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Volume 68, Issue 62, Wednesday, November 20, 2002


Race examined in chat

By Charity Halphen
The Daily Cougar

Students found out Tuesday evening that breaking cultural barriers is as simple as talking. Students from a variety of ethnic backgrounds met to "Let it the Hell Out."

The Council of Ethnic Organizations, as part of Diversity Week, sponsored by the event, which brought topics ranging from inter-racial dating to school segregation to the table.

The moderators, CEO Director Alicia Triplett and Student Government Association President Dawona Miller, read questions written anonymously by forum participants.

When addressed with the question of why black women and men chose to date outside of the race, participants eagerly responded.

"If we can make it by ourselves, we would rather just do it by ourselves. What black woman wants to be with a sorry black man? Black women want black men who are trying to do things with their lives," Miller said. "If these women canit find men in their own race who are making it, theyire free to look elsewhere."

Students concluded that inter-racial dating is now more widely accepted than it has been in the past. However, a few students expressed their offense in seeing prominent black men such as Kobe Bryant and O.J. Simpson seek women of other races only after becoming successful.

Along with marrying outside their race, prominent black figures were criticized for not returning to their communities to educate youth on what steps they must take to succeed in this society.

In response to a question raised on how to stop stereotypes, junior mechanical engineering major Okechukwu Ofili said he thinks that although it may be insulting at first to be asked personal questions, ignorance is only abated by sharing information.

"You can help ignorant people realize that no, not all Africans live in huts, not all French people smell and not all South Americans roam the Amazon," he said.

Junior psychology major Debora Oluwo added that history books and television donit present a full picture of the country and its people. She stressed the importance of traveling to other countries and interacting with the people of those countries to decrease oneis own benightedness.

Born in Nigeria but raised in America since she was three years old, Oluwo said she believed all the common stereotypes of a "third world." Upon visiting Nigeria, she said, these ideas were erased when she stayed in an African village, met her family and discovered that her American home pales in comparison with the house her family owns in Nigeria.

Other questions included why UHis student body is still segregated, considering that this campus is the most diverse university in the nation.

"It is human nature to bond with those who are like you," Triplett said. "It helps us form our identity, and it isnit wrong as long as we look outside of our groups to experience the cultures of others.

"CEO wants members of the Black Student Union to mix with members of the Hispanic Student Association and the Asian Student Association so that all of these groups can share what makes them unique," she continued.

Diversity Week continues with "Talent Explosion 2002" at 7 p.m. today in Agnes Arnold Hall 1 and "Cultural Ambrosia and Rhapsody" on Thursday at 6 p.m. in the UH Hilton Ballroom.

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