Interracial dating in spotlight


Published: Wednesday, January 30, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 29, 2008 at 9:35 p.m.

The student-run University of Florida organization FEARLESS, which stands for Fiercely Eradicating All Racism, Loving Enemies and Serving Society, will address past and current issues of interracial relationships Thursday in a forum open to all students.

"Shades of Gray - Interracial Dating Today" will take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in Room 100 of Floyd Griffin Hall.

James Jackson, president and co-founder of FEARLESS, said last year's inaugural forum, which dealt with racism in contemporary media, pushed the organization to create a similar event each semester. The purpose of the forum is to focus on ongoing issues concerning racism.

"What we're trying to do is just deal with real, tangible issues that affect the common college campus student," said Jackson, a UF junior majoring in industrial engineering. "We want to reach out there and do something that people are actually interested in, have them show up, have everyone learn about it."

The event will feature a diverse panel, a presentation by FEARLESS members and constructive discussion. Michael Leslie, a UF professor who specializes in international and intercultural communication, will be one of the guest speakers featured on the panel. Free food and refreshments will also be provided.

The forum is meant to be interactive and a way for students to express personal opinions, regardless of their views on interracial dating, Jackson said. "It's important to challenge and be critical of everywhere we stand," he said. "If we just blindly follow one way or another way - that's also leading to ignorance itself, so it's good to have these differing opinions."

Jackson said that with the polarized nature of the media and today's society, it is inevitable to "stand in the shades of gray," which is the idea behind the forum.

"Even if they don't agree with us and they leave a little bit less ignorant than when they came in, then I feel that we have accomplished something, and we've all learned from each other," he said.

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