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The Daily Tar HeelWendesday, April12, 19895'
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' By CHERYL ALLEN
and LEIGH PRESSLEY
Almost every day there was a march on Franklin
Street. Students and teachers would lie face
down in the street singing "We shall overcome,"
only to be dragged away by Chapel Hill police. Black
citizens could not enjoy a movie at the Carolina Theatre
or sit down and enjoy an ice cream cone at the local
parlor. "Whites only" signs in certain stores on Franklin
Street kept them out.
This was the civil rights movement in Chapel Hill,
. according to Jim Shumaker, a UNC journalism profes-.-
sor who was the editor of The Chapel Hill Weekly in
the early '60s.
Today the protests are over, but many minority stu
dents at UNC feel the progress has only just begun.
Thoughts that count
..; Many minority students feel that they are perceived
and treated differently on campus, said Carolyn Can
non, director of UNC's summer Bridge Program, an
, orientation program for incoming black freshmen. For
example, the only black student in a Class of otherwise
entirely white students may feel as if he has to prove
himself to the professor and other students.
Minorities such as American Indians and Chinese are
1 more easily accepted because their attitudes reflect the
dominant culture, said Granette Trent, a senior from
Hertford. "Many of them adopt American ways. They
are made to feel welcome and comfortable."
Sean Lyles, a freshman from Charlotte, said people
, tended to shy away from admitting to racist opinions
because it would incriminate them. "Of course at a pre
dominantly white university there will be a race rela
tions problem. A lot of people say there isn't one
because they don't see it . . . but avoiding something
because you don't want to believe it's there is
Chanda Douglas, treasurer of the Black Student
Movement (BSM), said ignorance about other cultures
was where the problem began. "I think the problem is
that people don't know enough about each other. It's
the people who are ignorant about other races that
cause the problems."
Louder than words
"Racial tensions are not so much overt as covert, but
they are clearly there," said Margo Crawford, director
of the Black Cultural Center (BCC). Tension shows
itself daily in the form of the separation of the black
and white students on campus, she said.
Blatantly racist things do happen on this campus,
Crawford said. She said students came to the BCC to
tell her that in classes their comments are met by white
' people's amazed stares, as if shocked that blacks actu
ally have anything to contribute.
"The tension that black students are under may be
something white students can't even imagine."
J; Trent said: "You're conscious of being black 24 hours
a day, seven days a week; You're a target for racism.
You're constantly on the lookout."
Because the black culture at UNC is so small, she
f said, the white culture tends to dominate, while the
black culture disappears. Racism does not have to be an
actual thing done to someone; many times racism is felt,
Trent said. "It's underneath. You can feel it."
"As a black person, you tense up in certain situa-"-
tions," said Raquel Bushnell, a freshman from Gasto
' nia. She emphasized, however, that you cant react to
' racial comments. "You just pass it off as the way they
"Regardless of what happened in the '60s and that we
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Students march from the Pit to South Building in a BSM-sponsored rally in April 1987
have equal rights, there are certain areas you just don't
go. As black girls, walking through frat court on a Fri
day night is one of the most intense situations we could
ever put ourselves in. You just know something is going
to be said." ,
Separate by choice
Self-segregation is one of the biggest problems on
campus, said Chris Mumford, RACIAL chairman and
coordinator of Race Relations Week. Many people
believe that blacks group themselves together and do
not mingle with others. "I think when people come here
as freshmen they perceive either a white social life or a
black social life."
"I think there are divisions in the things we do on this
campus in our housing and in our social life," said
freshman Lisa Abbott of Millbrook, N.Y., publicity
coordinator for Race Relations Week. "Though it is not
blatantly racist, it certainly creates a dividing line."
Voluntary segregation happens naturally, Bushnell
said. "That's probably because we are a small group on
this campus and we all know each other, so well move
together when we are out."
Cannon said voluntary segregation was a result of
people being comfortable in their own group. "Interests
and values have a tendency to pull them together."
But depending on the situation, whites may also
group together when they are in a minority. "We're no
different from anyone else," Cannon said. "We do the
same things as other people."
