So, explain to me again how the South is just the same as everywhere else?

A year or two ago I made a disparaging comment about the South in the threads and was rightly taken to task by a number of readers.  (As I recall, MFarmer was particularly on-target.)  After all, I’ve never lived anywhere near that region, and my only real experience as a traveler has been in highly metropolitan or tourist-oriented destinations.  (e.g.: Atlanta, Miami, Dallas, Key West, etc.)  So what the hell do I know?

After that miscue, I’ve tried to both consciously and actively view the South as being not that much different than any other place, really, because that’s what people from the South keep telling me I should think – and they ought to know.

So WTF is up with this?

Students at Wilcox County High School in south Georgia share classrooms and sports fields, but they don’t share the same dances. Some students are aiming to change that.

“We’re embarrassed, it’s embarrassing, yeah it’s kind of embarrassing,” said a group of students who want to change the policy…  “There’s a white prom and then we have our integrated prom,” said [Wilcox student Keela] Bloodworth.

If any race other than Caucasian tries to attend the white prom, Bloodworth said they “would probably have the police come out there and escort them off the premises.”

That was the case just last year as a biracial student was turned away by police.  It’s been that way for as long as anyone can remember, and it doesn’t stop at prom – homecoming is also segregated.

When CBS Atlanta first reported on the story, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, a Republican (natch), said that he would refuse to either endorse or condemn the idea of an integrated prom, because he did not think it proper for his office to “take sides” on the apparently somewhat controversial issue.  A spokesman for Deal has described those politicians backing the idea of an integrated prom as simply manufacturing a “silly publicity stunt.”

I want to pause here for one second, because this is absolutely blowing my mind: It’s 2013 and there are still places in the South that segregate their students when it comes to dances… and integrating them is at least somewhat controversial… and the Governor of the State doesn’t want to take sides.

Why the fish are there sides to take???  It’s fishing 2013!!! 

I’m trying hard not to slip back into a view of the South that I’ve been trying to overcome, but it’s really, really difficult.  I need some help here from those of you who know the region better than I do, so if those readers who live or have lived there might help me see what I’m missing I would deeply appreciate it.  (Note to non-Southerners: Please treat people that step up to this plate with respect, ok?  I’m really trying to wrap my head around this, and I don’t want a pile-on on anyone willing to help me do so.)

Also, on a tangential note: I’d like to say to those conservative Republicans who can’t figure out why they just can’t seem to win the black vote no matter how many times they put a black person in front of a camera or try to rapit’s exactly because of stuff like this.

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428 thoughts on “So, explain to me again how the South is just the same as everywhere else?

        • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prom_Night_in_Mississippi

          It does indeed appear to be a different school. Nothing at all makes this acceptable, but it becomes even higher on the outrage meter to learn that these are not isolated incidents.

          From what I remember about PNiM, the proms were not run by the schools, but rather were private parties organized by parents that were invite only. Which is how they avoided any legal challenges.

          As to why there are “sides” to take, my hunch is this… Deal, and other Republicans, likely aren’t going to gain votes by challenging this absurdity… because the folks outraged by ongoing high school segregation are not going to suddenly become lockstep GOPers. But he certainly can lose himself votes.

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            • If I were affiliated with the school or the town, I would respond a few ways:
              – Implore the school/town to take whatever steps possible to bar the private parties from utilizing the school name, its mascot, its logo, or anything else that implies an association or endorsement
              – Implore the school to host a goddamn integrated prom. If white parents want to get together and host their own damn little Klan rally, go for it. But the school not hosting its own is a de facto endorsement of the status quo that is nauseating. Students don’t have a “right” to a prom, by any means, but they damn sure deserve better from their educators.

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                  • That is a very fair point and I wouldn’t fault folks who moved. If I somehow found myself in that town unaware of this legacy and then learned of it, I’d probably take that route. I’m sort of tempted now to look into how my own town handles things like prom and the like. Most of us without high school aged students probably don’t even know unless we ourselves grew up in the town.

                    But if I was more connected to the town and didn’t want to just pick up and move but instead wanted to seek change, those are the steps I’d take. However, it seems like this is deeply ingrained in the community, so much so that I couldn’t really stand up and say, “This is not what Wilcox is about!” Because the evidence is clear that this is precisely what Wilcox is about.

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                    • God bless those who would stay behind and try to change things. I’m just not that guy. I’d be concerned that my daughter would pick up the wrong racial attitudes (We’d teach them different, but betting on them listening to us and not our environment strikes me as risky).

                      Having said that, these kids are trying to change things. There is an upside here. Good for them.

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                    • Beyond my official capacity, I would support them every step of the way. If they wanted to bum rush the private party, I’d be there with them, even if I might advise against it for legal reasons (I don’t know how arrests for legitimate civil disobedience go over with colleges and employers); I would work it into my curriculum every which way possible; etc.

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                • “If I were afilliated with the town, I’d move”

                  Looking at the census figures, most people have. What remains are about 4 towns with a majority black population, a county with a majority white population, and a single high school of probably around 400-500 students for the entire unified county school district.

