Diversity Week forum discusses interracial dating, marriage

The University of Tennessee’s College of Communications and Information Diversity and Inclusion Week discussed diversity in dating and marriage, Tuesday, Sept. 23.

Panelists discuss interracial dating and marriage.

Panelists discuss interracial dating and marriage.
Panelists talk about interracial dating and marriage.

The University of Tennessee’s College of Communications and Information Diversity and Inclusion Week discussed diversity in dating and marriage, Tuesday, Sept. 23.

UT students Kathleen Duff and Brittany Singh moderated the discussion between panelists Gabrielle LeFlore and Evelyn Morales, both UT students, and husband and wife Will McDaniels, an administrative support assistant from UTCCI, and Jodi Rightler-McDaniels, director of General Studies at South College.

Questions touched on diversity between dating and marriage, tradition, and culture.

LeFlore, who considers herself of  “multicultural background” and is engaged to a white UT student, said that she wouldn’t be here if her grandparents didn’t “cross the lines.”

Gabrielle LeFlore discussing interracial dating during Diversity Week.
Gabrielle LeFlore discussing interracial dating during Diversity Week.

Further, McDaniels and Rightler-McDaniels, who have been married for ten years, said that waiters continually ask if they will be needing “one check or two” while dining out at restaurants.

“Race plays a part in everything,” Rightler-McDaniels said, “but when you are with someone who is of a different race, you can start to notice the subtle messages of racism.”

The panel also commented on interracial relationships and if they’re becoming more accepted.

“People being more open in public with their relationship makes me feel that some things have changed,” said Morales.

In contrast, Rightler-McDaniels said that it is important not to confuse “accepting” with “tolerating,” and that it’s the individual’s choice to be accepted.

“At school, ask someone who is blind about their aspect on life versus yours and see what they have to go through, because we will never know,” said Singh.

Diversity Week concludes Thursday, Sept. 25.


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Edited by Ryan McGill