Monday, April 23, 2007

coincidence, or causality?

ASHBURN, Georgia (CNN) -- Students of Turner County High School started what they hope will become a new tradition: Black and white students attended the prom together for the first time on Saturday.

In previous years, parents had organized private, segregated dances for students of the school in rural Ashburn, Georgia, 160 miles south of Atlanta.

[...]Mindy Bryan, attended a segregated prom in 2001.

"There was not anybody that I can remember that was black," she said. "The white people have theirs, and the black people have theirs. It's nothing racial at all."
I hope one of the songs is Prince singing about how "Tonight we're gonna party like it's 1969."


Valerie said...

wow! i was aghast when a friend of mine in grad school told me about her high school in mississippi, where they had two homecoming queens every year: a black one, and a white one. it's amazing to me sometimes how regional our country is.

Anonymous said...

There was a story about this on NPR today. A white girl said that the white kids had their own private prom anyway because some of the parents would not let their kids attend the integrated prom. She explained in her thick Georgia accent how the parents were holding to their traditions of segregation. The girl wanted to go to the real prom, but didn't want to go against her parent's wishes.

It may take a couple more generations for this to go away.


Anonymous said...

Ah, the delightful and well-deserved stories of the backward southerners. My high school (very close to Ashburn) had an integrated prom in 1992, but separate "invite-only" after parties. And we had the unofficial policy about the alternating homecoming queens - and I was there a year the pattern was breached. It wasn't pretty.

More troubling to me now in retrospect is the realization that while my high school was at least 60 percent Black, there were only 2 Black students in my honors/AP courses - classes that usually had about 16-20 people in them. Tracking students into low, average, college and honors just assured the white parents that their kids were in with the other white kids in the college prep and honors courses. I don't know how aware I was of this in school, but about 10 minutes into my first sociology class in college I figured it out. I remember feeling gross.

-Nan the Fan

nina said...

I don't know about backward, but other choice words come to mind.
The AP class issue, though, is not as easy to toss off with labels. And, while sociologists may offer (occasionally) terrific explanations, they don't, to my knowledge, offer solutions. Pair sociologists with some of the most progressive thinkers in the field of curriculum and instruction (eg at UW) and you still haven't any obvious answers. Poverty coupled with a history of racism are a powerful antimagnet to academic success in schools.

Jake said...

McKinley Senior High in Baton Rouge had black and white homecoming queens as well as two valedictorians as of 1988. All of our dances, however, were integrated. The kids worked out informal music swapping but everybody pretty much danced to everything. I think the school was integrated (by non-black students in a "gifted" program) as of 1982.