Panel examines interracial relationships

By Azra Drljevic

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Interracial relationships are more prevalent in today’s culture than the past and that is why they need to be discussed, according to Mahjabeen Rafiuddin, director of Student Diversity Engagement.

The subject will be examined in a panel discussion titled “Breeding Between the Lines” tonight at 7:30 in room 206 of the Student Center.

“We have been in interracial relationships more than previous generations,” Rafiuddin said.

The discussion is part of a monthly diversity dialogue series that was started this semester to promote discussions on equality and diversity issues.

“My goal is to develop a more comprehensive view of what diversity is,” Rafiuddin said. “It’s a challenge for our university because our university is predominantly white.”

Discussions of more than a mainstream, white world are key to incorporating campus diversity, said Patrick Nally, a student marketing associate for the Office of Multicultural and Academic Affairs.

“In order for diversity to be a part of the campus culture, we need to take time to converse and learn from each other,” Nally said.

Tonight’s panel will be composed of two students including Nally, one faculty member and three local community members. The panelists will represent different nationalities and sexual orientations.

The panelists will talk about their views and experiences with interracial relationships for the first few minutes and then open the floor for discussion. It will be informal, Nally said.

The discussion will not only focus on relationships between black and white people, but all ethnicities.

“If you’re an Asian and white couple, that’s an interracial relationship,” Nally said. “America ignores that, in a way.”

The students who volunteer for Student Diversity Engagement have also started a new effort to increase diversity.

The Band Campaign is designed to promote social conversations outside of the Diversity Dialogues. The volunteers designed purple wristbands for people to wear to show that they’re interested in further discussion.

“A person who wears the band, we’re hoping, will be open to conversation,” Nally said.

Last month’s dialogue on ­­­­­­­­­­­whether or not America was ready for a black president saw a turnout of around 50 people, Nally said. He hopes 100 people turn up for tonight’s discussion.

“We want it to be something people go home feeling emotional about,” Nally said.