Crawford said students didn't know how to commun
icate across cultural lines. "Culturally they don't know
one another. They haven't been taught to .embrace one
She said staying separate was dangerous because peo
ple could become so numb that they would stop caring
about people of another color. "Black or white people
who only communicate with people of their race are
The flip side
One of the dangers in resolving racial problems is
that the majority culture may go overboard in its
attempts to make up for past discrimination against
Many minority students feel as if they are at the Uni
versity because they are a minority, not because they are
qualified, Cannon said. "Different shouldn't be consi
dered less than "
"Most black students feel they are here because they
were needed for government funding or because they
were needed to make a quota," Trent said. "There is a
sense of not being welcomed and not belonging."
But the idea of reverse discrimination is often manip
ulated to justify someone's behavior or to deny that
racism exists, Abbott said.
Lyles agreed. "We have to work just as hard or
harder to achieve what we want."
Mumford said he thought reverse discrimination
existed but was necessary to equalize the past injustices
minorities have had to endure. "It (reverse discrimina
tion) is unfortunate but it has to happen for minorities
to catch up in the race."
Opportunity for all?
The Black Cultural Center, established in 1988, is the
result of six years of petitioning and student advocacy.
Its goals include providing for the needs of the more
than 2,000 black students at UNC and allowing black
and White students the opportunity to do more than
bump into each other on campus, Crawford said. The
BCC is used almost equally by black and white stu
dents, she said.
Other minorities on campus said the BCC should be
a multi-cultural center instead of being solely for blacks.
Carlton Mansfield, former president of the Carolina
Indian Circle, advocated a minority center as opposed
to a Black Cultural Center when the BCC was in the
Despite promises of multi-cultural involvement, there
is no intent of having anything but a Black Cultural
Center, he said. The name is evidence of that.
There has been no administrative discussion of devel
oping a multi-cultural center, said Associate Vice
Chancellor Edith Wiggins. Wiggins was on the BCC
"I can't think of a group who has had it as part of
their agenda as something to work on."
But the multi-cultural center proposal may not be the
best solution, according to Trent. "I get the picture of
the United Nations being at the Union."
Crawford said there was no way any one person was
qualified to represent the interests of the diverse minor
ity groups on campus effectively, but a multi-cultural
center with different directors for each group might
"We have just begun cross-cultural teaching. Once we
become knowledgeable we could have someone run a
multi-cultural center, maybe a hundred years from
Breaking down walls ;
With the increasing awareness of the necessity for
racial interaction, students have started numerous A
groups and programs in an effort to change the v
situation. : . -'
One such group is RACIAL, a group formeda year
and a half ago for the purpose of promoting interaction
of blacks and whites. RACIAL is an effort to learn
about prejudices why and how people are prejudiced,
and if those prejudices are correct. One important thing,
Mumford said, is that members should be able to go
out together outside of meetings.
"You can talk all you want, but interaction occurs '
when you're out having a beer."
Several of the Greek organizations on campus have
used this principle to improve relations between black
and white fraternities and sororities participating in
step shows, fireside chats and interracial mixers.
In addition, this week is Race Relations Week,
another effort to bring the University community
But students can make individual contributions to ;
race relations. "All you have to do is go up and start
talking," Mumford said. "Dont be intimidated because
they are of a different race." '
Anna Turnage also contributed to this story. '
unique kinds of cha
By JACKI GREENBERG
' Staff Writer
While romance under any
circumstances is a compli
cated proposition, those
who try to bridge racial barriers in
; the dating scene may face even more
"Most interracial relationships are
kept low-key because they aren't
really accepted on campus," said
Vincent Person, a junior from
"We're not trying to hide the fact
: that we're dating, but why display it
when there's a chance people will
come down on us?" said one black
: male who is dating a white female.
People always question your
motives if you date someone from
another race, his girlfriend said. "It
helps you realize who your real
friends are." The couple requested
In a recent Daily Tar Heel survey,
61 percent of UNC students said
they would date someone of another
race, and 60 percent said they would
not mind if a friend dated someone
of another race.
