In the 21st century, racism and segregation exist only in history books. At least, that is how teachers educate their students. If this is true, why has Wilcox County High School, in Abbeville, Ga., allowed separate black and white proms to occur since the 1970s?
I grew up in a household that employed a zero-tolerance policy for swearing, violence, discrimination and racism, and I was appalled when I read about Wilcox County in The New York Times.
There is an upside to this story though. In an inspiring turn of events, two white students and two black students banded together and organized one prom for everyone this year. I am honestly shocked and appalled that I just discovered this incredible story because the new prom received a lot of positive support from outside the state.
According to The New York Times, a disc jockey from Texas, a motivational speaker from Fla., and a photographer from N.Y. all volunteered their time for the prom at no cost.
Superintendent Steven Smith called the whole issue an embarrassment. I would like to ask Smith, why has it taken four decades to make a change if he is so embarrassed by the segregated proms?
In an answer to my own question, blame cannot be placed solely on Smith because some residents of Wilcox County still support separate proms. One argument to continue hosting separate proms for black and white students revolved around the students’ different tastes in music. Another argument insisted that separate proms do not reflect racism, but they account for different traditions in history.
Maybe there is no right or wrong side in this issue, but when the community tries to segregate and exclude students who wish to attend one prom, that is when action must be taken. It is the 21st century, and our educational facilities should strive to maintain the existence of racism and segregation in history books only, not real life.