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Georgia High School Holds First Racially Integrated Prom, But Let’s Lay Off The Hate For Southerners, Kay?

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promYes, you read the headline correctly, and no, you didn’t slip through some freaky time warp last night and wake up in 1965. Wilcox County High School held its first ever racially integrated prom last night, thanks to the efforts of its progressive students.

From Colorlines:

The students from the small town in rural south Georgia called attention to their efforts by starting a Facebook page that has more than 24,000 “likes.” The “Integrated Prom” page says it represents a group of adamant high school seniors” who “want to make a difference” in their community.

“For the first time in the history of our county, we plan to have an integrated prom,” the Facebook page’s description reads.

Before you get all irate at the school for letting segregation go on, you must know that prom in Wilcox County is, and always has been, organized privately by students and parents. Still, I’ve already read comments over the internet that seem intent on bashing southerners for their backwards thinking. Take this comments, from Jezebel: “I had no idea that racial segregation was still officially institutionalized in some places in the US! My mind is blown. I’m kind of sad and happy. Sad that it took this long, happy that it finally happened.”

And then this, also from Jez, “Wait…There are STILL U.S. cities in this day and age that have racial segregation as an ACTUAL thing, and not just as a social undertone? WTH!”

Maybe it’s just because I live in southwestern Missouri, or because I know from living all over this country that there are both inclusive, kind-hearted people and racist bigots living everywhere, but this kind of blanket rhetoric about the south or “certain cities” upsets me.

Not to burst anyone’s idealist bubble, but segregation is very much alive. There are still separate predominantly white and black neighborhoods, schools, gyms and churches in every city. Just because it’s not publicly sanctioned or enforced doesn’t make it any less real. So let’s focus on the positive thing, here, which is that a group of kids took it into their own hands to challenge tradition and make a difference, rather than stewing over the notion that southerners are all uneducated hillbillies.

(photo: Monkey Business Images/shutterstock)