As both plays are told within the time frame of the 1960s, the mentioning of such relationships would prove essential in terms of achieving a greater understanding about the era of that time. The Vietnam War would be in full swing and the introduction of the civil rights act, would allow for the opportunity for individuals of African American descent, to have the opportunity to experience things that their ancestors would not have been able to do before them, such as vote. The introduction of such debate into the national debate would create greater commentary on the part of both sides of the racial landscape. In Leroi Jones' 'Dutchman' & 'The Slave', he would seek to illustrate the intricacies of the relationships that inter-racial couples seek to have. This period of time in the 20th century, would serve as a deciding point for many in the nation as a whole. The decision of where they stood in their own cultures and also, where they stood in terms of their ability to be involved with one another in terms of being romantically involved.
In the 'Dutchman', the play begins with the introduction between Clay and Lula. Clay is an African American man, while Lula is a Caucasian woman. The characters are introduced by means of their presence aboard a cable car and the action taken by Lula of sitting down next to Clay. The flirty level of dialogue exchanged between both characters, as the train was moving along, would be an example of engaging in an intimate relationship with one another, without the inclusion of the physical aspects, or at least in the beginning. Just as both genders would find themselves with different perceptions about things, so would be the case for members of differing nationalities. The character of Lula would take a more physical response toward the character of Clay, in terms of initiating their intimate contact. When Clay proceeded to make an idle comment about the action taken on the part of Lula, in terms of her grabbing his crotch, she would proceed back to sitting in her seat and take a differing behavior pattern as a result.
Most tellingly, Lula utters the following lines, "What've you got that tie on in all this heat for And why're you wearing a jacket and tie like that Did your people ever burn witches or start revolutions over the price of tea Boy, those narrow-shoulder clothes come from a tradition you ought to feel oppressed by. A three-button suit. What right do you have to be wearing a three-button suit and stripped tie Your grandfather was a slave, he didn't go to Harvard," (Leroi Jones, "The Slave" in Dutchman and The slave: two plays by LeRoi Jones (New York, Harper Perennial, 1964, p. 18). The action of relying upon the inevitable issues between the races at this period in time would ultimately outline the contentious nature that some exhibited towards one another and how the 1960s would prove to be a defining moment for the cause of inter-racial relations.
In the eyes of history, men of color would be seen differently, than what would have been thought of those who would have had lighter skin. The issue of sex and relationships would be important to the overall discussion of race and racism, in that through means of considering the racial aspect, it would filter through the general discussion of the roles that people are to play. Not only those that are expected of themselves by outside forces