No matter where a person might go, one will be able to see a black person and a white person. There's nothing wrong with that because a black person is just the same as a white person. People say that if you are black and you want to date white people you have to be strong, because people will talk behind your back. People agree that interracial dating can result in a loss of social status. Usually in the cafeteria during the lunch shifts in just about every school, in the county there is a section where black and white people sit but the groups do not usually mix. This is not about prejudice as much as it is about preference, say many students. It is about who a person feels most comfortable with. If you want to date black people go ahead or if you want to see white people. Its who ever you like.

We know of schools that have groups that encourage acceptance of cultures every where. The goal at these groups are to promote racial acceptance among teenagers through talking and listening to one another. Interracial dating, affirmative action, racial stereo typing are all fair game for students at the group meetings.

To many students, race is a big deal. Nothing brings that home more to students then their first college application form. What to check on the race box is a reminder of how much of a hot button issue affirmative action is. Of the teens we spoke with, most said that believed that college admissions should be based on who, not what color, people were. A few felt the issue is more complicated.

Society demands that you call yourself something. As one article put it:"Either you live with some of the labels society gives you or you have to figure out a way to change society."

A very powerful force that is keeping prejudice alive is language. Words can shape thoughts and spread opinions and beliefs. Words can be used to intimidate and frighten, or be threats of violence. More than anything else words reinforce stereotypes and racism.

Kathlyn Gay, in her work Bigotry, describes how prejudice is very much a part of American culture. The word white, or whiteness as a concept, usually symbolizes a positive quality, while black or blackness connotes a negative. Just take a quick look through a thesaurus or dictionary and you will find such terms a blacklist, blackmail, black deeds, black sheep, black mark, and so on-all linked to unfavorable images. Many more such terms subtly but unmistakably put across the idea that ''black is bad." On the other hand, whiteness is more often associated with positives such as "purity" and ''Cleanliness''.

There is still prejudice in the United States, but there are also people trying to keep the dream of Martin Luther King alive.

Tishana D.
Quinton H.
Cyprian L.


Bigotry. Kathlyn Gay. Enslow Publishers, Inc. 1989.

Scholastic Update, "Coming Together On Race." February 8, 1998.

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