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Apryl Williams: Not My Type – Automating Sexual Racism in Online Dating

March 7, 2024 @ 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm

Times are shown in Eastern Time

Room 2435, North Quad
105 State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104 United States
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Participants are invited to attend in-person in the North Quad Room 2435 or virtually. Advance registration is encouraged.

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Not My Type: Automating Sexual Racism in Online Dating


Apryl Williams

Apryl Williams, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor of Digital Studies and Communication at the University of Michigan and Faculty Associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.


In the world of online dating, race-based discrimination is not only tolerated, but encouraged as part of a pervasive belief that it is simply a neutral, personal choice about one’s romantic partner. Indeed, it is so much a part of our inherited wisdom about dating and romance that it actually directs the algorithmic infrastructures of most major online dating platforms, such that they openly reproduce racist and sexist hierarchies. In Not My Type: Automating Sexual Racism in Online Dating, Apryl Williams presents a socio-technical exploration of dating platforms’ algorithms, their lack of transparency, the legal and ethical discourse in these companies’ community guidelines, and accounts from individual users in order to argue that sexual racism is a central feature of today’s online dating culture. She discusses this reality in the context of facial recognition and sorting software as well as user experiences, drawing parallels to the long history of eugenics and banned interracial partnerships. Ultimately, Williams calls for, both a reconceptualization of the technology and policies that govern dating agencies, and also a reexamination of sociocultural beliefs about attraction, beauty, and desirability.

This DSI book talk is co-sponsored by ESC.

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