Segregation, still alive in Georgia

Watching HLN this morning I saw a blurb that I found difficult to believe, so I went to Google and found out that it was in fact real.

Apparently Wilcox County has separate proms, one for Black students and one for White students. You’d think this would no longer be an issue given it’s been 45 years to the day since Dr. King was assassinated and 59 years since Brown vs. Board of Ed. But here in GA, there is a county that still lives up to our negative stereotypes.

According to the article, the Superintendent doesn’t see these segregated, but private, proms as a problem and doesn’t plan on the school sponsoring an integrated prom in the near future. I find this attitude disturbing especially since the school district’s mission is “Educating and challenging today’s students to be tomorrow’s leaders.”

When I was a Boy Scout and later a Midshipman, one of the most common leadership techniques used was “lead by example.” Clearly these students have been given a poor example to follow.

The good news here is that there is a group of seniors that are working to overcome this poor leadership and host an integrated prom. They have been raising money without any school support so that they can bring their school into modern times. They have a Facebook group, but they’re up against a challenge.

I’m looking forward to the positive effects that can come out of this situation.  These kids have seen a wrong and are doing everything they can to correct it. It should say a lot about the courage and leadership that these young people possess to take on this issue.

Hopefully they will be an example to the apathetic leadership in their school district. Bravo Zulu. Job well done.

17 comments

  1. Trey A. says:

    Good for the kids doing the right thing.

    Of course, the reporting from CNN will miss the fact that we have lots of segregated proms in Georgia–even if they’re not explicitly so. Check out the proms in Fulton County, for instance. Banneker’s prom is just about all African American. And Milton’s is just about all white. Or compare the prom at North Forsyth (98% white according to Greatschools.net) to the one at Mays (98% black according to the same source).

    At least the kids at Wilcox County sit next to kids in class who don’t look exactly like them.

    Our schools are increasingly segregated. They’re bad in the metro Atlanta area and worse in other places. It’s not a good thing.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/school-segregation-sharply-increasing-studies-show/2012/09/22/5b34111a-04c6-11e2-91e7-2962c74e7738_blog.html

  2. Stefan says:

    Watching CNN, and even HLN is such a time saver, because you don’t actually have to independently verify everything you hear/see. I used to watch some of the others (MCNBC, Fox, etc) but really, who has the time to look all of it up?

    Also, Fitzgerald at least used to have a segregated prom as well. Was invited but never went.

  3. sockpuppet says:

    This isn’t segregation. This is freedom of association. No one is being harmed academically or economically by this. This is not an action of the state, nor is it an action of a business that is a public accommodation. They may call it a prom if they want, but it is actually a private party.

    • seenbetrdayz says:

      You should know that pretty much just went over everyone’s head here. But at least I get what you’re saying.

  4. MattMD says:

    If you were from Wilcox County, would this be the type of image you would want to present to the world? This is why people think the south is still a backwater.

    • sockpuppet says:

      @MattMD:

      Let me remind you of some words from Spike Lee. Spike Lee said that he didn’t become a controversial figure because he dealt with racism. Indeed, when Lee came along, the mainstream media and Hollywood were looking for a black angry filmmaker to promote the black liberal response to the Reagan/Bush era. Instead – and these are his own words – the mainstream media got mad at Lee because he showed that there was as much racism in the liberal north was there was in the conservative south. So, Lee making “Do The Right Thing” and “Jungle Fever” wasn’t the problem. Their problem was his setting those movies in New York City and not Mississippi.

      The rest of the country and the rest of the world – including the London’s Daily Mail, whose coverage of this incident falsely assumes that this is a government sponsored and sanctioned event rather than private parties – will continue to look down on the American south because doing so makes them feel better about themselves and help them ignore their own problems. For example, there was this article pretty much buried in the New York Times oped section about the very bad racism against blacks and segregation in Cuba. Do any of the many people – including not a few black academics – who romanticize Castro and Che Guevara talk about this? No. Nor do they talk about how little progress the European social democracies have made on race. England, France, Germany, Italy, Spain … they wouldn’t even elect a black person as mayor of a moderately important city, let alone president or prime minister. And go to Latin America and the Middle East … lots of those places still pretty much have Jim Crow type caste systems. Remember George W. Bush’s infamous “there are black people in Brazil?” comment when he visited there? A lot of people interpreted it as a “Bushism”, Bush misspeaking or speaking from ignorance, but he was actually slyly making social commentary on how badly blacks – and especially dark skinned blacks – are treated in Brazil. Not just them. Asian countries (Korea, China, Japan) also treat non-Asians living in their country very badly, especially blacks. Hines Ward tried to raise awareness about how terribly mixed race (half-black, half Korean) people like himself were treated in South Korea and the media just ignored it. The national and global media has an interest in claiming that America is the most racist country in the world and the south is the worst of the worst, but it simply isn’t true.

