COMMENTARY | Sometimes you just have to give credit where credit is due. Acknowledge when people have worked as hard as they can work to keep something going, no matter the odds.
In this case, “credit” might be a bit of a misnomer, given a rural Georgia’s county’s fight to remain firmly lodged in 1953, no matter what the calendar says.
Reports Raw Story, Wilcox County High School will be having its first ever integrated prom on April 27. Yes, 2013.
And no, I don’t mean technologically integrated, “part of the curriculum” integrated or the first prom where gay students are welcome to bring their same-sex dates. Nope.
It’s Wilcox County High School’s very first racially integrated prom.
How, you wonder? Well, apparently after the Supreme Court declared “Separate but Equal” unconstitutional in Brown v. The Board of Education, it seems that the school district figured that it may be forced to allow kids to learn together, but by Jimminy Crow, they weren’t going to dance together. So the school reportedly cancelled its prom, and parents have hosted private, racially segregated parties ever since.
It’s like the wisdom of the ages being handed down from generation to generation, only the exact opposite of wisdom, in that it’s cultivated ignorance, and instead of being “handed” it’s more like “shoved down the gullet” of the next generation.
Until this generation. This generation said no more, and organized the prom themselves.
You’ve got to love the power of new ideas in the face of dusty, crumbling, useless old ones. These kids have come from generations who did exactly as the generation before told them to do, who shunned others who were different and didn’t seem to question why, even in this modern era.
Segregation in education has been dead for nearly 60 years, and like some forgotten group cloistered in isolation, or Brendan Fraser in “Blast from the Past,” — take your pick — the people of this Georgia county have hidden themselves in a bomb shelter made of irrationality. They’ve stuck to the ancient canned food for thought in fear of an imaginary threat, and meanwhile the world has passed them by.
Meanwhile, their children took a long look at the rusted bolt on the door and figured it was time to get out that musty, stale place. We need to recognize the courage it took for them to do so, given that their corner in time isn’t the same as our corner in time. No doubt they faced resistance from their parents and peers, because often, the status quo, no matter how outdated, no matter how out of sync, is easier than trying something new.
So welcome to the 21st century, kids of Wilcox County High School. May changing this one thing be the start to a whole lifetime of being brave.