'Where White People Meet' Founders Defend Dating Site...
Niche dating websites, such as ChristianMingle.com, OurTime.com and BlackPeopleMeet.com, are helping users weed out their dating pools, but there is a new site that has many questioning how far preference can go until they are considered offensive.
Sam and Jodie Russell are the masterminds behind the two-month-old dating website, WhereWhitePeopleMeet.com. They launched their business with a giant billboard in their hometown of Salt Lake City, Utah -- a region where the population is more than 90 percent white.
"We are not racist at all, without question," Sam Russell said. "Our lifestyle shows it. The things we do. The people we associate with. The way we conduct ourselves each and every day proves it."
The billboard caused such offense that the city made them take it down. Sam Russell said they knew their site was controversial and they expected backlash from it. In fact, they are hoping to turn that public outrage into profit.
The site has been the butt of many jokes from the late night talk show hosts but it also encapsulated the controversy surrounding race and online dating. But Russell said users on their site are not required to check a white racial preference nor are they kicked off for not being white, even though the name would suggest otherwise.
The dating industry is a $2 billion a year industry, according to research company IBISWorld, and about 40 million American visit dating sites every year, according to Match.com. But nowadays, sites are going the extra mile, allowing users to filter date options according to religion, height, body size and race.
But some online daters now say that when it comes to the game of online dating, being successful at finding a match may all come down to the color of your skin. The dating giant OKCupid says its latest trend numbers indicate that daters are less likely to contact black women and also more likely to pass on Asian, black and Latino men.
Paul Brunson, who has been a matchmaker for seven years and runs his own agency, said in his experience, "I can tell you without a doubt that race is the number one characteristic that people are looking for or should I say that there are weeding out."
Russell said the idea came to him while watching ads for niche sites such as BlackPeopleMeet.com.
"I turned to Jodie and said 'why don't we do one for WhereWhitePeopleMeet.com,'" he said. "We kind of laughed for a bit and said, 'oh my gosh, they would crucify us' and I said, 'no really, why not?'"
While people might assume they are trying to be hurtful, Jodie Russell said that's not the case at all.