Howard University students gathered in the Blackburn East Ballroom to participate in an open panel discussion entitled ” Jungle Fever: A Panel Discussion On Interracial Dating” presented by Howard University Transfer Student Association.
The event focused on the realities of interracial dating in American society. The panel was composed of six prominent participants: Gregory Carr, Ph.D., associate professor of African-American Studies, Roberta McLeod, Director of Blackburn Center, Darlene Cunningham, a transfer junior radio production major, President Davis, a transfer junior psychology major, Daniel Jacques, a history major, and Laisa Pertet, a junior history major.
Each panel participant expressed their opinion on interracial dating, while outlining the different effects it places on not only African Americans, but also all ethnicities within American society.
Cunningham said that she is in favor of interracial dating. ” People should be judged on the basis of being a human being first and then men and
women second,” Cunningham said.
Cunningham’ s father is Indian and English, her mother is African American, therefore she is considered to be biracial. Cunningham said, ” People should not solely focus on color. Instead, people should focus on the characteristics of the person.”
Throughout the discussion, Howard students were eager to express their opinion on the subject matter.
Students lined up behind the microphone in order to ensure that present colleagues and professors heard their voice. Students spoke of different
adversities and privileges that they faced in society due to interracial dating or being an exemplar of a biracial offspring.
Eric Slye, a graduating senior television production major said, ” I’m pro interracial dating, I suppose. I don’ t have a problem with people dating
interracially. If you like the person or love them, you like and love them no matter what.”
Kellen Sims, alumnus of Howard University with a B.A. in business said that, ” At the end of the day, other ethnicities cannot understand the
African-American struggle.” Sims said that as an African American, black people carry too much history for any other culture to be able to relate or understand the black struggle.
He said that his personal outlook on interracial dating stemmed from his family upbringing and life experiences.
As an associate professor of African-American studies, Carr is knowledgeable of historical black struggles. At the panel discussion, Carr gave
a brief description on when interracial dating started and why it became a problem in America, exclusively for African Americans.
Carr closed the panel discussion with the words, “There is only one race and that is the human race.”\