Wednesday, April 3, 2013


WSAV: News, Weather, and Sports for Savannah, GA

         Seriously?  There are still places in America where black and white high school kids can't attend the same school prom?

         Yep.  Wilcox County High School in Rochelle, Georgia, hasn't quite made the leap to integrated school proms yet.  Last year a biracial student was escorted from the premises when he attempted to attend the "white" prom instead of the "black" prom across town.

         Many of the students rightly think this is ridiculous, and want to drag their school (kicking and screaming) into the latter part of the 20th century, if not entirely into the current one.  The school claims this has nothing to do with school policy and is completely a decision local parents have insisted upon over the years, making it "traditional".

         Well, shit... having black folks picking cotton under the whips of white folks was "traditional" for years, too.  So were laws requiring separate but equal schools, and water fountains for whites and other fountains for "colored" people.  Traditional.  Like fireworks on the Fourth of July.

          I was reading accounts of the latest squabble about this prom thing in Georgia and had to stop myself from involuntarily shaking my head from side to side as I read. 


          The kids who are trying to integrate this year's prom say posters they've hung up at school to advertise the mixed race prom have repeatedly been ripped down.  Kids who have played on the same integrated high school athletics teams are now standing on separate sides of an emotional debate that borders on violence. 

           And the people who ought to know better, the adults of the community, are cowed into silence because of the hard-ankle attitudes of a few racist assholes who can't fathom a world in which black and white kids dance on the same floor to the same music.

            According to some articles, the school also holds separate homecoming ceremonies.  Black homecoming here, white homecoming there.  And friends who do everything together any other night of the year have to ask one another how the other person's party turned out, because they're not allowed to attend themselves.

            If there's anyone out there who thinks this is a reasonable situation in this day and age, I'd LOVE to hear from them.



jadedj said...

Yep...shaking my head from side to side with this one. That, ahem, "aside", this is a private school, right? I mean it's not sustained with PUBLIC monies, right. Surely black don't pay taxes there in ol' Rottenchelle, right?

So, it's OK to be a racist if your neighbors are racists too, right? The 21st Century and oxymoron in and of itself.

RepubAnon said...

If I remember correctly, the prom is a "private" function, technically unaffiliated with the school. This excuse has been used to preserve racism for quite some time.

My suggestion would be to have the "black" prom become the "everyone is welcome" prom rather than have a third, integrated prom. The "white" prom could be sponsored by the KKK.

squatlo said...

How 'bout this? Kids boycott proms and homecomings that aren't integrated? Once a school and a community get a whiff of what it's like for kids to organize and IGNORE "traditions" they find abhorent, those traditions will change.

Kids should bitch long and loud about this nonsense until all the Bridezilla moms who can't wait to see their kids in their prom dresses and tuxes realize there will be no expensive "dress up" party for them to get all wound up over unless they allow integrated functions.
I promise you: proms and homecomings mean a hell of a lot more to certain mommies (living vicariously through their kids) than they do to the kids themselves. If young people refuse to participate unless the policies are changed, they'll change overnight.

Ron said...

The homecoming thing is stupid, but not the proms. Understand that the "white only" prom is not a school function - it's a private party. The parents rent a hall and pay for everything themselves.

Now I think it's a lousy thing to do, and a bad lesson for their kids, but it's a private party. No different from having a party at your house - you should be able to choose whom you invite.

If I have some of my co-workers over for a beer, am I obligated to let everyone from the company in to my house? Of course not.

This is no different. I don't like them doing it, any more than, say, I like a church spending millions on a crystal cathedral and almost nothing on helping the poor.

But in both cases it's their money and they can do what they want with it. Burn some crosses, wave the confederate flag, go nuts. As long as they aren't harming anyone else, let 'em be as stupid as they want to be.

squatlo said...

Ron, why is it called a school prom if it's basically a private party? I don't remember any school event at my high school that was organized, coordinated, and managed by people not affiliated with the school. If it had our school's endorsement, the school had a say in how it was run. It's called the school prom because it's an annual event for the kids of the local high school.
What we've got in this case is a convenient way for a school district to ignore societal pressures to integrate functions by merely claiming it's "out of our control". Total bullshit.

If the school announced tomorrow that there would be an integrated prom or there would be no prom, that would be the end of the story (other than the hand-wringing and wailing by folks who can't handle the reality of social progress). Anyone who didn't like the new "tradition" could go off and organize any fucking event they wanted to organize, but they damn sure couldn't call it the school prom.