                  The school district looks like it is being somewhatproactive about the issue, with caveats.

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                    • Where I live in Central Florida, school segregation ended in the eighties, around the time I started 2nd grade, if I remember correctly. The segregation was accomplished by the way the school districts were drawn, and they were finally redrawn to force integration.

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                    • Did it really end? My parents moved to Orlando when I started 2nd grade (in 1982), and for the first year I was one of the token white students at Orange Center Elementary, which was then 90% black (both students and teachers). Based on the photos on their web page, it still is an essentially all-black school.

                      The next year, I was transferred to the brand new all-white school (Keith Elementary). My class did have a black teacher to start with, but she was fired for no apparent reason and replaced with a white one after only two months.

                      (Ironically, the black teacher was Mrs White and the white teacher was Mrs Brown).

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                    • Redwood,

                      I cannot speak for Orlando. My county is Polk. There was definitely an improvement after districts were redrawn, though I believe some schools managed to remain predominantly white. In my city, one thing that helped with the mixing was that two of the predominantly black elementary schools were converted to magnet schools, and those students were mixed into predominantly white schools.

                      I am not how perfect integration in schools would be defined. One issue is that neighborhoods tend to be heavily segregated. One area might be heavily latino, another heavily black, and another heavily white. Without really weird boundaries, it is hard to mix that up.

                      And we do have some weird boundaries. It is entirely possible to be assigned to a school across town, when there is another school less than 10 minutes away.

                      Another aspect is that people with more money will move where the better schools are, so there is an element of white flight that goes on.

                      Is there an answer that will equalize access to education? I am not sure. Maybe a better way to say it is that I think there is no simple solution, so it is more than one answer.

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              • “white parents want to get together and host their own damn little Klan rally, go for it”

                I’d say even that is too weak. I’d say the school should have a policy, something like this: If parent X pays for or helps organize an event that large numbers of students are invited to simply in virtue of their being invited, and said party discriminates on the basis of race, parent X may be asked to remove their child from school for having created a toxic, racist environment in the school.

                Sure the racist parents will find a way around this, but some sorts of racism in organizing have to be stated as intolerable, even by public institutions.

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                • I mean simply in virtue of their being students.

                  I do think the line between private sphere and public has been crossed here. The parents aren’t having a party for a few of their white, equally racist friends and their children. They are having a party for all and only the white children of the public school,.

                  Any principle who doesn’t drag the kids into an assembly and show them how awful this is, how the school refuses to be part of it, and then says the same with the key parents supporting this, is an awful racist. Racist. Indeed, the principle shoud make a prom mandatory one night (or day) that all students have to go to and be cordial with everyone.

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                  • Shazbot,

                    That’s fair. If these are public schools, you’re going to be VERY hard pressed to remove students because of the racist but legal actions of their parents. But an assembly such as you described and outspoken denouncement would all be fair. What I meant when I said “Go for it” was that I wouldn’t seek any legal remedies because I’m not sure any exist or that I’d even *want* any to exist.

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                    • Yeah. I can’t see a legal remedy here that I’d be comfortable with.

                      Of course, political leadership could actually go a long way towards combating this sort of thing. The cover that Deal and his ilk are giving them is doing active harm.

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                    • I’d be really impressed to see Rand Paul explain why legal remedies would be inappropriate, and then continue “But personally I find this bigoted, un-American and frankly disgusting.” Not gonna happen, of course.

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                    • I get it, but I think you’re missing how laws and school policies could make an impact in in cases like these.

                      Given that the law or school policy I’m talking about can be skirted (people could find another way to have segregated parties), and my law would be hard to enforce, it lays down a marker, or sends a signal, or whatever you want to call it, that suggests the community itself disapproves of this behavior.

                      What was really damning of the south (and souther R’s) is that the local representative won’t out and out condemn the practice. The condemnation of local politicians could make a difference, and so could an admittedly weak and hard to enforce ban on such kinds of segregation.

                      IMO, the lack of condemning policies is reflective of and contributes to a cultural approval of this kind of segregation amongst a large segment of the population.

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                    • Shaz,

                      You have a point. For me, it’d largely depend on what my role in the school is. I think the issue is serious enough that I’d be willing to cross some lines, ruffle some feathers. But given that the kids are as much victims as they are culprits in the matter… yes, they’re teenagers and ought to know better but they’re clearly growing up in some fairly toxic environments and are not going to learn better through punishment… I’d want to be careful to not further divide the student community. But you are right that even symbolic gestures would be important and that there would be a lot of closed-door stare downs with parents.

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                  • I would love to be able to take all the minority students from every high school where this happens and give them a time of their life experience in San Francisco. A full out, no holds barred party.

                    And then say nyah nyah to the parents and their “invite-only” unofficial white-prom.

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            • Important to note that those ‘Proms’ as private parties started precisely so that white community leaders could keep segregated events without risking those very lawsuits.

