Sunday, May 24, 2009

‘Black-folks prom, white-folks prom’


Fascinating piece in the Times Magazine today about segregated proms. The author, Sara Corbett, visits a high school in Georgia that has a prom for white students on one night and another for black students the next. Corbett says the phenomenon is common throughout the South; at one school in Mississippi, for example, Morgan Freeman offered last year to pay for an integrated prom, an idea embraced by students but rejected by parents. (In July HBO will have a documentary about it, “Prom Night in Mississippi.”)

More on Georgia:

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.”

“It’s awkward,” acknowledges JonPaul Edge, a senior who is white. “I have as many black friends as I do white friends. We do everything else together. We hang out. We play sports together. We go to class together. I don’t think anybody at our school is racist.” 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.”

My one complaint: the story is way too short. The issue brings up a lot of important questions — about “separate but equal” Constitutionality, about the opinions and rights of parents, about subterfuge and sabotage by school officials — that can't be properly addressed, let alone answered, in 1,034 words.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i noticed no black parents were asked their opinion on the matter. from what i have experienced, black women are not too happy about interracial dating either. i think the author needed to rehash old stereotypes, couldn't be bothered to actually find out.