Let me make one thing clear before getting into this story: I am not anti-America. I think America can (and should) stand for good in this world, however, I also believe that parts of it are absolutely not doing that. I am, alternatively, pro-people; I believe in universal human rights – like having the freedoms of speech and mobility, as well as the right to a due process if accused of some crime, and the right to unbiased decisions based on race, creed or sexual orientation. These last rights, however, are still regularly being ignored and, despite the fact that equality is at an all-time high in not only North America, but the world (though I’m not blind to the lengths we as a species still need to go), sexual and racial biases, even segregation, continue to persist.
While it may not only be America that is guilty of these egregious missteps in relation to what is becoming more and more socially acceptable and normal, it is America that is in the spotlight.
First, the issue – a high school in Wilcox county, Georgia, holds annually two proms: one for the black students, and one for the white students. This high school, however, has not broken any civil rights laws as these proms are funded by the parents and students within the school, thereby making them hosts of the events, and thereby responsible for their message. The school, however, does condone these segregated dances, and has some form of input as to their running.
1950s or Wilcox County, Georgia, this afternoon? You decide.
The reason that this is only now in the media’s spotlight is because several students at this school, specifically four girls who are best friends (of which two are white, and two of African-American descent), have taken it upon themselves to raise the money for the school’s first integrated prom. This means that, until the year 2013, no student, parent, or educational/governmental group in the area has made any kind of serious effort to put on a prom that would see all students get to attend the same dance, regardless of race or creed. Furthermore, the school also holds separate homecoming events for each race.
“We are all friends,” one of the girls told the local press. “That’s just kind of not right that we can’t go to prom together.”
Now, I’m not a doctor. I’m also not a rocket scientist, civil rights expert, or law-maker, but when a few 16 year old girls are the only people making rational statements to the press about the right or wrongness of separating students by race, and in the year 2013 mind you, it may be time to reevaluate your whole approach to life. Look around, Georgia… America… times have changed and (holy shit) it’s about time you did too.
If at this point you’re asking yourself why some sort of protest hasn’t happened, here’s your answer: last year, when a bi-racial student attempted to attend the white-only prom, police were called in to ask him to leave the premises. In the school’s own lame attempt to unify this school, however, this year they have decided that there will be only one prom king and one prom queen – thought it won’t really make a difference as the Queen is a black student and the King is a white student, so they’ll never have a dance together and were not even allowed to be photographed together for the school yearbook.
If you aren’t disgusted yet, this: the four girls who have bravely taken on the task of holding this integrated prom have run into some problems along the way… the girls, after putting posters up in the halls for the integrated prom have actually had “people ripping them down at the school” probably out of a fear of change or just because whythefucknot.
Is it time for a country-wide standard on these types of issues? I hesitate, as well, to use the word “issues” because, really, why is it even an issue at all? Just when you think we, as a people, have grown up, have found some common sense, or otherwise changed for the better, you stumble upon a story like this and it feels like maybe we deserve to be blind-sided by a continent-sized asteroid.
As far as I’m concerned the focus should be on whether this segregation is right-or-wrong on the whole, and the answer, I think, is fairly black and white.