              Proof. Pudding. That sort of thing.

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            • So it’s a private party and not a school funded or sponsorded event?

              I’m trying to understand why I should give a damn then about the fact that it’s segregated or that someone girls want to change it. Good for them. Why is this even being covered?

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    • Every year there is the obligatory prom story. For the last few years, the story has been about the high schools that have no official prom but have racially-segregated private parties in place of proms.

      The only thing these days that interrupts the racial prom stories are the lesbian prom stories.

      Of course, the real question should by why are high schools still invovled in proms.

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  1. There are two issues here.

    First, is the prom itself. I wish I could say that this sort of thing is unheard of. It’s unthinkable where I’m from, but obviously it’s thought and done elsewhere. This isn’t an isolated case. Basically, a long time back instead of integrating their prom the whites would either host their own, private prom, or the prom would be cancelled and there’d be two private ones. Then there is a reluctance to change by combination or racism, tradition, and a desire not to “give in” to the outsiders.

    This type of thing definitely needs to call out. Where I get antsy is where it comes to define the region.

    That, of course, brings us to the second item. Which is Deal’s refusal to “take sides” in what is truly a no-brainer and low-hanging fruit. Contra Kazzy, I don’t think this is politically smart. This sort of thing does bother a lot of Republicans and independents. Rather, it’s cowardice (at best). Not for fear of losing the places that have this sort of thing (such places are too few to matter electorally) but those who want to egg this sort of thing on (even if they don’t do it in their own communities). These are the people I don’t think that Deal wants to cross. And it’s a bane to the party and the region.

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    • I think there’s a good case to be made for politicians not commenting publicly on private issues. We shouldn’t look to politicians for moral guidance, and there’s a fine line between a politician expressing an opinion and issuing a threat.

      That said, he doesn’t get to use this defense if he has a record of commenting publicly on other private issues.

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    • “Which is Deal’s refusal to “take sides” in what is truly a no-brainer and low-hanging fruit. Contra Kazzy, I don’t think this is politically smart. This sort of thing does bother a lot of Republicans and independents.”

      I’m concerned that this isn’t true, depending upon what you mean by “a lot” and “bother.” You’ll have to convince me. (I am open to being convinced.)

      I take it you mean that you believe that the majority (“a lot” = 51% or more?) of southern Republicans (and conservative-minded independents) are bothered by the segregated prom. And by “bothered” you don’t just mean they think “well, the prom probably could be done a little differently, ideally, but it’s not THAT big a deal. Maybe they could invite the nice black kids, but the tough ones who steal things. Let’s hope they change it, but it is their right. Let’s not be hasty.”

      I mean, “bothered” is a pretty weak standard here, given that they should feel total outrage, as you rightly agree, in saying that you’d move.

      I think what Tod rightly thinks is strange is that the vast majority of Southerners (or Southern R’s and conservatives) aren’t outraged (or “bothered” intensely), as they would be elsewhere.

      If the majority were bothered/outraged, in the same way that they are in other parts of the country, then it would be a no brainer politically to support condemning the practice strongly and maybe even making a trip down to shame the parents into changing things.

      But it isn’t a no brainer in the south, which implies that there is less of a demand to condemn these acts of segregation there, which is a horrible stain on the South (although we should be careful about lumping the whole south in with one southern state) that makes it awful in this respect. (Other places are awful in other respects.)

      That said, we should never judge each individual on the basis of the average person in their region. No Southerner should be thought to be racist just because there is more racism in the region than elsewhere.

      It could be that the problem is a vocal minority has outsized political muscle. But you must admit, even if it is not a majority, it is a very sizable minority of racists. And you seem to be admitting that the minority’s racism is more intense than the majority’s outrage at the racism, which would not be the case elsewhere, where the outrage about this would be as intense as the support for it, which is exactly why politicians would come out against it.

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      • “(although we should be careful about lumping the whole south in with one southern state)”

        It is true that by most accounts of everything of this sort, Mississippi is the absolute worst; though sometimes South Carolina looks worst. Or Alabama.

        (Occasionally Texas, when it comes to killing, since Texas seems to be extra-bloodthirsty.)

        The awfulness reduces as you…. uh, get further away from the heartland of the South. Basically the closer you are to not being in the Deep South, the better.

        Which doesn’t say anything good for the South.

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  2. I’ve lived my whole life in the South. Anyone who claims that racism isn’t still a pervasive part of our culture is lying… Probably to themselves.
    Feel free to stereotype us as ignorant racists… It’s probably a fair assumption.

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        • Then what percentage of the Detroit public schools is white and what percentage of the Gross Pointe schools are black? In large urban areas, there are white proms and black proms because the neighborhoods and schools are segregated.

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        • No, they’re more racist.
          The people down south, at least in this story, aren’t recruiting you into white power militias — aka folks with guns, ready to take on the Other…

          Down south folks are less likely to try to conceal racism… or to pretend it doesn’t exist. This is not to say that racism is more prevalent down there.

