Are Jews easier to get along with?
At the Jewish Women's Archive, it is part of my job to stay on top of the "twitterverse." I keep a running search of "tweets" that mention Jewish women, which helps me stay on top of the various conversations, as well as a few discriminatory remarks (anti-Semitism isn't dead!). And that is how I discovered this tweet: "When we claim Jewish women are easier to get along with than Christians, you don’t blame us, you blame Jesus. http://bit.ly/1RmiT" This quote has been tweeted and retweeted enough times to finally make me click on the shortened link to see what everyone was talking about.
The link took me to this post entitled, "How Races and Religions Match in Online Dating" on the OKCupid blog. OKCupid is a free dating website that uses a unique method to rate users' compatibility based on their own values and desires. And okay, yes, I have used it. The people at OKCupid analyzed some raw data from their users and ended up with some pretty interesting results. The beginning of the post discusses why the OKCupid "matching algorithm" is unique, which is important to understanding the signficance of the data as they explain in this disclaimer:
All OkCupid users create their own matching algorithms, so when we determine who matches who, we’re just crunching the numbers people give us. A match percentage between two people is a condensed, yet statistically valid, expression of how well they might get along. 75% is very high, 45% is very low, and 60.2% is the site-wide average. If, for example, a couple match each other 71%, it means they are likely to like each other, based on their own individual definitions of what makes a person cool, sexy, and attractive, not ours. I point this out now so that, below, when we claim that Jewish women are easier to get along with than Christians, you don’t blame us, you blame Jesus.
And lo and behold, the data does seem to suggest that Jews, or at least the ones using OKCupid, are easier to get along with than people of other religions -- meaning that they are both less discriminating in their preferences and more likeable to others. One interesting finding in the analysis is that Jewish men seem to be slightly easier to get along with than Jewish women. Green represents a higher compatibility rating, and red represents a lower one.
This type of data is really interesting to think about, and even moreso when you consider that its sources is a free online dating site. OKCupid also analyzed data on matches by race, which carries some serious implications regarding racism. The table of people's compatability by race is a mild collection of yellows, yet the table of people's choice to respond to messages of people of different races is a minefield of greens and reds.
But getting back to religion, why are Jews are easier to get along with? The author posits: "The data also cast an interesting light on the Jewish people’s history as a persecuted people: the underlying facts indicate an intrinsic mainstream likability, yet Jews have not been, and in some places still aren’t, 'liked.'" But neither our mainstream likeability nor our history of persecution explains why Jewish men seem to be easier to get along with than than Jewish women.
The data causing this gender discrepancy seems to be related to the relations between Jews and Muslims. While Muslim women are compatible with Jewish men (even moreso than with Muslim men), Jewish women are not compatible with Muslim men. I am curious to hear your thoughts on this data, but I worry that this last observation might tempt some to make careless generalizations about men and women based on their religion. Or, is that what OKCupid is doing in the first place?