Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Relationships

Many controversial issues storm the world today. Everyone has opinions about how they view these issues. Some of the most popular issues are; legalizing marijuana, abortion, interracial relationships, gun control, and homelessness. The issue of discussion here is that of interracial relationships. This was chosen because everyone in the world is affected by or is around them. This issue is also something that can be discussed by everyone. Some people do not mind dating outside of their race and some people are highly against dating those of a different race. There are logical arguments that favor and disfavor both opinions. This is why it is so controversial. The topic of interracial relationships can be reasonably discussed by giving background descriptions of it, analyzing formal literary elements, and by a persuasive discussion.

The world has many different races. The most common are white Caucasians, black African Americans, Mexican/Spanish, Asians, Native American Indians, and islanders. The world in the far past was extremely segregated in that each race/ethnic group lived in with each other and had very little relations to other groups. Now that the world is rapidly growing it is becoming more difficult to keep the different races separated. For instance, in the United States, each of the races described above reside here freely. The Caucasian race has always been the more overpowering of the races. Whites held African Americans slaves years ago as well as forced the Indians of America to give up their land. These activities are heavily present in the minds of these effected racial groups, and this causes great friction between the races when people believe it is harmless to associate sexually in a biracial way.
The issue of interracial dating is controversial because it joins two races and in many eyes brings back past memories of how minority races were unequally treated. Also, Whites, more often than not, disapprove of interracial relationships because of the resulting appearance of the children. For example “Parents fear how their children will be treated as a result of the relationship.”(Burnette, 2) This is saying that the parents of the interracial couple are worried about their children having children together because of how the child would be treated. When a White woman or man has a child with an African American woman or man, the child appears more Black than White. To clarify where this is going, “Families also argue that interracial couples re selfish for getting married because their children will have identity problems.”(Burnette, 2). This is said because of the fact that the children born do not resemble their mother or father. Also, the child does not look white at all and this is a common argument for why white people oppose interracial relationships. Many say that the white race diminishes because of this. Furthermore, many argue that the only reason a person of color marries a white person is to move up in social status. “Black men will trade certain personal assets, for example, money and physical attractiveness, for the status of a union with a white woman in compensation for her higher racial caste.”(Yancey, 2) This is an example of how a Black man may be perceived in his motives.

On the other side, millions of people believe that dating outside of their race is okay. Usually people of color do not mind dating others of a different ethnic background as opposed to Whites, who are more against the idea. However, there is still a large number of whites that do not mind. Presently, many people that are in an interracial relationship are actually in it for the love. For instance, “The fact is that individuals in interracial couples are attracted to each other for the same reasons that individuals in same race couples are, they consistently state that they get married because they like and love each other.”(Burnette, 2) this is evidence that there are biracial couples in the relationship for more than just to gain something out of it, they are in the relationship for love. Many of the people that approve of interracial mixing are the younger people of the world, the teenagers because they are surrounded by it early on whereas the older people of society were not exposed to different races being in a relationship because it was not as accepted as it is now. This idea is strongly supported by the statement “I think people are getting used to growing up with different races, and you feel a lot more comfortable now, says Vertice Duke.” (Peterson, 2)

Furthermore, the fact remains that the human race is continuing to change and this includes all nationalities. Therefore, interaction rates among nationalities increases. So, many people understand that the frequency of races mixing is going to increase and it is accepted with these people. For these reasons, the issue of interracial relationships is very controversial because each side has strong reasons for either accepting or opposing it.

The second way of discussing the issue of interracial relationships is by analyzing several different articles on the issue and the specific rhetorical elements that they contain. To start off, the most common rhetorical element that is used amongst all four articles is appeal to emotion. The issue of interracial relationships can be a very touchy subject sometimes and when speaking to someone whose opinion is different from yours, it is very beneficial to appeal to his/her emotions. Every human has emotions and this characteristic can be helpful and can sometimes be harmful in certain circumstances. In this case it is harmful because people are vulnerable to persuasion if the fact given to them appeals to their emotions. Therefore it is not surprising that all four authors used this appeal to emotion device. For example, the author of the article Interracial Sex uses appeal to emotion to get the reader to sympathize with white women and their reasons for dating a man of color by saying “Such a woman naturally falls from the good graces of other White folk, but the pedestal is a small price to pay for her hard-won sexual fulfillment.”(Monroy, 1) Similarly, Karen Peterson, the author of USA Today’s article Interracial Dating uses appeal to emotion to touch younger people by saying “Pocahontas is an interracial dating story in a cartoon for children.”(Peterson, 4) Children can be persuaded more easily and playing on their emotional side has a very successful effect.

