I just read a locked post about a meeting with executives in a particularly appalling industry in which completely appalling racist and sexist statements were said over and over while the non-executives explained that these statements were appalling and the executives could not comprehend that there was anything appalling about what they were saying. “It’s just the ways things are,” they said.
Which is true as far as it goes. There is an appalling amount of racism and sexism in the world. That’s no excuse for perpetuating it.
Students of both races say that interracial friendships are common at Montgomery County High School. Black and white students also date one another, though often out of sight of judgmental parents. “Most of the students do want to have a prom together,” says Terra Fountain, a white 18-year-old who graduated from Montgomery County High School last year and is now living with her black boyfriend. “But it’s the white parents who say no . . . They’re like, if you’re going with the black people, I’m not going to pay for it.”
. . .
[T]hey questioned their white friends’ professed helplessness in the face of their parents’ prejudice (“You’re 18 years old! You’re old enough to smoke, drive, do whatever else you want to. Why aren’t you able to step up and say, ‘I want to have my senior prom with the people I’m graduating with?’ ”).
The black prom is open to whoever wants to attend. The white one is not. So much for post-racist USA, eh?
The white students haven’t worked hard to change things because that means bucking their parents, which is a lot of bother. Who’d buy them their fancy prom clothes? Plus, segregated proms are just the way things are in their part of Georgia. Why rock the boat?
I get laziness. I’m typing this in my pjs. There are times in my life when I could have spoken up and didn’t, when I didn’t fight hard enough. Being white and coasting on your privilege is easy. Taking risks is hard.
But you know what’s harder?
Living with racism every day of your life.
I’ll wager that, like me, most of those white students aren’t forced to deal with racism on a daily basis. They can slide on by without thinking about it for days, weeks, in some cases, years.
There are so many reasons to rock the segregation boat. In this case, those white students would wind up with a prom that’s more fun, with way more of their friends, and more importantly, they’d be part of something they would be proud of for the rest of their lives.
- I noticed something about that article. Two white students were quoted with their full names. Two black students are mentioned by full name, one by her first name, and two of them is quoted, but there’s a series of quotes at the end of the article that are attributed to unnamed black students. I was wondering if that was because the students declined to be named. But there are photos of them here. Was it because the reporter failed to jot down their names? A decision of one of the editors of the piece? Whatever the reason it struck me as an odd note in an otherwise excellent article. [↩]