'Jungle Fever' discusses interracial dating

The event was an open discussion of interracial relationships.
Freshmen Lysaundra Campbell, Whitney Williams and Jequetta Smith lead a discussion 'Jungle Fever' on relationships Friday in Chambers Auditorium. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People lead the discussion to promote acceptance of interracial couples.

The NAACP held a forum about interracial relationships Friday called Jungle Fever. About 20 people participated in the conversation.

The moderator started the conversation by asking how many people in the crowd were in or had been in an interracial relationship. Nine people raised their hands, but when the moderator asked how many people had a problem with interracial relationships, no one came forward.

Following a talk show clip of two women arguing about the merits of interracial relationships, hands shot up around the room. People thought both parties were basing their arguments largely on generalizations.

The next clip was of a black man who said he refused to date black women because they are too aggressive. Initially, his statements got laughter from the audience, but that soon turned to more severe reactions as time passed.

"I feel like black men are also putting black women in a box," junior Danee Owens said.

The group agreed it was wrong for men applying a broad stereotype to a group of people. No one said it was wrong of him to date white women, but everyone who spoke agreed it was wrong to rule out all black women.

Alumnus Burton Rogers made it clear just because his girlfriend is white, doesn't mean he has anything against black women.

"My mom is a black woman," he said. "How could I not love black women?"

The third clip was of a round table discussion between men and women of various races on the pros and cons of interracial dating.

The discussion quickly descended in to a shouting match, with everyone insisting they were right.

The piece prompted several people to ask what message the media was trying to send people. Senior T.J. Mercer said a person should come to an opinion on their own, regardless of media's messages.

"Stop listening to the media and start listening to yourself," senior T.J. Mercer said.

The final clip was a trailer for the movie "Something New," a 2006 film about a relationship between a black woman and a white man.

A subject commonly discussed by the group about was the envy some people experience when they see someone of their race dating someone of another race, and the feeling of hate toward the person who has what they want.

Senior Alyssa Ruth used symbolism to explain the issue.

"If someone drives by in a nice car, it's OK for me to say that I really like that car, or that I want that car," Ruth said. "It doesn't mean I have to hate the driver for having it when I don't."

Senior Jerry Steward attended the event hoping to explore new ideas.

"I just kind of want to see what everybody else is thinking," Steward said. "Maybe come away with some new thoughts."

All in all, reactions were positive, said Whitney Williams, assistant secretary of the MU chapter of the NAACP.

"It went really well," Williams said. "We got people to talk about their ideas and their opinions, and we came to a solution that we all just need to be more open minded about stuff."

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