from a proposal” — was open to making a black woman his life partner and personal chef. (Nor does either man appear to represent a huge loss to women who aren’t in the running to marry them, but that’s another story.) Both are reminders that when it comes to a certain brand of Internet-fueled outrage, the best reaction is probably just to refocus, if you’re so inclined, on the underlying social realities that seem to be revealed.

And then be thankful that you can shut out the actors and their cringe-worthy discussion of life choices with a click of your mouse. 

Jenée Desmond-Harris is The Root’s staff writer and White House correspondent. Follow her on Twitter.