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Is the 'Coffee Meets Bagel' Dating App Racist?

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There are a lot of dating apps out there and they've been around for varying periods of time, but some of them have more issues than others and I'm not talking about catfishing. 'Coffee Meets Bagel' is a dating app that started as a website created by the Kang sisters in 2012. The way the app works is that rather than swiping through various different choices you get sent a "bagel" each day at noon and then you have 24 hours to like them. If you both like each other then you have 7 days to privately message each other and arrange a date. The idea is the more you can get to know someone, the more likely you are to find a lasting relationship.Your bagels are chosen from the information you provide them with and through your Facebook.

So what exactly is the problem because so far, it sounds pretty great.

The problem only occurs when you select that you have no preference for any ethnicity.

Generally if you don't have a preference it means that you don't care whether they're white, Asian, Hispanic or whatever. You're willing to look through everyone but the app doesn't get that and the website didn't either. There's not much around online about this and that's surprising considering how big of an issue this actually is. What you can find suggests that when someone selected no preference, they were then inundated with people who looked to be their own ethnicity or religion. Now this in itself isn't a problem, if you're going to discriminate against one religion or ethnicity then maybe you're the one with the problem but it does limit people's choices. The problem is that the app seems to assume that a lack of preference means they're secretly racist and do have a preference to people like themselves. The worst thing is that you might not notice or even mind at first but after a couple of weeks of using the app, you're going to likely to be looking for some variety that's something you're just not going to get.

Apparently the app isn't meant to be racist though. When you select no preference this apparently does not provide the computers with enough information about you so they purely give you people they consider to be like you until they get more information. Right. I'm not sure that's the message anyone is getting from this. If the racial preference has been an issue since the website's conception then they should have done something about it by now. You need to connect the app to your Facebook so why not take similar interests into account? Or add more questions that people need to answer when signing up so the computers can have this extra information it supposedly needs to make better matches. The app is supposed to find you matches through your friends but unless your friendship group is racially exclusive then I'm thinking that might not be so true after all.

So is 'Coffee Meets Bagel' itself racist? At least a little, yes, even if it isn't meant to be, they can't help it when their data suggests that most people would rather date people of their own ethnicity. But let's face it, it's 2016 and there are more mixed couples then ever, which means when people select they don't have a preference, they should be allowed to see diverse possibilities and this company needs to change their strategy to allow that.



Rosina is a Songbird rookie with a degree in Creative Writing. She's trying to focus on her novel on the side but is hoping that Content Writing will turn out to be a good career choice in the mean time! Follow her @RosinaAtSMF


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Is the 'Coffee Meets Bagel' Dating App Racist? Reviewed by Rosina Brooker on Thursday, January 21, 2016 Rating: 5

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