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DSI Book Talk | "Not My Type: Automating Sexual Racism in Online Dating"

with Apryl Williams, Ph.D.
Thursday, March 7, 2024
2:30-4:00 PM
Room 2435 North Quad Map
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.

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. She is the author of Not My Type: Automating Sexual Racism in Online Dating, which has been featured on and Mozilla Explains. Her research has appeared in The New York Times, Vogue, Wired, Buzzfeed News, and Time Magazine, among others. Her work has been supported by grants and fellowships from Google, the Mozilla Foundation, the Notre Dame IBM Technology Ethics Lab, the National Center for Institutional Diversity, and the Berkman Klein Center at Harvard University.

Please join us for this very special book talk, hosted by the DSI's very own Professor Apryl Williams! This will be a hybrid event, with both in-person and virtual registration options available.

Register here for in-person attendance:

Register here for virtual attendance:

CART will be provided. If you anticipate needing accommodations to participate, please email Eric Mancini at Please note that some accommodations must be arranged in advance and we encourage you to contact us as soon as possible.

We would like to thank the following Department Co-Sponsors:
Department of Communication and Media
Department of Afroamerican and African Studies
Sociology's Gender and Sexuality Workshop
Department of Film, Television, and Media
Center for Ethics, Society, and Computing
Department of American Culture
Department of Women's and Gender Studies
Building: North Quad
Event Type: Lecture / Discussion
Tags: american culture, Communication, Communication And Media, Communication Studies, Digital, Digital Culture, Digital Cultures, digital humanities, Digital Media, Digital Studies, Digital Studies Institute, digital technology, Information and Technology, Race, Racism, Sociology, Technology, Undergraduate
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Digital Studies Institute, Department of Afroamerican and African Studies, Department of Film, Television, and Media, Women's and Gender Studies Department, Department of American Culture, Department of Sociology, Communication and Media