      So like they say, “haters gonna hate.” Folks in Wilcox County and everywhere else in the south are going to be painted as racist, ignorant or what have you no matter what they do. That is why the media is trying to pass this off as a public school sponsored event instead of a private party. If you report this as a private party, then you will have to talk about all the high society parties in New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Paris, Stuttgart etc. where you won’t find any black people except those serving drinks and hors d’oeuvres, if that. Or you would have to talk about all the restricted clubs that don’t allow blacks or Jews to join or even enter (unless they’re waiters or janitors) that a lot of prominent people, including progressives, are known to frequent, including such a club in Miami that Hillary Clinton’s brother is a member of and Bill Clinton visited as his guest (the media didn’t give that as much attention as it is giving this story, and a previous story about another private whites only prom in another Georgia county that made the media rounds a few years ago … gee wonder why).

      But it is a private party. The kids and whoever else behind it can invite whoever they want. If you think that trashing them for exercising their personal freedoms is going to satisfy people with their south-bashing agendas, you’re fooling yourself. Instead of going along with this in order to try to prove your progressive bona fides, you should demand that the people who put these stories in the mainstream media A) report the stories correctly and in context and B) reveal how many blacks they invited to their last birthday party, wedding reception or baby shower. I bet you will find that the very people castigating these Wilcox County people for refusing to invite blacks to their private party don’t invite any more blacks to their private social events either.

      • Harry says:

        Speaking of Cuba, it’s now close to majority black or mulatto but only a couple of the 38 top leaders are nonwhite.

        • Trey A. says:

          If you read up on history of the Spanish American War, you’ll find that Cuba’s race problem was more or less invented by the Americans who intervened. It’s fascinating stuff.

          Teddy Roosevelt–a pretty devout white supremacist like most of his late 19th century Harvard cohorts–helped portray the Cubans fighting for freedom from Spain as noble heros… Until he and the Americans intervened and discovered that most of the troops and–more importantly–their officers were mostly black and mixed race. With Americans on the ground, the reporting changed. Now the Cuban revolutionaries were untrained, undisciplined and dangerous–needing American white men to lead their efforts. This wasn’t true.

          The historical consensus is that the Cuban insurgents would have been successful in casting off the Spanish imperialists without any American intervention.

          Under American colonial rule, post-war Cuba adopted the then American caste system based on race. “The War Lovers” by Evan Thomas is a good book that goes into more detail. Another is “Imperial Cruise” by James Bradley (author of Flags of our Fathers).

          • sockpuppet says:

            @Trey A:

            The history of Cuba’s racism is largely irrelevant, as it is little different from our own history. And this also smacks of “blame everything on the white colonial imperialists” that we see to explain pretty much everything in the non-western world. The real issue is that the left – including black leaders in America – claimed that Castro’s revolution solved the racism problem. That is why they go around claiming that America needs to emulate Cuba’s economic and social reforms. There is actually MORE racism in the social democracies in Latin America, Africa and Europe (Canada is the single exception to this rule) and not less, America gets held out as being this exceptionally racist country because we aren’t a social democracy. That is what it is all about. The folks who talk about racism in America aren’t actually fighting racism, they are using the race issue to promote progressive politics. If they were concerned about fighting racism, they’d start in places like Brazil, Cuba and France. Not saying that the U.S. doesn’t have problems, but in the U.S. – including the south – a black man who completes college or trade school, stays out of trouble with the law and doesn’t father children out of wedlock can do pretty well for himself, and that includes the ability to leave Wilcox County for one of the “new south” cities like Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas or Miami as soon as he is 18. But in most other places in the world? Not so much. They’re stuck. Even in western Europe, they just stick you on welfare and in your public housing project and pretend that you don’t exist. Yes, western Europe does have much more generous welfare benefits than America does but it is still just sticking them on welfare and locking them out of the social and economic mainstream, which is your fate unless you can play soccer or jazz.

