This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Worst Cities for Particulate Pollution:
A West Valley City billboard for a Utah-based dating site now advertises matchmaking services specifically for white people.
WhereWhitePeopleMeet.com was up and running with 35 members as of press time Thursday. A billboard near 5600 West and 2100 South features an image of a white couple embracing and smiling.
The website, whose business address is listed as a P.O. box in North Salt Lake, states:
"I am sure some of you are wondering about the concept and need for a dating website titled 'Where White People Meet.Com.' 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'?"
A phone call from The Tribune to the website's phone number part of which spells the word "white" on a phone keypad was not answered.
The website claims anyone 18 or older may join for a $4 fee. A search field to browse members defaults to heterosexual pairings; a person who searches as a woman can view only male members, and a person who searches as a man can view only women.
While same-sex connections are prevented on the website, extramarital connections apparently are not. One member, whose profile picture was a person in blackface and whose username referred to a sex act, was identified as "married." His profile was removed Thursday evening. None of the website's material addresses its positions on polyamory or polygamy.
The number of members doubled from five in less than an hour Thursday afternoon as word of the billboard spread around social media.
It is unclear when the website was launched. Most members appear to have joined within the past two days. The website includes a blog, the first post of which is dated June 20, 2013, and titled "Safe Dating Tips." However, no further activity appears until a "Welcome" post Aug. 7, which appears with an image of the Statue of Liberty. An associated Twitter account, "Meet White People," tweeted that the launch date previously was scheduled for Sept. 23.
A blog post titled "Beginnings" states:
"As you navigate the website and begin to interact with other members, please remember the golden rule of 'treat others as you want to be treated.' The staff here at Where White People Meet will not tolerate rude, aggressive or racist behavior. The last thing we want it to have to remove a member of this community but please know that we will."
While reactions Thursday on social media ranged from defensive of the website to outraged by it, NAACP Salt Lake branch President Jeanetta Williams said she merely found it "odd."
"I just thought it was kind of strange they would put it in Utah," she said. "A large population here is white. So you're going to put up billboards here so you can meet other white singles? Every day you can meet white singles.
"Billboards are expensive," she added.
Apart from being perplexed by the need for a service to meet white people in a state that according to 2014 census estimates is more than 91 percent white, Williams said she didn't find the website or billboard to be hostile to people of color.
"If it were some type of a hate group that was putting these billboards up, we would take a closer look at the actual target," she said. "But here we're seeing other advertisements for [dating services for] black singles, for LDS singles."
Most of those listed as members of Where White People Meet claim to live in Utah, in cities from St. George to Layton.
One identifies himself as "Lemuel Lamanite," in reference to one of two brothers described in Mormon texts as the ancestors of modern American Indians. The photo on the account for Lemuel, who claims to be a 31-year-old divorced man from Rose Park, appears to be of a man with dark skin.
There is only one user group, called "Hunting"; it has one member. A blog post titled "Ready, Fire, Aim" identifies the site's management as enthusiastic about hunting.
"We encourage you to take your time, be ready, make sure that the person you're going to meet is the one you are aiming for, then pull the trigger and go meet them," the post states.
In responding to comments on Twitter, the website's representatives tweeted: "Our intentions in creating this dating website were never meant to be racist or biased in any way. ... We created our site as an alternative to other websites that cater to any race, creed, or religion. Such as [BlackPeopleMeet.com]."
The couple pictured on the billboard and on the website appears in numerous photos on Shutterstock.com; images of them are among the first results for the search term "white people."