Her Campus at GSU's (HC GSU) Spring Semester Pink Week concluded yesterday with a panel discussion about dating and relationships in today’s society with a focus on the black community. The panel was comprised of representatives from the NAACP GSU Chapter, SHE: Sisters Helping Each Other, B.L.A.C.K, the Black Student Alliance, and—yours truly—HC GSU. Professor Tarell Kyles moderated the event, asking some juicy questions that stirred the pot, to say the least.
The panel went over some very relevant topics and gave the audience some insight into dating that I didn't have before. When asked about how social media affects dating, our very own on the panel offered a perspective that analyzed the way we tend to look at social media. Vice President, Kaylah Oates-Marable, chimed in to add reasoning that defines the role social media plays in relationships. “I feel like social media creates unrealistic expectations for people in their relationships. I mean, all these [couples] have YouTube channels, there are cute couples’ pages on your Instagram Explore page, and everyone’s like ‘Oh, I want my boyfriend to be like this,’ and ‘why isn’t my boyfriend like that?’ and you don’t know what’s really going on in these people’s relationships.” She went on to explain the very real aspect of people putting a facade on the internet just for instant fame and clout. She concluded by saying, “No one knows what goes on behind closed doors.”
The conversation segued into the topic of sliding in someone’s DMs: yay or nay? B.L.A.C.K.'s Sierra Reece mentioned that the culture and dynamic of dating have both changed, one of the reasons for that shift being technology. She suggested going with the flow of things and challenged the ladies in the audience to shoot their shot. She gave women something to think about when it comes to sliding in their crushes DMs: “What do we have to lose?” SHE's Jheanelle Girvan seconded that notion; she made it clear that she goes after what she wants and encouraged other women to do the same. “[A man] might want to tiptoe, but I’m taking all ten steps,” she added.
Photography Courtesy of Courtney Marie
Prof. Kyles dug a bit deeper about what goes down in the DMs and asked our panel if their parents were role models for the kind of relationships they would want for themselves. While the panel seemed to be pretty consistent before, this question added some range to the kind of answers the audience received. We won’t go too in-depth about everyone’s specific personal experiences, but it was really a point of realization for a lot of the audience members. Some of the panelists struggled with their parents’ being married but not maintaining a healthy relationship. One panelist admired the love her parents had for each other, but the fact that she was mediating their arguments wasn’t sitting well with her. Another panelist expressed his appreciation for his parents’ courage to separate and find what they wanted in other people. However, with so many different situations, one thing was apparent: the panelists want to break the generational patterns they notice in their families relationships.
One of the more controversial questions discussed was the panelists’ ideas about interracial dating. Kaylah brought up a point I think many people don’t consider because they don't struggle with being biracial like she has growing up. To give context, Kaylah’s mother is white and her father is black. “I’ve seen so much microaggression and racism in my household from my mother,” she said. “I know my mom loves me and I know she’s not racist. But to constantly tell me to straighten my hair for interviews because it looks better is something I had to grow up with.” She talked about her experience discovering self-love and dating outside her race saying, “Nobody loves me like a black man loves me.” Sierra offered a different perspective through her experience dating outside her race. She revealed that when dating a Hispanic man, she felt like she didn’t have to question whether or not he had feelings for her or wanted to spend time with her. She also made the point that in order to liberate your own race, you have to be able to have intimate conversations with other marginalized groups. In doing so you can begin to share knowledge about how other oppressed people are working toward liberation.
Last night’s panel was insightful and definitely one for the books! After a conversation this deep, I think it’s safe to say Pink Week ended on a thoughtful note.
Photograph Courtesy of Kayla Accoo
If you were unable to attend HC GSU's Pink Week this semester, be on the lookout for the next week-long celebration this upcoming Fall. For the latest updates, be sure to follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.