So I was reading the local papers online, and I came across the story of a Wilcox County High School in Georgia having their very first integrated prom. I was like, “What the heck are they talking about?” I know that racism and bias exists. However, I never thought that after Brown vs Board of Education and the resulting desegregation of schools, that things like this were still going on in this country. That was almost 60 years ago today.
After Wilcox County High School was integrated through the Brown vs Board of Education decision that outlawed segregation in schools, the school ended their sponsorship of proms and instead left it up to the parents and the community to devise their own proms. Consequently a “white prom” and a “black prom” were born.
They claim that this is not a school sanctioned activity. That is a bunch of “malarkey” to borrow a word from the venerable Joe Biden. Many schools in Georgia are just completing their state standardized tests, and I know that in 5th grade the teachers are expected to cover issues surrounding slavery, Civil War, Reconstruction and Civil Rights. I wonder what those teachers teach their kids. This is so backwards, it is hard to imagine. The students must think that their elders and leaders are a bunch of hypocrites.
There was also a 2009 movie made that showed the first integrated prom at the Charleston, Mississippi High School. Take a look at the video clip below.
The main takeaway from the film is that the students don’t want to segregate themselves, but some of the parents and the educators wanted to keep the tradition of segregated proms alive. Maybe segregation allows them to feel better about themselves?
I am guessing the events in Georgia are synonymous to the Mississippi Area High School back at their 2008 integrated prom. Some insightful and stunning information can be gleaned from the video, allowing you to learn more about why segregation is widely accepted in that community and maybe pockets of communities across the country.
Some of the students who led the organization to have the integrated prom appeared on Democracy Now and spoke in dismay of the lack of support they have received from political leaders in the capital who have been tight lipped on the students’ efforts to have a better community. One question is, where are the religious leaders? The students started a Facebook page that is pushing close to 30, 000 likes at this time. They have since received national and international support for their efforts, raising money, hearts and admiration for their efforts.
An advocacy group called Better Georgia rallied to the students’ aid and tried to garner support for their efforts by contacting Governor Deal’s office, seeking him to come out in support of the students. Instead of offering support to the students and their concern, Deal’s spokesman Brian Robinson responded by attacking the supports of the integrated prom saying, “This is a leftist front group for the state Democratic party, and we’re not going to lend a hand to their silly publicity stunt.” Governor Deal later clarified his spokeman’s statement by saying to the AJC,
I believe that anything that’s associated with a school should not have the distinction or discrimination made based on race or gender or any other separation, but it appears to me that the parents and students have worked that out on their own, as they should.
A look at the website of the Wilcox County School System paints the picture of a very integrated and uniform school system and community. The system’s belief charter states in part:
Students who are taught moral and ethical values will develop mutual respect for all people.
Students learn best in a safe, stimulating, and motivating environment.
A positive, caring school climate, parental involvement, and supportive community nurture everyone’s self-esteem.
And their Alma Mater states:
In the center of our county,
Reared against the sky,
Proudly stands our alma mater,
As the years go by,
May she guide and teach us always,
Truth is freedom’s call,
As we strive for higher learning,
Wilcox is for all.
This issue of holding the FIRST integrated prom in 2013 is a humble reminder of the fallacy of man. I found it quite contrary that there was so much praying going on in the Mississippi video, and I am thinking that it is not much different in Wilcox and other “Wilcox’s” across the country. Who are they praying to? What would Jesus think about all the Wilcox County Schools and other defenders of segregation across the country? I wonder which prom He would go to.
I hope that this is a step in the right direction for that community, and not just that community, but for every single one of us who may hold prejudices against other people. I am sure that the parents of Wilcox County are not the only ones who think that way. Maybe there are many Bible-touting, Jesus-loving, people-hating people out there.