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A response to the articles on interracial couples in D.C. (“Love Knows Color,” 11/21):
As an adjunct faculty member at a local community college, I teach an essay-writing course, otherwise known as English 101. Had Reginold Royston and Natalie Hopkinson been in my class and turned in the article, they would have received a D. This article, at best, illustrates how far the genre of the editorial essay has degenerated.
At the present time, each of my students is completing a research paper. This assignment is the culmination of the material learned in English 101 this semester, as well as being 20 percent of the course’s final grade. The paper requires that each student choose one side of a current issue in U.S. culture and support that position with reliable data found through research. Another stipulation for the paper is that the students include a solid counterargument to their position. The article written by Royston and Hopkinson fulfills neither requirement.
For starters, Royston and Hopkinson focus most of their research on young people at dance clubs. Though I do not have numbers to back myself up, in the 12 hours after I read the article I polled my friends, who are clubbers, and they agreed that those who go to dance clubs aren’t looking for meaningful and philosophical conversation or searching through dimly lit rooms for a long-term relationship. I have been to Tracks and Crazy Horse several times and have met people similar to the ones quoted in Royston and Hopkinson’s article. Yes, the people interviewed for the article do exist, but relationship material they are not.
Also, these are young people, in some ways the same as the high-school students polled in the Gallup/USA Today survey that stated that 37 percent of American teens have dated interracially. Young people will experiment, whether it be with drugs, sex, alcohol, or music. Experimentation is not a crime. What is a crime is defining interracial relationships as experimentation and referring to those who date across racial lines as doing the “jungle fever thang.” Get real. What this Gallup/USA Today figure does show is that public opinion in this country has shifted. Possibly due to the advent of MTV and to popular media in general, the image one has of his or her race in comparison to other races has changed from isolation and segregation to integration and better comprehension.
In addition, to further explain the weakness of this article, Royston and Hopkinson placed the burden of the counterargument on the shoulders of two men, Charles Byrd and Louis Steadwell. While I admire Mr. Steadwell’s honesty about his feelings toward race and his daughters’ racial identity issues, his age exposes another flaw in Royston and Hopkinson’s argument. I find it hard to believe that only older men and women can successfully have relationships between races. Also, using Steadwell and Byrd as spokesmen for interracial dating does not work. Not everyone in interracial relationships feels the need to join groups like the Interracial Family Circle or desires a subscription to Byrd’s Interracial Voice.