Person, who is black, said, "I
wouldn't date a white woman
because I've seen enough beautiful
black women to keep me interested
in them." However, he said his black
friends at home encouraged him to
"Would you consider dating
someone of another race?"
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date whites. .
Chris Bracey, a black freshman
from Columbia, Maryland, said he
dated both black and white females,
but he said the dating scene for
black females was basically limited
to black males. "They (black
women) have a right to be angry
when black males are dating white
females. It cuts off their supply."
Jerry Edwards, a black sopho
more from Chapel Hill, said there
was a myth that blacks dated whites
to improve their status.
Bracey and Person said there was
some truth to this "myth." "Some
black guys date white girls because
they think of it as a status symbol,"
Bracey said. Person agreed and said
that while some black males had
honest motives, others dated whites
to show they could be accepted by
the white community.
But there is a difference between a
dating relationship and marriage.
Fifty-eight percent of students sur
veyed said they would not marry
someone of another race.
Jeff Meyer, a white senior from
Winston-Salem, said he would not
want a mixed marriage because he
thought it would be difficult for the
children of such a marriage to have
solid self-esteem and a strong
"It can be extremely taxing for
children to grow up in a society that
doesn't wholeheartedly condone
"I don't understand why people
care what society thinks," said Alisia
Morgan, a freshman from Philadel
phia who has a black father and a
white mother. She said her parents
never made a big deal about the fact
that they had a mixed marriage.
"When I was little, I never even
Morgan said it was important to
teach kids that who you are is more
important than what you look like.
"I hate it when people ask, 'What
are you?' I'm a person. What do
they think? People love to put you
in a group. They think you can't be
Tanya Keene, a sophomore from
Arlington, Va., also has a black
father and a white mother. She said
she didn't have any race-related
problems growing up, but she
clearly remembers the day she
learned color combinations in
"We learned that blue and yellow
make green, and red and yellow
make orange. Then one boy drew
white on black and he asked me why
I wasn't gray.
"I ran home to ask my mom. She
took out the crayons and drew beige
on brown to make tan. That's you,'
Both of Keene's parents are very
strong people, she said. "Anyone
who was against the marriage
changed their mind after getting to
know them." Interracial couples are
more common in the North, she
added. "And they, are definitely
more secretive down here (in the
Views on interracial dating often
reflect family upbringing. Tracey
Perrone, a senior from Raleigh, said
interracial dating was not widely
accepted by her parents' generation.
"They would freak if I dated some
one of a different race. I don't think
my mind would even let me consider
Junior Laura Hinkle never
thought she would date a Vietnam
ese person, and Chinh "Chilly"
Nguyen never thought he would
even hold hands with an American.
H inkle's family has lived in High
Point since the 1700s. Nguyen
moved from Vietnam to Fayetteville
when he was 13 years old.
Hinkle said some of her closest
friends at home were black, but it
"Would you marry someone of
would not have been acceptable for
her to date a black person. "I didn't
think my parents would disapprove
of my dating an Oriental, but it has
been more of a problem than I
thought it would be.
"They (her parents) like Chilly,
but there is a lot of white pride
involved. I don't think they like the
thought of having grandchildren
who look different."
Hinkle and Nguyen said they were
used to being stared at, especially in
her hometown. "We were in a video
store and an old lady kept staring
and staring at us. Finally Chilly
turned around and made a face at
her. She was very embarrassed."
Hinkle said her mother was very
concerned about the differences
between the American and Vietnam
Where we found
The DTH Interracial Dating
Survey was conducted on March 29,
1 989. Surveys were given out in the
Union, in the Pit and in front of
Greenlaw Hall. There were 185
response sheets filled out.
Forty percent of those surveyed
were men and 60 percent were
women. The class breakdown was:
1 9 percent freshmen, 20 percent
sophomores,. 3 3 percent juniors, 26
percent seniors and 2 percent others.
The survey was organized by the arts
and features desk of the DTH and ,
cannot be considered scientific.