          Can You IMAGINE the furor if white folks from the SOUTH walked into a ghetto and started “hunting black bucks?” (that actually happened in the Midatlantic. Not the south. But hell, you didn’t hear about it. Musta not happened.).

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  3. I live in Deep East Texas and all of the towns and communities around here have segregated proms. Here in Lufkin, there is the official school prom which everyone can attend, and on the very same night, there is the “whites only” prom held at the local “whites only” country club.

    But it isn’t racist, because people here aren’t racist, natch. It is just a “private party” a few parents throw for the white teenagers where everyone dresses up in prom attire.

    Been going on for years and years. And people here seem to think it is nothing unusual.

    Yes, the South isn’t like other parts of the country. It is oh so much worse.

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    • When I lived in Dallas I had a friend who was black, and as we moved our way thru town and our social lives I was always *amazed* that people would call him a n****r right to his face as if the term was an entirely appropriate designator. So … it struck me as very different than what I was used to.

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      • The thing that makes me so crazy here is that it is all seen as just so normal. The local paper carries stories about both proms as if that is just how it supposed to be. There are prom kings and queens from both proms.

        Among the local white population, the proms are called The Prom (white only) and The School Prom (referring to the black / hispanic prom when in public) or the Ni**er Prom (when only white people are around).

        But don’t you dare call anyone around here racist. Because THAT is just racist.

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    • [It is just a “private party” a few parents throw for the white teenagers where everyone dresses up in prom attire.]

      To be more accurate of the situation, it’s a private party a few of the wealthiest and most politically-connected white parents throw for THEIR teenagers. Any white teenager whose parents possess a net asset value of under 7-figures is, likewise, not invited. Not so much racism as elitism.

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    • Sure.
      You gonna tell me stories about folks having “parties” where the goal is to rape folks of other races?

      Nah, you ain’t gonna mention shit like that, cause it don’t happen down South. It’s not a consistent part of the culture. A few places out west, it’s pretty bad. The feds just passed a law because of it.

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    • I have family in Lufkin. As I have said before, Lufkin is the Appalachian Hills of Texas. (I know a man who lives there who has gone forty years with a dislocated jaw. He chokes on his food a lot. How did he dislocate his jaw? Hit with a piece of flying trailer during a tornado. Why was it never set? Doesn’t trust doctors…..he’s a character, all right.)

      East Texas as a whole is just ridiculous in that fashion. It’s like another state, another country.

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  4. As I understand, there is either no official school prom or there is an official school prom and then an “informal prom” or “unofficial prom” that student’s need an invite to.

    In the second version, only black students attend the “official” school prom and the white parent’s throw and organize the informal/unofficial” prom and the only student’s who get invited to that are white.

    In the no official school prom version, both black parents and white parents ended up organizing two different proms.

    IIRC this is a holdover from the day’s when the South used to shut down school districts instead of integrating. However when this happened the white parent’s would organize academies and the black parents would be left in the dust:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Griffin_v._County_School_Board_of_Prince_Edward_County

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    • Correction:

      Both black and white kids were given vouchers for tuition but there were no black private schools and the black parents nobly choose not to set one up and to fight against segregation and Jim Crow.

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      • It was made very clear that the black parents would not be permitted to have resources similar to the whites-only private schools if they did try to set up private schools. Everyone knew separate-but-equal was a sham.

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  5. Technically, the school doesn’t segregate the dances; that would be illegal. The proms are put on by private groups which prefer them segregated. I would not be at all surprised if when the school was first integrated a mixed-race dance would have been a deal-breaker, so it’s survived as an integrated (rather than all-black with the white kids in private “Christian” schools) public school only because it agreed not to host mixed-race social events. I do recall reading that, while this school has been singled out for criticism, the practice isn’t unusual in that part of the state.

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  6. Tod out of curiosity because you go after Fox News for their slant and editorializing, what is your opinion on the first line of the story:

    “It’s worth pointing out that this is actual news from 2013, and not from decades ago.”

    I personally support the editorial line that the story takes and the slant. However, it occurs to me that this what conservatives complain about whenever they mention the “liberal bias” of the media. The story is rightly and clearly not-objective in my mind.

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      • And I said I agree absolutely with every single non-objective word in the article!

        I have no problem with a slanted media. It is the norm in every other country but the US. We seem to be alone in our belief that journalism should be non-partisan. This is a relatively new phenomenon. Our early media was highly partisan!

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        • :-) If you don’t have a point of view, if you attempt to be “non-partisan”, you end up giving equal time to Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin, and gravely discussing their proposals for slave labor camps, poison-gassing Ethopia, and forcible violent population reclocations, as if they were reasonable.

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    • I wouldn’t think of it as editorializing, no. The only way I can think of it as going into what we think of as editorializing is if you assume that black students hanging out and dating white students (and having the police called on you to escort you out of buildings if you do not comply) qualifies for something that needs editorial comment for clarification.

