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Doing Justice to the Classics

An All-White Dating Service and the Ancient World

White Date is an all-white dating website that “invite[s] descendants of Celtic, Germanic, Slavic, Finno-Ugric, Baltic, and Italic folks worldwide [to] find a traditionally minded partner online.” Talia Lavin has written an extensive exposé about this site in her book Culture Warlords: My Journey into the Dark Web of White Supremacy, but even a glance at White Date’s front page reveals a predictable mix of thinly-veiled misogyny and racism, with messages such as “We follow classic roles, where strong men take the lead and graceful women play the game…wisely” and, “We are exclusive, not discriminatory. To learn about the difference, ask your local Country Club.” And although the site inclines toward a neo-Volkisch white supremacy that favors Vikings and Stonehenge as historical symbols, ancient Greece and Rome can be found on the site as well.

A screenshot of the landing page. A subtitle reads "for a Europid Vision." In large text over an image of a person recieving a wedding ring is the phrase "We want long lasting love, marriage and families with numerous, healthy children."
Kind of strange to choose a stock image for your front page where the guy has a band aid on his pinky

White Date is nothing less than an internet-age attempt to build a racial eugenics program to try to protect white people from the supposed extinction that white supremacists believe they face. It uses a range of techniques to disguise its similarity to less marketable versions of the same kinds of eugenic plans, such as Hitler’s awards for mothers of four or more children or his regime’s creation of special hospitals for “racially valuable” women to give birth in. One of these techniques is its use of antiquity to make whiteness seem ancient and eternal (and not a concept invented to justify violence against Africans), as the following examples illustrate:

  • White Date’s “Who We Are: The Question of White Identity” begins with a video very similar to the one produced by Richard Spencer, trying to convince viewers that the supposed accomplishments of the “white race” in architecture, technology, and the arts were only possible because white people maintained racial purity. One of the images in the video is an photograph of the Roman theater in Cartagena, Spain. From this video one would never know that there is a huge body of historical work that attributes the divergence of European economies from those of the rest of the world to colonialism, violence, and a large number of other factors, none of which includes racial superiority.
  • The same page reproduces a map of “Europes Tribes” in 52 BC taken from the website History Files, which claims to “cover just about all the possible tribes that were decoumented in the first centuries BC and AD, mostly by the Romans and Greeks.” White Date’s use of the map misleadingly implies that these groups of people believed they shared a racial identity (the concept of race as it is meant by White Date did not exist in antiquity) but even within the racist logic of the site strikes an odd note because its focus on non-Roman groups appears to exclude vast areas of modern Europe from White Date’s purview, including Spain, Italy, Ireland, and Greece. In this it conforms to a “Nordicist” form of white supremacy that views Germanic and Celtic ancestry as more purely “white” than other forms whiteness. Such white nationalist infighting is good to see but this position is also one which has been highly influential in United States immigration history and racial politics.
  • The site includes a “Good reads for white people,” which recommends a book entitled “Prometheus Rising: Take Back Your Destiny.” The author, Jason Köhne, is the host of a number of podcasts for the influential white nationalist media company Red Ice. The mythological figure of Prometheus, whom Zeus punished for giving fire to humans, recurs frequently in white nationalist discourse as a model for what they believe is the uniquely innovative and dynamic white spirit.
  • White Date has been banned from mainstream social media but continues to operate a Telegram Channel along with numerous other white supremacists that Pharos has documented. White Date’s channel, besides promoting racist pseudo-archaeology about Atlantis, also occasionally posts material from Greco-Roman antiquity, such as a commemoration of the Battle of Aquae Sextiae between the Romans and the Teutones and Ambrones. But White Date doesn’t admire this battle because it represents a decisive Roman victory but because it represents a touchstone, they believe, of ancient white female heroism. According to Plutarch’s Life of Marius and a letter of St. Jerome (the details are slightly different), the women of the Teutones and Ambrones, when they learned of the Roman victory, killed their kinsmen who had fled the battled, strangled their children, and finally killed themselves. What should be a reminder of the way the violence of colonialism engulfs entire communities becomes, in the hands of white nationalists, a source of inspiration. “These German women,” the Telegram post concludes, “understood the eternal and unchanging spiritual Virtue of ‘Death before Dishonor’ – a concept which unfortunately is no longer understood by most modern ‘men.’”

White Date advertises on white supremacist websites. One of their ads, which for a long time appeared on a site whose racist and homophobic essays Pharos has documented, used a detail of “Spring,” a classicizing painting by Lawrence Alma-Tadema.

An advertisement for The image is a detail of the painting "Spring" by Lawrence Alma-Tadema depicting four women in flower garlands peering around a marble column. Text reads "Where are all the good men?" alongside a logo and the WhiteDate url.
Probably not on White Date

The classical context is implied in the ad by the busts at lower left and the column in the background. Potential clients are invited to assume that the women portrayed in the image are eagerly seeking a nice white husband, which is ironic because the painting actually portrays them observing a procession of women and children carrying a banner bearing a fragment attributed by a Latin grammarian to the Roman poet Catullus concerning the dedication of a grove to Priapus, a divinity almost always represented in antiquity with an outsized erection. It’s a context that jars somewhat with the site’s dating advice to women that includes “avoid cheap or flirty language,” “avoid provocative dressing,” and “avoid physical contact like touching his shoulder when he makes you laugh.”

On the one hand White Date is just more of the same: the fantasy of a racial identity connecting those who are racialized as white in modern times to the ancient world, fear-mongering about changing demographics, and veiled gestures to the white supremacist belief that white people are in danger of extinction. The site provides a forum section that is intended to “build the white diaspora,” a term ordinarily used to describe groups of people dispersed by racism, violence, and colonialism, and in an article for the white supremacist website American Renaissance the founder of White Date justified the need for the site with a paraphrase of the neo-Nazi “14 words,” writing that the site aims to “build a safe, prosperous, and beautiful environment for our descendants.”

It may surprise some readers that White Date is run by a woman. Despite the hypermasculinity of the public-facing side of white nationalism, there are — and always have been — many women involved in the movement. “Ladies, here is why women should choose trad life,” is one of the headlines on the White Date blog, in which “trad life” refers to the supposed virtues of a “traditional life” (other messaging uses the term “trad wife”), a concept being promoted by white nationalist women in order to sanitize the patriarchal and racist politics behind the concept. White Date is part of this ecosystem. It’s a good reminder that women are present and active in white nationalism even if we don’t see them in the news, and, for Pharos, that they find ways to take inspiration from even so patriarchal and exclusionary a period of history as Greco-Roman antiquity.

To judge from the desperation on the site, White Date hasn’t been very successful. The headline in the “Guerilla Marketing” section of the site is “Invite especially women!” and that same page attempts to put a good spin on the community’s gender ratio by claiming that “Men are vanguards and it is reflected in the ration between men and women on WhiteDate” before urging “gentlemen” to “invite white ladies in real life who display trad potential.” But whatever the success of this specific site, it stands as a reminder of both the surprising diversity of white nationalism, and the movement’s continuous development of new tools and rhetorics of recruitment. And even if White Date is easy to mock, mainstream politicians and journalists are spreading the same fears about declining white birthrates that White Date does.

We have linked above to archived images of White Date to avoid directing traffic to the site but if anyone wants to explore a community where, as Talia Lavin reported, a man will consider you “the most beautiful woman in the world” if you use the term “kikes”, then you may do so here.

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