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Georgia’s Wilcox County High School Enters the 21st Century, Allows Racially Integrated Prom

prom dress

Because everyone should be able to make fun of the ugly prom dresses equally

Oh, Georgia. Georgia. Georgia. Georgia.

What are we going to do with you? It’s bad enough that you’re on our mind so frequently as a result of things like insane gun bills, threats to eliminate food stamps for some of the state’s neediest families, and reality TV “stars*.”

The big news out of Georgia today? Wilcox County High School in rural Rochelle, Ga., has finally officially sanctioned a racially integrated prom. Yes, it’s April 1. But it’s not a joke. And yes, it’s also 2014. Still not a joke.

According to the New York Daily News, up until this year, the school of 400 students were either allowed to attend a white-students-only spring dance, or a separate social event only for black students. There was no official prom so parents took it upon themselves to segregate students by the color of their skin like it was their grandparents’ prom. Nevermind that the school integrated in the 1970s. Or that this is the 21st century.

It took a group of four kids last year — an integrated, forward-thinking (or, really, present-minded thinking) group of two black girls and two white girls — to organize their own racially integrated prom, which was attended by roughly half the students at the school.

This year, the school finally held an official prom — with no mention of race on the invites. This, despite “some in the community still [not approving],” one student told WGXA News.

While the school should be applauded for doing the absolutely, incontrovertible right thing, at the same time they should be mortified that it has taken this long for them to do it. Racial segregation so far into this century is an embarrassment to the school, the state, and, really, to our nation.

Why not generate more stories like this one, Georgia,  where you’re saving lives and doing really good work instead of drawing attention to our country’s shameful past mistreatment of an entire race of people? I mean, sure, we’ll take Wilcox County High School’s story of integration as the good, right thing that it is. But we should have taken it, oh, I don’t know, in 1954, not 2014.

* “Stars” is in quotes so as to make it appear as if I am above watching The Real Housewives of Atlanta. But let the record reflect that I am so not above it. My remote control and I are totally in the gutter.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Follow Meredith on Twitter and check out her regular column on the op-ed page of The Denver Post at MeredithCarroll.com

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