      It’s like when that loser at CPAC defended slavery; it’s hard to call out stories that described his defense of slavery as “shocking,” because in 2013 it just is. Or to let that line out further, you wouldn’t really criticize a news story that described Jeffery Dahmer’s crimes as being “horrible,” because as a society we’re pretty much all on the same page there.

      There are just some things I think you can safely say are unusual in this day and age and not be “biased” in a way that leads to justifiable criticism. And I would think that, except in certain pockets of the country that I was not aware existed until today, racially segregated school dances would be one of them.

      That being said, as stupid and self-destructive in their messaging as I think the GOP can sometimes be on race issues, they’re not so stupid and self-destructive that we’ll be hearing them moan of liberal bias against racially segregated activities.

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    • this type of thinking is quite possibly why we have some of the media issues we have today.

      a majority of Republicans will find attempts to continue the culture of segregation appalling, and relatively few will note the “liberal bias” of the article because most people who vote Republican do not see hostility to racism as an exclusively liberal trait. they see it as basic decency.

      the problem is that nutters are allowed to represent the whole, and more moderate conservative opinion is pushed away from public reckoning. this not only disenfranchises a very large group of people, and not only alienates them politically, but it also gives them no space in which to carve out a uniquely legitimate position that must be acknowledged.

      the situation is similar to how Christianity is dealt with in the media. every religious person whose opinion is deemed worth listening to is conservative. it is almost as if not being conservative makes you de facto irreligious. Evangelicals only represent 25% of Christians in the US, but theirs is often the only opinion that is taken to matter. Apparently the millions of liberal Christians are irrelevant. Catholics voted overwhelmingly Democrat in the last election, but when you hear about Catholic opinion in the media it is almost always from conservative clergymen.

      lots of people lament the trend of “opinions on shape of the earth differ” journalism, but one of the reasons why this happened is because the “center” as we now know it is a fiction, a theoretical midpoint between Democrats on the one hand and radical conservatives on the other which no one actually occupies except perhaps some journalists. in reality the moderate US is clustered in the vicinity of the Democratic party platform, though many of these people vote Republican. Acting as if their opinion doesnt matter or is somehow illegitimate is one of the major ills of our current political situation.

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    • Maybe the libertarianism of the LOOG is rubbing off on me, but that seems pointless to me. These assholes are not going to have their attitudes improved by having Congress tell them to integrate the dances: they’ll either stop holding them or create more elaborate smokescreens. Let their own kids shame them, as they’re doing now. They might learn something. Or if not, they’ll eventually die off.

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      • I am pretty sure it’s not illegal because it’s private. How do you force a private event tointegrate? The most I tthink you could do is to prevent them from putting fliers up on public grounds and that might be iffy depending on what else they do or do not allow.

        I wish it were so simple as making it illegal.

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        • I said this below, but it seems like it would absolutely be legal if it was just some party and people invited who they wanted. But it’s not really quite that, since the school doesn’t have a prom or homecoming dance, presumably so that they don’t have to have an integrated one.

          As I said below, I think it’s more nebulous than someone holding a private dinner party.

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          • Yeah, imagine that some parents invited all the white children to a Neo-Nazi rally, and they all went. And suppose, as a result, the black kids suffered for all sorts of reasons. I think, at that point, even the public school district has a right to say that if you want to send your kids here, you can’t do such and such, because it is harming the other parent’s children.

            I suspect that the segregated proms do have pernicious psychological effects by making racism worse in the school and these problems are analogous to the thought experiment above.

            There is a line between public and private, of course. But by inviting all of the students of one type and not another (even if they try to hide that fact), they are crossing the line from private into public.

            Please do not reply to this with slippery slope arguments.

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            • That is the dance involves effects all of the children, both white and black, and does damage to the latter.

              If I want to raise my child just doing things that the majority think are crazy for her, that is private. (Though even there, social services draws lines about what is acceptable.)

              And if my crazy child has some small negative effects on those around her because of my crazy parenting, that is still close enough to private, though now we’re blurring the line a little bit.

              If I want to do something that effects every child in the school, related to a function (proms) that are normally controlled by schools, the school has a right to regulate that behavior.

              If my child and I are distributing neo-nazi hate material to every other white child in the school (maybe after school hours), then the school has a right and a duty to step in and protect its students.

              I would pass a policy saying invites where all students except those of a certain race are invited will result in fines or expulsion or whatever. Of course, this policy could be skirted by having a party where you invite only white kids, and maybe not all the white kids, but just your kids’ widest circle of friends (Shazbot never got invited to parties).

              But the presence of a law like that would signal the community that some kinds of overt racism are shamefully intolerable, and the absence of such a policy signals the opposite. That signaling might not have a major impact in the short term, but it will in the long run, and could’ve done a lot of good had it been done, oh, 50 years ago.

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              • It’s not the beliefs. Its the pernicious psychological impacts of overt acts of racism by a set of parents and children.

                But fines may be a better punishment than expulsion. However, I do think some kid-parent combos could be so damaging to even a public school that they lose the right to go their and will need to opt for homeschool.

