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Racially Integrated Prom. . . what? in 2013?

http://schoolsofthought.blogs.cnn.com/2013/04/05/big-plans-for-georgia-students-first-racially-integrated-prom/

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Wilcox County High School in the southern part of Georgia will be hosting their first racially intergraded prom.  Wait, why is there discussion about a racially intergraded prom in 2013?

History:
The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution was adopted on July 9, 1868 only three years after the end of the Civil War.

The Equal Protection clause of the Fourteen Amendment states, “. . . No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States. . . nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

The wording of the Equal Protection Clause means that any institution receiving public funding, like a school, can no longer discriminate based on race.

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However, it was not until eight-six years later in Brown v. Board of Education (1954) that the Supreme Court ruled that legalized racial segregation of school children was unconstitutional.  Before Brown the courts had accepted “separate but equal,” but Brown ruled that separate schools were fundamentally unequal since they discriminated on race which made the children of color feel they were inferior.

Even with the ruling in Brown it took a second case Brown v. Board of Education II in 1954 to begin implementation.  However Brown II left it up to local authorities to desegregate.  Many local authorities did not want to desegregate.  Many local authorities simply shut down entire districts.  The white parents sent their children to private white schools and many of the people of color were left without an educational option for years.

Another Supreme Court case Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg came in 1970.  A full sixteen years after Brown a North Carolina school district with over 14,000 students had schools that were all or 99 percent people of color.  The Court made another ruling and forced integration.

However, it appears the Court was unable to reach the prom.  The reason why the Court cannot reach the prom is because the Court mostly focused on ‘de jure’ discrimination which is discrimination written in the law. For example, “school A will have white students, and school B will have non-white students.”   ‘De facto’ discrimination or discrimination in practice is nearly outside the reach of the Court.  Just take a look as the Detroit Public Schools.  While the northern whites were cheering on desegregation in the south, Detroit was probably the most racial segregated school system in the country.

I fully support Quanesha Wallace in her creations of a desegregated prom.  Similar to segregated schools, segregated proms are societal institutions that perpetuate a cycle of oppression and privilege.

2

Segregated proms are clearly racist.

Wilcox County High School should hold a desegregated prom and forbid the advertisement of a segregated prom on campus.  Further, there is possible legal action that can be taken against the place holding the segregated prom and the coordinators who organize the segregated prom.

3

I am glad Quanesha Wallace was able to bring attention to this subject and I wish her well.


6 Comments

  1. lkkeilma says:

    Whoa… Thanks for posting.

  2. alanar2013 says:

    A segregated prom is the craziest and most ridiculous thing I have ever heard of! I have always had a bad taste in my mouth for the south, this story just solidifies why. My first experience with the south was when I was a young child and my family and I went to Mississippi for a family reunion. We stopped at a rest stop in the outskirts of Mississippi and went in to order food. I was in the middle of my mother and father holding their hands. I looked around and pretty much all the other customers were staring at us. (I guess I should mention that my mother is a very fair skinned Mexican American woman and my father is a Black man) I noticed that one older white man was giving me such a hateful look that I almost started crying. My mother picked me up and we went back into the car while my father got our food. That one experience stayed with me for my whole life, I know not all the south shares racist feelings however I am fine with never going back to the there.

    Back to the segregated prom, what would biracial kids do? Which Prom would they go to? Or what about kids who are in international relationships, do they just not go to prom with their boyfriend, or girlfriend?

  3. kimmiepie66 says:

    This is unbelievable! How far we have come is by NO means equal with how far we have to go. My fiance made me watch an old TV interview with Bruce Lee from 1971. In it, the interviewer asks about racism and Lee explains that “We need to understand that, under the sky, we are all brothers. We just don’t all happen to look the same.” Forty-two years later and some of us still don’t understand this.

  4. hebasha says:

    I remember I had heard this story earlier from a friend and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. A racially integrated prom is still banned? My distaste for the south has only grown stronger. It also reminds me of the story I heard of Willis Ward and Gerald Ford in the University of Michigan Football team. In 1941, Georgia Tech’s football team demanded that Willis Ward, the only black player of UM’s football team and the first black player in 40 years of UM football history, be benched for the game against the University of Michigan, or they would refuse to play the scheduled game. Gerald Ford, Ward’s close friend, stood up for him, and pointed out that if Ward was benched, he [Ford] would refuse to play. The team later awarded him award for MVP because of his loyalty to his teammates and the University of Michigan Wolverine name.

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