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They smoked weed in their parents’ houses with abandon. If they wanted me, I thought, it was because I seemed free like them. Since college I’ve had five boyfriends, and all of them have been white. They’re no longer the object of my affection, a mirror for my self-worth, or an affirmation of my beauty. The night Trump was elected, I wrote about feeling lonely.I wanted to be comforted — but I wanted it to be by someone who had an inkling of the anxiety I felt for my family, my loved ones, and for myself.
And on those rare occasions a white boy kissed me in the copy-machine room at our high school, or when a white boy told me over the phone he had a crush on me, the acknowledgement made me feel chosen. The white boys I grew up with were cool: They rode their skateboards on private property. White men have preoccupied me my whole life, from the schoolyard to the subway, but these days I’m seeing them differently.
While an early version has been online since August, the site officially launched last weekend when Russell unveiled an immediately divisive billboard southwest of Salt Lake City.
Although that billboard depicts a smiling white couple, Russell insists that anyone over 18 may join, regardless of race or ethnicity.
Data from Ok Cupid, the most transparent of the mainstream dating sites, has repeatedly shown a sitewide bias against people of colour.
(“Every kind of way you can measure their success on a site — how people rate them, how often they reply to their messages, how many messages they get — that’s all reduced,” the site’s data scientist once told NPR.) Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has also found that “racial segregation in romantic networks” is not only “robust,” but “ubiquitous.” I ask Russell if he’s at all aware or concerned that white people already had the upper hand in online dating.