Thursday, April 04, 2013

Georgia students fight for school’s first desegregated prom

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Prom girls (stock photo)

Scenes from a post-racial America, specifically in Rochelle, Georgia:

Stephanie and Keela are white and Mareshia and Quanesha are black. They're seniors at Wilcox County High School, a school that has never held an integrated prom during its existence.

"There's a white prom and there's an integrated prom," said Keela.

The rule is strictly enforced, any race other than Caucasian wouldn't dare to attend the white prom.

"They would probably have the police come out there and escort them off the premises," said Keela.

That was the case just last year as a biracial student was turned away by police. It's been that way for as long as anyone can remember and it doesn't stop at prom. Homecoming is also segregated. Normally, there would be a court for each race, but for the first time the school decided to elect only one homecoming court, Quanesha won. But there were still two separate dances.


There will still be two proms this year. Neither proms are financed by or allowed to take place at Wilcox County High School. The students said that when they pushed for one prom, the school offered a resolution to permit an integrated prom that would allow all students to attend but not stop segregated proms.

Well, that’s odd. I just checked, and indeed, I didn’t somehow wake up in the early 1900s this morning.

Luckily, the students are paving the way for progress, though they’re finding it much harder than it should be in 20-fucking-13 to get a government-sponsored, publicly funded institution to drop the whole segregation thing [EDIT: 04/07/13 12:32 PM ET – I just realized my error: The proms aren’t school-sponsored, but are private-funded events organized by the community, instead, which is the only reason this shit is legal]:

So the girls are taking matters into their own hands.

"If we don't change it nobody else will," said Keela.

They're part of a group of students organizing a prom for everyone to attend, called the "Integrated Prom", but everyone is not fond of the idea.

"I put up posters for the "Integrated Prom" and we've had people ripping them down at the school," said Keela.

The group says they will continue to make progress even though there doesn't seem to be much motivation to change.

"We need to stick with the tradition," Quanesha said mockingly. "This is a traditional thing we don't need to change and stuff like that, but why? No one can answer my question.

"Exactly," responded Keela. "They think nothing's broken so don't fix it."

It remains to be seen whether the people of Wilcox County will remain steadfast in their pro-segregationist beliefs now that the media and Internet are about to bring a little more scrutiny upon their bigoted heads than they’re used to.

The world is a disturbing place sometimes.

(via Wonkette)