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                • Going to a rally is speech. Saying that as a student you can go to a rally for this but not that is discriminating on the basis of belief. A school has some discretion over what happens on campus, but I have difficulty with the notion that they should be able to control what kids do on their own time, provided that it’s not illegal.

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                • Like I say, the line between public and private gets blurry in places.

                  But here it seems to be clearly crossed because

                  a.) Proms are normally a school function and this prom is described as such, and will be thought of as such, even if the name is changed now, because of the history.
                  b.) All students are invited, in virtue of their role as student, except black students. This is not a party for a few individuals as private people, but a party for all members of the school, except blacks.
                  c.) There is a history to this event that was intended to discriminate against a protected class, and has done so, perniciously
                  d.) The party is organized by a few parents (IIRC) whose behavior effects the school body on the whole in a massive way that crosses from effecting a few individuals privately to having an effect on the whole public

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                  • The school can’t protect its students from what other students legally do on their own time. Not by punishing the latter for activities done off school grounds and outside of school hours. They don’t have the jurisdiction.

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                    • Well, two things.

                      Are we debating what the school should be able to do, ideally? Or what they can do in the legal system here in the U.S.?

                      Cause I have no idea what the answer to the latter question is.

                      I would say there are cases where what is done off campus crosses from private to public, and the school should have a right to protect its students, even if it doesn’t have that right in the U.S. right now.

                      We can easily imagine such a hypothetical. Imagine a school with a large minority of Jewish students and a majority of Muslim Arab students. Imagine that a set of parents invites all of the students, except the Jews, to a series of cultural events, the sole purpose of which is to think about how the local Jewish students can be harmed psychologically, taunted, teased, discriminated against, all for the express purposes of driving them out of the school system.

                      Suppose it is admitted that the purpose of this off-campus activity is to create racist, anti-semitic on-campus interactions that harm the Jewish students. Suppose also that actual acts of sectarian violence on campus have begun to increase, and experts say the actions of the inciting set of Islamic parents are the indirect cause of the violence.

                      Can the school do nothing? Maybe in the U.S. now, it couldn’t. But that strikes me as a less than ideal legal system that hasn’t figured out how to navigate the distinction between private and public properly.

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                    • Shaz, I think I still disagree. I am refraining from further comment to decide whether I actually disagree or whether I am being stubborn. Both are possible.

                      I will say that to some extent we may be working off different definitions of public and private. To some extent, I mostly mean “non-government” when I say private. Which is to say that even a Klan rally in the public square is private, so long as the school/government isn’t sponsoring it nor are any special considerations being made for it.

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                    • Fair enough.

                      I do get the legal problem thatyou are referring to. The private sphere should be drawn as largely as possible. We don’t want schools to start telling people how to live all over the place.

                      I am willing to concede, really, that maybe a legal solution is not the right way to go here, too. But if the situation were a little “worse” (and I’m not defining that), the schooldistrict could have a right to start penalizing the guilty parties in some way or another by denying access to the school system that they are harming.

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                • “It’s not the beliefs. Its the pernicious psychological impacts of overt acts of racism by a set of parents and children.”

                  Which is one of the prime reasons that the Supreme Court made the Brown decision in favor of desegregation.

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    • That link’s not working. This one sums it up pretty well, though. That said, courts seem more inclined to jump in when money changes hands. In our civic religion, making money is a venial sin which must be atoned for by following certain rules as penance. If they’re selling tickets, I could see courts ruling against it. If admission is free, then that’s basically the court dictating a private party’s guest list, which I don’t think they’d do. Likewise, you can racially discriminate in selecting roommates, but not in renting.

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      • Yeah, this seems slightly more than that, though.

        To not have a prom or homecoming dance sponsored by the school so that (I assume) you can really have one off the books that’s whites only doesn’t feel quite like the school coming out for segregation, but it also doesn’t quite feel like some guy choosing a roommate. It feels really nebulous legally. I mean, it’s clearly a system set up to get around being illegal – but to what degree can you do that and have the courts agree with you that it’s kosher? I really don’t know.

        Like I said, I would love to know what Burt would say.

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                • But in this case, they scrapped the golf team and a bunch of parents got together so that their kids could play against one another. The school can’t sponsor a segregated prom, and they aren’t. I just don’t see how you close this loophole. Beyond which, even if you could force them to have a prom, our primary complaint here isn’t addressed.

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                  • But it’s still identified as the school golf team (like this prom). The school allows the team to post flyers inviting people to try out for the School Golf Team (like this prom). The school doesn’t try to hide why they disbanded the team; they are pretty upfront about why they did so (like this prom).

                    I really want Burt to weigh in here, because the more I think about a sports analogy, the more I think it may be challengeable.

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                    • Is this prom identified as the school prom? Or a prom for some students who go to the school?

                      The most I think you may be able to do is prevent them from sending out fliers or sfilliating itself from the school. These are easily worked around.

