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“No Foods Are Distinct for White People, Unless You Count Diet Coke” [OkCupid]

OkCupid‘s research blog is back with another fascinating round of data-mining: This time, they cover the potentially thorny territory of preferences by race in a post daringly titled “The REAL ‘Stuff White People Like.’”

OkCupid’s Christian Rudder (not to be confused with Stuff White People Like‘s Christian Lander), writes:

We selected 526,000 OkCupid users at random and divided them into groups by their (self-stated) race. We then took all these people’s profile essays (280 million words in total!) and isolated the words and phrases that made each racial group’s essays statistically distinct from the others’.

For instance, it turns out that all kinds of people list sushi as one of their favorite foods. But Asians are the only group who also list sashimi; it’s a racial outlier. Similarly, as we shall see, black people are 20 times more likely than everyone else to mention soul food, whereas no foods are distinct for white people, unless you count diet coke.

Rudder takes pains to mention that “the information in this article is not our opinion. It’s data, aggregated from the essays of half a million real people.” It’s a provocative, worthwhile read, and it’s likely to stir up as much discussion as past OkCupid trend analyses, if not more, given the subject matter.


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