Be honest about interracial dating - Johnny Jackson

Interracial dating. What's the problem, again?

In response to Duane Chapman (known as "Dog the Bounty Hunter" from the A&E network television series by the same name) and his recent racial tirade, I'd like to take yet another opportunity to evaluate race in these so-called United States.

In a private telephone conversation recently made public, Chapman was recorded using racial slurs to describe his son's African-American girlfriend. He said his tirade was based on his disagreement with his son, Tucker's, choice of girlfriend and had nothing to do with her race.

Why exactly Chapman would feel it necessary to use racial slurs, then, I don't know.

But I have known and heard of parents who have been unsettled by their children's choice of companion, based on the companion's race.

Together, the couple would make the signature 'made-in-America' interracial couple. That is until you get their parents' reasons why the couple should not be a couple.

Their tacky rationale has always seemed to be more about how others would perceive the interracial couple, and not too much about the parents' own preferences.

"It's a hard life to be an interracial couple, because there is a world of prejudice out there, ready to discriminate against anything seemingly different," they'll say.

And that's very true for interracial couples even today.

But truer, though, is that those same apprehensive parents are a large part of the problem.

Those parents should realize that those "hard life" excuses are as transparent to their dating children as the proverbial crystal glass ceiling.

Simply disowning their children wasn't effective, nor was it good parenting. But the scare tactics and smoke-screen acceptance of interracial dating are not working, either. It's too obvious to their children, but subtle enough to filter down through generations.

Many of those parents are the same people, who will "accidentally" say something offensive about an interracial couple.

Many of them will look a second longer at an interracial couple, hoping their thoughts are not conveyed in their facial expressions.

Many of them are a part of the problem. A problem - in racism and prejudice - that goes as far as the individual lets it.

That is to say, in order to find out where we are with the problem, we have to confront it head on.

If that means parents being open about with their children about their racial prejudices, so be it. If it means allowing their children to suffer a "hard life," that's what should be.

Be honest folks, and leave these penny excuses alone. That don't solve anything. Maybe, what could help the situation is this singular, self-posed question: What's my problem with interracial dating?

Johnny Jackson is the education reporter for the Daily Herald. He can be reached at jjackson@henryherald.com or at (770) 957 - 9161.