Birds of a feather, it seems, do flock together even when we enter the world of online dating. This is clear with Where White People Meet, a new dating site that is primarily marketed towards (obviously) white people.
Race and Dating Are a Big Issue
"I am sure some of you are wondering about the concept and need for a dating website titled Where White People Meet.Com," it’s founder, Sam Russell, said about his new product, "Our answer to that would be why not? There are various dating websites that promote and cater to just about every origin, race, religion and lifestyle out there. So again, why not Where White People Meet.Com?"
Mockery over Where White People Meet Billboard
Naturally the website turned into a target of mockery after the Salt Lake Tribune wrote about it. The story was also accompanied by a promotional billboard: one that portrayed a white couple embracing. Based in 88% white Utah, the company has received varied reactions: some of bewilderment, some simply amused. A debate about its offensiveness raged and on Tuesday the billboard came down.
According to data, it is indeed true that singles who use online dating sites tend to go for people who are the same race as themselves – and this is not just among white people. As a result, there is a wide variety of niche dating sites: for pet-lovers, farmers, Christians, democrats, divorcees, millionaires and more, including different ethnicities and races.
Marriage is where the trend can be seen to continue. 10% of heterosexual married couples in the States had partners who were a different ethnicity.
In spite of this, it is promising to see that numbers are rapidly changing. Interracial and interethnic heterosexual couples grew up to 28% in the space of a decade, with an increase from 7% in 2000 to 11% 2010.
This makes Where White People Meet a little confusing to psychologists and social scientists, as well as relationship experts. Since whites are the majority in the US, odds favor them above anyone else in most dating scenarios.
"It's redundant. The reason why we don't need Where White People Meet is the same reason we need (other race-based) dating websites," said Christelyn Karazin, founder of Beyond Black & White, a blog about interracial relationships aimed at black women.
Disadvantages for Minorities in Online Dating
According to the studies, African Americans find themselves at the bottom of the pile on major dating sites, in particular black women. Of course, a business opportunity has been seen by entrepreneurial matchmakers. One is 24-year-old Gianni Coleman who recently graduated from the University of Southern California. He founded Soul Swipe, a location-based dating app which is aimed at black singles.
Launching Soul Swipe in March under the tagline of “Black Dating, Done Right”, it operates in a similar manner to Tinder with swipe right-or-left functionality. However, it has more black people on it. Like Where White People Meet, the site states that anyone can join it but the typical users are black men and women, "looking for love or others with a desire to meet black singles."
"We recognized there needed to be a specialized service for this community," he said. "Data from our app and other dating sites show that African-American females are more active and feel more comfortable when dating within the African-American community."
Karazin, founder of Beyond Black & White, agrees that black women need a place where they know the odds are in their favor.
"They may not like you, but they like people like you," she said. "Everyone wants that, a place where you can find like-minded people."
The same could be said for white people. In the end, science says that most of our actions and interpersonal relationships are motivated by those same old biases that nearly everyone displays, whether they know it or not. As the tongue-in-cheek saying goes, "everyone's a little bit racist."
If white people really want their own dating site "let them have it," Karazin said. "It's not racist. It's just obnoxious."
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