            People who traffic in stories like this really don’t care about black people, not black people in America or anywhere else, Trey A. It is time to acknowledge it and move on. You can also acknowledge that Wilcox County is far better for blacks than many neighborhoods in Chicago, Detroit, D.C. or New York City for that matter. So they won’t get a chance to attend a private “promenade” with their white “friends”, many of whom are no higher on the economic scale than the blacks are. It beats being shot dead by some gang member when getting back from the presidential inauguration, and then having the president that you were in D.C. to honor totally ignore the need to locate the criminal that killed you and give him the death penalty and instead exploit your fate to push gun control legislation that won’t stop a single gang member in Chicago or anywhere else from getting his hands on a Saturday night special to gun down the next honor student.

            Basically, talking about whites not inviting blacks to their little party in Wilcox County is preferable to talking about all the black on black homicides in Chicago and how the single mother culture in that area (and in Brunswick, Georgia where shooting babies and their mothers is apparently part of the gang initiation rites down there) is a major root cause of it. And it is preferable to talking about how the black population growth rate plummeted when the black abortion rate skyrocketed, and how Planned Parenthood clinics just happen to have the habit of locating themselves near black neighborhoods. Want to talk about the racism of Teddy Roosevelt? Fine, when abortion rights supporters do the same regarding Margaret Sanger.

            Sorry Trey A, but stories like this are bogus and are contributing to the problem rather than the solution. And you don’t need to be Newt “Obama is the food stamps president” Gingrich or Mitt “minorities voted for Obama because he gives them gifts” Romney to acknowledge it.

      • Trey A. says:

        Sockpuppet, you make valid arguments about racism around the world. Sure, the reporting is sensationalized. And yes, the media is missing a much bigger story.

        But the reason segregated private prom parties is a legitimate news story is the fact that there is a group of Wilcox County seniors who are trying to organize a racially integrated prom in the face of opposition by the school and the organizers of the private proms. That is newsworthy.

        • Napoleon says:

          I can see the organizers of the other private proms being opposed as it is business competition. Obviously there is a limited amount of consumers and the organizers of one or both of the other proms would see a third prom as competition.

          No excuse for the school to involve themselves.

        • seenbetrdayz says:

          I agree that the school shouldn’t be opposing this. Heck, let them have 3 proms if they want. If the school administration gets involved, then it becomes institutionalized.

    • seenbetrdayz says:

      Nothing quite like being mocked by a country where 99.99999999999% of the people are of the same ethnicity.

  5. sockpuppet says:

    @Trey A:

    Well you have a different notion of “newsworthy” than I do. People throwing private parties in small towns isn’t newsworthy. Maybe the gutlessness of the local school officials in their refusal to hold a school sponsored prom because they know that it will have to be integrated is, but if you ask me, that should be spun as an argument for charter schools or vouchers if you ask me. Free the kids from being forced to attend this institutionally racist government monopoly school and allow them to go to a charter or private school that holds an integrated prom. There, problem solved. Charter schools for progressive forward looking kids who want integrated proms! The white girls get to take black boys to the prom, and more importantly the black boys get a Booker T. Washington style vocational education so they’ll have the ability to get high paying jobs in this economy that they can use to put themselves through college without racking up a mountain of student loan debt. Sounds like a good idea right? Clinton and Obama – both of whom support charter schools even if a lot of the media types reporting this story don’t – would think so. Somehow, that isn’t the angle that the media is using to report this story. Why? Because they don’t care about black people. They only care about their progressive politics. And THAT is why this is newsworthy.

  6. seenbetrdayz says:

    I’d be interested in seeing what happens if there’s an integrated prom. I gotta tell you that we had an ‘integrated’ prom in our high school in Peach County, GA. Peach county is a case where probably 90% of the student population from Byron is white and 90% of the student population from Fort Valley is black. Fort valley has a primary and middle-school, Byron has a primary and middle school. They share a high school.

    So yeah, we had an ‘integrated prom’. But you’d get there and see most of the white kids standing with white kids and black kids standing with black kids. They must be racist, right?

    Well, no, not really. It was more simply a matter of kids associating with the kids they’d spend most of their school years with. There weren’t any cross burnings or black panther chants. But, I guess, in a liberal worldview, if you aren’t close friends with someone from another race, it automatically equates to hating their guts.

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