By Mandy Ruiz
News Editor

The Multicultural Council held a special Open Council on interracial relationships on February 25, which featured a panel of staff and students discussing topics about dating, marriage, and being bi-racial.

The event opened up with a Buzzfeed video, “Do You Have A Racial Preference?” which highlighted interracial dating statistics according to different dating apps. The panel discussion then took the floor to answer questions regarding the challenges, stigmas, and rewards of dating interracially and interculturally.

Scott Hwang, Director of Multicultural Programs, explained that his parents originally wanted him to date a Korean woman.

“It was hard because you want to respect your parents…but I don’t think it influenced me,” he said in reflection.

Senior James Tablazon resonated with Hwang in that his parents preferred he dated someone from the same Filipino culture that he grew up with.

“My parents had three things: Christian, fit in well with the family, and wasn’t stuck up,” said Marcus Washington, Coordinator of Recruitment and Pre-College Programs.

Kevin Villegas, Director of International Student Programs mentioned that he believes that most people speak against interracial relationships out of pain, something that he explains his own mother felt after experiencing an unhealthy marriage.

“It’s just very painful if you give into stereotypes….I just wish people would get over it,” said Villegas.

Hwang believes this issue is one that stems from American culture.

“It is shown in our books, TV, and even cartoons,” he said. “There are black couples, white couples, and Asian couples.”

Villegas went onto explain that he as a bi-racial man believes that kids of interracial families will experience some problems concerning bullying. “I think there will be some challenges, but I also think as we see more interracial relationships that will change. More kids will look different…but I don’t think that’s a reason to not get married.”

Washington agreed with that sentiment stating, “I think there are some challenges [to raising bi-racial kids] but it hasn’t put fear into me or my wife.”

Lydia Washington, Marcus’ wife, believes that there are more positives to being a part of an interracial relationship.

“One thing I enjoy is the sense of community that African Americans have,” she said.

Junior Alicia Sims and Tablazon shared similar thoughts to Washington, saying that they both enjoyed the strong bonds that their families share respectively.

The second part of the alternate chapel introduced a new panel of students: Brian Reynolds, Lindsey Longoria, and Jodie Howard. Each of the students come from interracial families and shared some of the thoughts they have on being bi-racial.

“My parents did a really good job of making us proud of being from two places,”said Howard.

Longoria believed her parents success in raising her were their positive attitudes, “My parents are very open and they let me ask the hard questions.”

Reynolds also thinks that being able to understand that society may put pressure on bi-racial kids is essential saying, “I created my own culture.”

“Understanding my first identity was important. Knowing that I am a child of God and not the color of my skin was helpful for me growing up,” said Longoria.

The Multicultural Council is also featured in this week’s Humanities Symposium as a part of the “#ineeddiversity” presentation on February 27 in Boyer 131.

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