Black and white students at Wilcox County High School in south Georgia aren't allowed to go to the same prom. Instead, students and parents sponsor segregated proms — yep, in 2013 — and kids that break the skin-dress code are barred entry from the caucasian rager. A mixed-race group of friends who hang out all of the time but can't wear corsages and dance to Top 40 together are trying to encourage their peers to participate in a radical social experiment called NOT BEING RACIST.
"We're embarrassed, it's embarrassing, yeah it's kind of embarrassing," Stephanie Sinnot, Mareshia Rucker, Quanesha Wallace, and Keela Bloodworth told WSFA. "We are all friends, that's just kind of not right that we can't go to prom together."
Uh, they're embarrassed? Wilcox County High School officials are the ones who should be beyond embarrassed, since, last we checked, Brown v. Board of Education declared segregation unconstitutional in 1954. But since the proms aren't financed by or hosted at the school (they're sponsored by the students and parents), the administration says there's nothing it can do. Officials have offered a resolution to permit an integrated prom — big of them, right? — but won't stop segregated proms or even take a stance on the issue.
A biracial student was actually turned away by police at the white prom last year. And when the school decided to elect only one pair for homecoming queen and king for the first time this school year — mmhmm, homecoming is segregated, too — and one of the integrated prom-organizing students won, she still wasn't allowed to attend the white homecoming. The king and queen took separate pictures for the school yearbook.
"When people around here are set in their ways, they are not too adamant to change," Rucker said. That's why they're taking charge. "If we don't change it, nobody else will," Bloodworth said. They're organizing a prom for all on April 27th — If you want to learn more, check out their Facebook — but not everyone is ready for intermingling. "I actually put up posters for the integrated prom and we've had people ripping them down at the school," Bloodworth said.
My instinctive early morning pre-coffee response to their plight was to 1) yell "FUCKING CHRIST" at my computer and 2) get back into bed. But segregated proms are unfortunately nothing new, and we can do better than swearing at inanimate objects and hiding under the covers in the face of mind-boggling injustice. Internet: donate to the cause by clicking right here.
Do they throw segregated proms in your area/where you grew up? Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.