An article in the magazine Ebony by Lynn Norment titled Wesley Snipes On His Hot Career, Black Women, Interracial Relationships And His Multimillion-Dollar Hideaway really acts on the emotions of any admirers because when someone admires someone, he/she tries hard to be like that someone. The author uses Snipes’ experiences to strengthen her argument on interracial dating and this appeals to the emotions of his admirers. To clarify, Norment writes “Continuing with his openness, Snipes says he’s had his heart broken more than once, and at times by Black women.”(Norment, 6) She says this because when she was speaking to Snipes, he declared that when he dated someone of his own race he had his heart broken, and those that cherish Wesley Snipes do not want that at all. Lastly, the rhetorical element of appeal to emotion was exhibited also an article on the web entitled The Strengths of Mixed-Race Relationships. This author chose to strengthen the opposing party of interracial relationships. The author Erin Burnette wants the reader to sympathize with the parents of the interracial couple by saying “Parents fear how their children’s children will be treated as a result of the relationship.”(Burnette, 2) Grandparents have the image of being very wise and as the author portrays this, people really listen.

The second rhetorical element commonly displayed is that of a statistical element. Using statistics to move an audience in a certain direction is very successful in the results. People will believe cold, hard, proven facts over just about anything else. Also, just the idea that some individual or group of people took the time to research a certain topic gives the audience confidence in the results laid before them. For example, USA Today has an article that gives statistical evidence on how interracial relationships are becoming more accepted. The article Interracial Dating by Karen Peterson emphasizes this by the statement “They also credit increasing acceptance and frequency of interracial marriage: There were nearly 1.3 million married interracial couples in 1994, the Census Bureau reported, four times the number in 1970.”(Peterson, 2) This statistical element represented in this article gives the readers a stronger more believable perspective on how Peterson is trying to reveal interracial relationships. In the article The Strengths of Mixed-Raced Relationship by Erin Burnette, statistical devices are also used. “Within 50 years, half of the U.S population will be people of color, said Christine Iijima Hall, PhD.”(Burnette, 1), this statement not only was said by a woman with an advanced education, but it reveals facts about how the population will increase. Ms. Hall, a psychologist is known for her research in this field and just about everything she is known to say comes from her findings which are, in every aspect, factual statistics. It is much easier to believe something that has been proven and demonstrated than believing just opinion-like words from someone.

The last rhetorical element used in the discussion of interracial relationships is that of scientific tone. Of the four articles examined, only one shows evidence of this element. To some that might demonstrate that adding a twist of science into an argument is not as persuasive considering many people today do not believe in scientific methods or practices. However, Burnette, the author of The Strengths of Mixed-Race Relationships believes it helps capture the audience. Burnette probably uses a scientific method because some would understand why interracial relationships last if they saw that certain actions have reactions. For instance, she says “Despite the inherent difficulties of mixing two cultures into one romantic union, some mixed-race couples actually have stronger relationships as a result of the unique experiences they endure.” (Burnette, 1) The key phrase in this is “as a result” because it is much like a scientific experiment in its own sense. All in all, using a touch of science might persuade some people because they would better understand the reasons of interracial success if they knew what caused it to be a success.

Before I actually researched this topic, I had my opinion formulated beforehand. I have nothing other than complete support for two people of different racial backgrounds dating one another. There are so many negative vibrations all over the world because of violence and hatred that it hurts very much when someone puts another down for loving someone. It should be enough that someone gives a certain other great happiness in life and that happiness is what the world needs more of. Additionally, people might think that biracial couples are a mismatch; well, what can people say about a white man and a white woman marrying and then divorcing a month later? Is this not a mismatch as well? Marriage is a very honorable thing to do and is disrespected by the act of divorce more often with same race couples than mixed race couples.

The human race is all one species and therefore humans are all related somehow just as all birds are related in some way. Some may argue that the children of a biracial couple have to go through many dilemmas and must cope with negative societal acceptance. These incidents occur in small numbers in today’s world and people dwell on these few scenarios, well what about the big picture? Members of the Caucasian race are more opposed to interracial relationships because the children that result are supposedly not “white” in their appearance. Well, anyone who agrees with this is and still advocates that image is not everything is a hypocrite. The reason I say this is because I have noticed that society is pushing hard against the “image is everything” notion and is trying to persuade society into judging a person by who he/she is inside. Interracial relationships are usually formed for the same reasons as same race relationships are, because each person in the relationship adores the other. Yet, this biracial couple is still despised by many because the one of them is a little darker or a little different than the “common” image of the other.

I have grown up with this issue eating me up because my parents are a biracial couple. My mother is Caucasian (German) and my father is African American-Caucasian mixed, so I am 25% African American. I know I am going to become a benefit to society and if interracial relationships were banned, the world would never be able to benefit from what I can offer. The future is curious to many and if we were allowed to see, say, ten years ahead and we saw that a biracial child found the cure for AIDS, would people then accept interracial mixing? The point is that there is a reason for the interaction of different races, if it is for the greater good, then interracial relationships should not be argued about.

To sum up, interracial relationships is a very controversial issue that is discussed here by first describing the issue, then analyzing it rhetorically, and later revealing an opinion in a persuasive manner. Everyone has an opinion about biracial couples and there are valid and logical arguments for both sides. There are some situations that occur when two people are trying to persuade one another to believe their side. Situations like this should be handled in formative and logical ways not by arguing. Society is full of debatable issues that need resolving and we tend to do this violently. The world will always have controversy but how it is handled is what matters in the long run.

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