Dealing with your own bias towards interracial dating

Morris Dees, Esq. Civil Rights Attorney, shares advice on how people can handle their own racial bias towards interracial dating
How To Deal WIth Your Own Bias Towards Interracial Dating
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Dealing with your own bias towards interracial dating

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As America becomes more diverse, we are going to have more inter-racial relationships, dating, marriage. In one of the movies that was done - "Guess who's coming for dinner" - that was a movie that kind of broached that subject. A white girl brings a black guy home for dinner. It's a famous movie back in the '50s, I think. And it's going to simply happen, because young people today, in an integrated environment, are going to look at a person who is, say, African American or Asian or Latino. And they are going to look at each other. And they form relationships based on friendships. How nice is Billy or Bob or Sam or Willie, or Nu, Ivan or this is Chang. And they are going to look at that. And when they see that they are nice and treat them nice, and make them feel good, the romantic relationships can follow. When I grew up back in the 1940s, and '50s in Alabama, it was a real taboo. There were State laws that prevented inter-racial marriage, and the US Supreme Court had to strike that down. But since this data today tells us that people are more and more involved in inter-racial relationships, all since this information that a lot of people are asked are you Caucasian, are you African American, all these different things. A lot of people are checking none of the above, because people are so mixed up. But quite frankly, you know, skin color and race is a real abstract concept. We are all essentially the same.

Morris Dees, Esq. Civil Rights Attorney, shares advice on how people can handle their own racial bias towards interracial dating

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Morris Dees, Esq.

Civil Rights Attorney

Morris Dees was born in 1936 in Shorter, Alabama, the son of cotton farmers. As a young boy he worked the fields with blacks, witnessing first-hand social and economic depravation and Jim Crow treatment at its worst. While at the University of Alabama Law School, he met Millard Fuller. The two formed a highly successful publishing company during their time in law school. After graduation, they moved the business to Montgomery, Alabama.  Fuller left the company in 1965 and later founded Habitat for Humanity. Mr. Dees continued the business and also began taking controversial civil rights cases. Mr. Dees sold his publishing company to a major national firm in 1970 and formed the Southern Poverty Law Center, along with Julian Bond and Joseph Levin. Early Center cases included integrating the Alabama State Troopers and desegregating the Montgomery YMCA. The Center, funded by donations from over 300,000 citizens across the nation, quickly grew into one of America’s most successful and innovative public interest law firms. In 1980, the Center founded the Intelligence Project in response to resurgence in organized racist activity. The project monitors hate groups and develops legal strategies for protecting citizens from violence-prone groups. A made-for-television movie about Mr. Dees aired on NBC; “Line of Fire” describes his successful fight against the Ku Klux Klan. It included the $7 million precedent-setting judgment against the United Klans of America on behalf of the mother of Michael Donald, a young black man lynched by the Klan in Mobile, Alabama. Wayne Rogers portrayed him in the feature film, “Ghosts of Mississippi,” about the murder of civil rights worker Medgar Evers. Other victories against hate groups include a $6 million judgment that bankrupted the Aryan Nations, a $12.5 million jury verdict against the California-based White Aryan Resistance for the death of a black student and a $26 million verdict against the Carolina Klan for burning black churches. Klansmen burned the Center offices in 1983. The arsonists were convicted but not before their leader plotted to kill Mr. Dees. More than thirty men have since been imprisoned for plots to harm him or destroy Center property.  This threat requires a high degree of security during public appearances. To promote acceptance and tolerance, the Center founded Teaching Tolerance in 1990. Over 80,000 schools use the project’s free videos and teaching materials and over 400,000 teachers receive the award winning Teaching Tolerance magazine. The Center has won two Oscars for its tolerance education films and received five Oscar nominations. Mr. Dees believes that it is important to teach tolerance in the classroom as well as fight hate in the courtroom. Mr. Dees has received numerous awards in conjunction with his work.  The U.S. Jaycees chose him as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of America for his early business success.  Trial Lawyers for Public Justice named him Trial Lawyer of the Year in 1987. In 2009, he was inducted into the Trial Lawyers’ Hall of Fame by the American Trial Lawyers’ Association. The American Bar Association honored him this year (2012) with the ABA Medal. Mr. Dees is the author of three books, A Lawyer's Journey, his autobiography; Hate on Trial; and Gathering Storm: America’s Militia Threat. He remains actively engaged in litigation. He and his wife live in Montgomery, Alabama. 

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