Saturday, May 23, 2009

Proms in black and white -- part 1

One gets the sense that Ebony & Ivory won't be played at the segregated proms in Montgomery County, Georgia. (Okay, given the song's high cheese factor, Ebony & Ivory probably won't be played much of anywhere else--nobody's that lactose tolerant).

From the New York Times,
Racially segregated proms have been held in Montgomery County — where about two-thirds of the population is white — almost every year since its schools were integrated in 1971.

...The senior proms held by Montgomery County High School students — referred to by many students as “the black-folks prom” and “the white-folks prom” — are organized outside school through student committees with the help of parents. All students are welcome at the black prom, though generally few if any white students show up. The white prom, students say, remains governed by a largely unspoken set of rules about who may come.
The quotes from one white student effortlessly reprise some of the "greatest hits" in racial excuse-making.

Remember this classic (beloved by Confederate flag-fliers everywhere):
Trying to explain the continued existence of segregated proms, Edge falls back on the same reasoning offered by a number of white students and their parents. “It’s how it’s always been,” he says. “It’s just a tradition.”
Or how about this timeless favorite?
I have as many black friends as I do white friends. We do everything else together.
And of course the grand-daddy of rationalizations
I don’t think anybody at our school is racist.
Of course not.

The lone bright spot in this story is that it is rare enough to be news.