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To the Editor: The recent article, "Debating Interracial Dating," (The Daily Pennsylvanian, 2/28/01) covered a recent forum on whether or not it is "OK" for one to date outside of his or her race. Much was said on both sides of the argument. First of all, I'd like to put my two cents in and say that I have never had a girlfriend of a similar race to my own -- ever -- and I have been perfectly happy with them all. However, all of that is really quite irrelevant. Why must we debate this at all? Why does it even matter? In my suddenly broadened collegiate view, it has become increasingly apparent that the majority of people in this world do not understand what racism entails or means. Racism defined as discrimination or favoritism between people of different color springs from a flawed preconception: that race does, in fact, matter. Race is a purely social construct. Genetically we are the same. In matters of intellectual and emotional capacity we are all cast from the same mold. So why differentiate? I put it to you now that racism's true definition is not discrimination but simply classification; the need to separate, the desire to create disparity. You want to end racial discrimination? People need a method by which to discriminate. As long as you keep and perpetuate that, you will always have injustice. Unlearn the meaning of race. Want to solve the race problem at Penn? Realize the truth: there is no problem, nor is there any need to invent one. The entire debate over interracial dating is therefore entirely and unequivocally moot, as true practitioners of tolerance understand. In fact, until the very moment I read that article, I had not even realized that I had never dated a girl of my own race. I am so thankful for having been enlightened to the problems of the real world.

Robert Beck College '04

To the Editor: I would like to clarify the account of the Check One interracial dating panel which ran last week in the DP. Everyone on the panel agreed that interracial dating is a personal decision; no one imposed a particular view on others, but rather each panelist voiced an opinion. The purpose of Check One's Interracial Dating Forum was just that -- to educate the Penn community on other people's viewpoints. There were panelists who felt that interracial dating was not an option for them due to cultural reasons. These reasons are validated by factors including the desire to preserve one's own traditional culture, as well as feeling that intimate knowledge of a culture is required for true understanding of it. However, no panelist nor participating member of the audience indicated that they were against other people making the decision to date outside of their race. There are, in fact, people who do feel this way, and some of them attend the University of Pennsylvania, but none chose to participate in our widely-publicized event. There are also people with multiracial backgrounds who, due to their own experiences, disagree with the blending of races; they are entitled to their views.

Tasnim Beg College '02

The writer is president of Check One.

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