Online Media Clearinghouse Sucks the Big Cheese on Race and Culture!

By now, we’ve all heard about the P-ew Study that said twenty-two percent of black men marry interracially, while only nine percent of black women jump the broom with rainbow man (up from 3 percent). But if we take People Media‘s word for it, a provider of online dating communities like BlackPeopleMeet.com and SingleParentMeet.com, people aren’t really doing what they’re… doing.


According to a survey conducted earlier this month by the research firm, Synovate on People Media’s behalf, 1,000 Americans having a similar cultural background (30 percent of respondents) and a sense of humor (45 percent)–are the most valued in a mate.

“Having a similar background–be it religion, race, ethnicity or lifestyle…helps create an ’emotional shorthand that is beneficial to relationships,” says Dr. Terri Orbuch, a psychologist and spokes-hole on behalf of the company.

You know what’s funny (not like funny, ‘ha ha’, but funny like smelly fish) about how People Media interpreted their survey? It’s awfully presumptive. The press release boldly says, “The importance of finding someone with a similar cultural background provides an interesting counterpoint to the [Pew study].”

Yeah, it befuddled me too.

Why is it a “counterpoint?” The fact that people connect because of a similar life experiences IS the point! People are dating interracially more than ever because culture, education, career choice and religion does not equal RACE! (sorry to yell).

People Media equates race and culture with a broad stroke and completely misses the nuances of dating and mating. Further, and perhaps most insulting, is that this company assumed their survey respondents used the word, “culture” as code for “race.”

To extrapolate this presumption, this survey infers that every black person, white person, and Indian chief shares the same culture. But, as WE ALL KNOW, black people don’t share a monolithic culture, and many across the diaspora find love with other races because they, for a variety of reasons, find much more in common with people of a different race.

Take me for instance. My husband and I have similar cultural background. But…surprise! I’m black and he’s…well…not black.

For a company who makes it’s money serving as a virtual single’s bar, I can’t POSSIBLY see how this is good for business. Why bother getting to know somebody based on their personality, intelligence and general hotness? You, People Media PR machine, are essentially discouraging interracial love with a false correlation and general lack of a good relationship with a dictionary.

Culture |ˈkÉ™l ch É™r|: The customs, arts, social institutions, and achievements of a particular nation, people, or other social group. Where’s “race” in that definition? Is it hiding somewhere?

That’s why I’m becoming increasingly skeptical of black women using dating sites to find love. With all their pseudo-scientific filters for preferences that don’t necessarily allow people to find each other by the natural evolution of the dating game seems counterintuitive in finding a soulmate.

To be honest, My husband never set out to find and marry a black woman. It just happened. Naturally. Had we gone through a dating site, we most definitely would have missed each other, and a happy marriage and three more kids would have faded like the photo Michael J. Fox held in Back to the Future.

Not saying we should dump the e-baby with the bathwater, but perhaps the mate-search should be more comprehensive. Old fashioned matchmakers are making a comeback. Or add to your dating toolbox, Meetup.com, a site aimed to connect you with, you know, actual folks in REAL LIFE who share similar interests, like yoga, hiking, meditation, books, and even booze (I’m gonna put a caution on that last option, though).

Here’s a copy of the original release:

For Immediate Release

In the Face of Rising Intermarriage Numbers,

Humor and Similar Cultural Background Remain Key

To American Relationships, People Media Study Finds

Americans Rank Shared Values Like Sense of Humor and Similar Cultural Background

Over Appearance, Education and Financial Status

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (August 24, 2010) – While more Americans are marrying across racial and ethnic lines as reported in a recent Pew Research Center study, a new survey finds that a sense of humor and a similar cultural background are the characteristics people value most when looking for a soul mate.

According to a survey of 1,000 Americans conducted for People Media, Inc. (www.peoplemedia.com), the No. 1 provider of targeted online dating communities, fully three-quarters of the population believe a sense humor or a common cultural background are paramount for relationship success. These factors dwarf the more external aspects of a potential mate such as appearance, educational level and financial state.

The survey asked: “In addition to chemistry, which one of the following do you believe is the single most important factor when choosing a relationship partner?”