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                    • Will,

                      That is why, if I were involved with the school, I’d fight *ANYTHING* that implied a connection between the school and the prom. I’d go so far as patenting/trademarking color schemes, mascots, titles, names… whatever… and suing the pants off anyone doing anything to imply a connection. Even if my suits lost, I’d A) send a message and B) tie them up in the courts (provided the cases aren’t frivolous). I would bar any advertising on school grounds. I’d advocate the town barring any advertising on public property. Hell, I might even consider discussion of the prom to be forbidden on campus as hateful and divisive language.

                      Would all of this be totally kosher? Perhaps not… but sometimes you have to ruffle some feathers in such situations. There would still be a limit to just how much you can do to actually stop this, but I think there are a lot of steps one could take… more than I initially realized before reading some other opinions here.

                      Of course, that would require the adults involved to be so motivated. Clearly, they are not.

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                    • Kazzy, the adults are worse than not-motivated. They’re complicit. This isn’t a case of the government doing something they can’t stop, or a few parents doing something. This is a tradition the *whole town* is swept up in.

                      I don’t really know the extent to which the school can or can’t do the other things you suggest. I agree it’s likely that the school can do more than its doing. It’s just that it couldn’t stop it even if it wanted to. But I do like the idea of focusing on what the school could do.

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                    • JM,

                      Perhaps a bridge too far. But schools do similar things already. I’ve worked in schools that largely discourage conversation about birthday parties if the whole class isn’t invited and bans distribution of invitations on school grounds for such events (this is typically with younger children, mind you). They wouldn’t punish kids for violating it, but we might talk to them about exclusion and avoiding topics that can be so upsetting (and to a 5-year-old, not getting invited to a birthday party is equivalently awful as racism). So there is a quasi-precedent for something similar.

                      But I was just riffing there and might have easily pushed too much. As Will said, I’m just trying to think of what schools can do.

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                    • It’s actually kind of funny, Kazzy. I read that sentence and thought “they can’t do that”… but then thought for another minute and realized that if they wanted to, they could.

                      The problem here comes down to an inverse relationship between those who would likely do the right thing and proximity to the situation. The parents could fix this tomorrow, but won’t. The school might have to stretch itself to make an impact, but won’t. The state might could do something, but maybe not and might not anyway. Outsiders, who are really wanting something to be done, really can’t do much of anything. It’s not illegal.

                      The more I think about it, though, the more I am wondering about the cancellation of the school prom. If they could get that reversed, then the “black prom” could be the official school prom. And they’d have a real claim in preventing the “white prom” from calling itself a prom or associating with the school in even the most trivial sense (because then it might get accused with the “real prom”).

                      But mostly? This day in age, even in the south, I think it would ultimately leave towards gravitating to a single prom. There’d still be holdouts, and maybe holdouts among both races, but I think it’d start getting a lot easier for more and more whites to gravitate towards a real prom, where they would likely feel more welcome than at the black prom, and there you go. You may end up with three proms, but you’d have an integrated one that I think would gain momentum as time passed.

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                    • Yeah, Kazzy is right. A rule that doesn’t even have much actual power to stop the event is still warranted here as it might change attitudes in the long run.

                      How about this: Anyone who goes to the racially segregated prom gets “Went to racially segregated prom, intentionally” on their transcript.

                      Anyone who goes to the integrated prom or can demonstrate that they went to prom will not that printed on their transcript.

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                    • “Yeah, Kazzy is right. A rule that doesn’t even have much actual power to stop the event is still warranted here as it might change attitudes in the long run.”

                      Shaz, I’ll credit you for actually helping me come to this conclusion.

                      And I like your transcript idea. They might have to tweak the wording, something like, “This student earned a gold star for attending non-racially exclusive events as part of our “Break the Hate” initiative.”

                      But then we might get more WSJ editorials so….

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                    • The carrot may be better than the stick with the transcript idea. I don’t like kids having to prove a negative (that they did not go to a segregated prom, a number kids don’t go to prom at all), but any kid with a lick of sense would love to be on the “Integrated Prom Committee” which basically consists of everyone who went to the integrated prom.

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                    • Lord, I hope you all are really being facetious with these ideas.

                      How about we look at it as progress that the students have come far enough to be able to say that they want things to change? They are defying tradition, something that is really hard to do, especially in smaller towns or real tight knit communities. We seem to always want to find the negative of any story and focus on that. It is fine to acknowledge the negative but not at the exclusion of the positive.

                      You want to make a difference, throw a party and invite all students, not just one group. Or rent limo’s for them, get some dresses and tux’s and reward the positive.

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                    • JM, I’ve said on a couple of occasions that I’m pleased as punch that these kids are doing what they’re doing. That is progress. The question is, how do we get to where we want to go? It would be great if nothing more were necessary here and that they finally have their integrated prom.

                      But even if so, there is still a lot of progress to be made elsewhere.

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                    • I mean to say “that can demonstrate that they didn’t go to a prom.”

