News article

Date: 13. January 2016

Matters of Race:
Race is Still an Issue in Online Dating

The world of online dating still shows large racial prejudices towards certain groups. This debate has flared up due to the advent of Where White People, a new online dating site which targets (of course) white people.

 "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?"

Where White People Meet Billboard Ad

After Where White People Meet was written about in the Salt Lake Tribune, the dating site become a target of mockery. Along with the story was a picture of the advertising billboard: a white couple embracing. The site is based out of the US state of Utah, which has an 88% white population. Various reactions have been thrown at the company: some people were bewildered, others a littele amused. Many were offended and on Tuesday, the billboard came down.

Data from the United States does indeed show that many singles have a preference for their own race, and this is not just true of white people. This can be seen in the wide number of niche dating sites that are out there: sites for Christian, Muslims, disabled people, sugar daddies and more. 

The trend can be seen to continue in marriage as well, wih 10% of US married couples having a partner of a different race or ethnicity.

There are, of course, numbers which are changing quite fast. Interethnic and interracial heterosexual couples reach 28% within the last ten years.

"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

Studies show that African Americans in the States are often at the end of pecking order when it comes to major dating sites. In particular, black women suffer the most. A business opportunity, however, has been sussed out by a number of enterprising matchmakers. 24-year-old Gianni Coleman, a graduate of the University of Southern California, created the location-based Soul Swipe dating app for 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."