  • 45 percent — Sense of humor
  • 30 percent — Similar cultural background
  • 10 percent — Appearance
  • 7.3 percent — Educational level
  • 6.8 percent — Financial state

“Similar attitudes and values between partners are critical to the longevity of relationships,” said Dr. Terri Orbuch, a psychologist and research professor at the University of Michigan known as The Love Doctor, who also is a relationship expert for People Media’s SeniorPeopleMeet.com. “Having a similar background – be it religion, race, ethnicity or lifestyle – acts as a frame of reference that both partners share. These shared perspectives enhance communication and one’s ability to be, and feel, understood. This helps create a sort of ‘emotional shorthand’ that is beneficial to healthy relationships.”

The importance of finding someone with a similar cultural background provides an interesting counterpoint to a recent Pew Research Center study showing that the percentage of interracial and interethnic marriages more than doubled between 1980 and 2008 and occurred at six times the rate of 1960. However, with one in seven new marriages considered interethnic or interracial, intermarriages comprise just 14.6 percent of all new marriages in the U.S.

The survey results also help explain the dramatic growth of targeted online dating sites. People Media, an innovator in the online personals space since 2002, operates 27 targeted sites including SeniorPeopleMeet.com, which draws more than 2 million unique visitors a month and is the largest dating site catering to single seniors. People Media’s BlackPeopleMeet.com is the web’s leading online dating destination for Black singles, with more than one million unique visitors each month.

“It’s not surprising to us that Americans ranked a sense of humor and a similar cultural background as most important when choosing a relationship partner,” said Josh Meyers, CEO of People Media. “The growth of targeted online dating sites like ours is due to the success people have when they are able to find others who share their perspective and values.”

Dissecting the Data

The survey results were consistent with regard to the gender, marital status, education and employment status of the respondents. There were, however, some exceptions:

  • The results were somewhat different when considered by race: 49% of white respondents selected “sense of humor” as their top choice (compared with 31% of non-whites) while 31% of whites, compared with 27% of non-whites, chose “similar cultural background.” “Appearance” was the most important factor for 17% of non-whites, compared with 9% of whites; 13% of non-whites chose “financial state” vs. 5% of whites; and 13% of non-whites selected “educational level,” compared with 6% of whites.
  • The results were consistent with regard to age for respondents in the 18-24, 25-34, 35-44 and 45-54 categories. They differed slightly, however, in the 55-64 and 65-plus categories. Fully 47% of those 65 and older chose “similar cultural background” as their No. 1 choice, followed by “sense of humor (35.5%) and “educational level” (7%). Respondents ages 55-64 selected “sense of humor” and “similar cultural background” as their first and second choices, followed by “financial state” (11%).
  • The results also were consistent by region of the country. Interestingly, however, the highest percentage of those who answered “similar cultural background” reside in the Midwest (37%), followed by the South (31%), West (27%) and Northeast (25%).

The research firm Synovate conducted the study in early August. The survey has a margin of error +/- 3 percent.

Link: Linkedin

About People Media, Inc.

People Media (www.PeopleMedia.com) is the No. 1 provider of targeted online dating communities for attractive singles seeking meaningful relationships. The company operates 27 individual web properties – including www.BlackPeopleMeet.com and www.SeniorPeopleMeet.com – reaching nearly 4 million unique users per month. Its portfolio includes six of the Top 50-ranked personals websites, as reported by comScore Media Metrix – more than any other company. People Media has been a past partner with the Steve Harvey Morning Show and exclusively powers multiple AOL Personals communities. People Media is a rapidly growing innovator in the online personals space, which is expected to reach $1.2 billion in worldwide revenues by 2009 (Jupiter Research). People Media is based in Hollywood, Calif., and is a unit of Match.com, an operating business of IAC (NASDAQ: IACI).

About Match.com

Match.com pioneered online personals when it launched on the Web in 1995 and continues to lead this exciting and evolving category after more than a decade. Throughout its 15-year history,Match.com has helped redefine the way people meet and fall in love. Match.com provides a rich tapestry of ethnicities, interests, goals, ambitions, quirks, looks and personalities from which to choose. Match.com operates some of the leading subscription-based online dating sites in 25 countries, in 8 languages and spanning five continents, as well as oversees its ongoing investment in Meetic. Match.com also powers online dating on MSN across Asia, Australia, the United States and Latin America. Match.com is an operating business of IAC (NASDAQ:IACI).

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