                      The details would have to be worked out:

                      1. Sign a statement in school that you won’t go to or didn’t go to such and such a prom. Obviously people could lie or break their promise, but if you ever wanted to go into local politics, or marry a local who might found out who would care about your lies, the lie could cost you as much as the truth of being found to be racist. And people don’t like lying or breaking written promises, in general. Oddly, these sworn, non-binding contracts or statements often are treated as if they are binding.

                      2. If the students think there is nothing wrong in going to such a prom, then there is no problem putting which prom they went to on their transcript. But I bet they’ll find that a near majority don’t want to be associated with this sort of thing.

                      3. If students argue that their is nothing wrong with a segregated prom, but they worry that they will be unfairly judged for having done so, then remind them that a segregated prom is a bad thing, objectively, and the moral judgment against them is right.

                      However, if they believe in segregation but don’t want to advertise it, all they need to do is promise to go to the non-segregated prom, just as they go to a non-segregated school. After that, and before it, they can privately be in favor of segregation and lying about it for as long as they like.

                      4. Now all we need to decide is the music. I say the following. Let the students share the choices of what will be played and talk about it like adults and vote.

                      This won’t be a problem. The black kids won’t go insane and trash the place because they can’t discuss how to share the music choices. It is the worst sort of racism to think otherwise.

                      A more likely problem is that the votes will be gerrymandered to make sure the kids from the black districts votes don’t count for much. :)

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                    • Yeah, the positive statement is better. On the transcript it could say “Certificate for improvement of racial relations in community.”

                      To get it, the student would have to sign promising to go to integrated prom and avoid all intentionally segregated events, to not commit hate crimes, etc.

                      However, all transcripts should include a brief note on what was required to get the certificate, so that they know what students who failed to get it had failed to do.

                      Area colleges (and national ones) would quickly learn what this meant.

                      The problem would be solved, immediately, I think. And in a year or two, you could scrap the whole system.

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                    • Will, that post was not directed at you. I think I was typing it at the same time you were typing yours…just happened to end up right under yours. I have this horrible habit of having to delete everything I write a few times before I finally decide to just post the dang thing.

                      I really really do hope that no one really believes that putting on a transcript what prom you went to is a good idea. Or that as a society we are not so keen on righting wrongs that we turn into something much worse than we are currently.

                      I am appalled to read that to a 5 year old not getting invited to a party is as bad as racism therefore we ban children from discussing parties that are not all inclusive of every child. I am appalled that if children are following a tradition they grew up with they are automatically labeled as racist. I am appalled at the lack of nuance I read when it comes to racism. I am appalled that because I am white I can not ask questions or comment, because it is racism. I am appalled that if I say the previous sentence I am somehow thought to be saying that white people are the oppressed people, not blacks. I am appalled that I have written the word appalled so many times in one paragraph, but what can I say it expressed exactly what I am feeling as I type away.

                      How has it come to be that unless I say with every breath, I am not minimizing the experience that those who did not have the privilege of growing up with my skin color I am being racist?

                      No, I don’t think anyone has called me racist, this is an overall reaction to a theme I have seen the last few day. I am using the universal I to encompass anyone who is white and wants to talk about their own experiences in life.

                      I like to think that I am a product of my personal experiences and the experiences of those I know. Now I feel that being a product of those experiences is inadequate. Inadequate in that I am not informed enough to speak or ask questions. It seems lately that only one thought is allowed to be spoken. If someone doesn’t conform then you just don’t understand the black experience and you are trying to diminish their experiences by talking about your experience as a white person.

                      Of course I don’t understand the black experience. I understand the experiences I have had. I understand that I am white. I do have to admit that I never once considered myself as privileged. I find the definition of privilege as suspect that I have seen bandied about. I grew up with older parents who would be considered racist, they would never discriminate to someone’s face but they do talk smack that I find offensive. I never was afraid to tell them that I thought their comments were inappropriate. Just like I was never afraid to tell a couple of my brothers that their homophobia was inappropriate, or just like I never felt afraid to tell some of my coworkers that they were inappropriate for their comments they made about Hmongs.

                      If I as a white person was to say this is an experience I had why is that not taken with the same value as a black person who says this is an experience I had? Does my asking that question somehow trip some switch that throws off a big neon sign over my head that says this is a white person who is trying to dismiss the systematic racism perpetrated against blacks in America?

                      My brother J had a birthday party, after dinner we all went to a comedy club where a friend of his was performing. I was talking to one of his friends about how I had never been to a comedy club before and this place was really nice. She responded by telling me that she always thought this was a white place so she had never been there before either. Now that she knew it wasn’t a white club she would definitely be back. I remember thinking wow, what must it be like to stop and question what color people go to a place before you will go in. I really wouldn’t know. I haven’t had any experiences where I associated one race with bad experiences. I understood that she had different experiences than I did. I didn’t look down on her for having different experiences. I also didn’t look down on myself for not having her experiences either.

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                    • JM,

                      I appreciate that this is a heartfelt post. It is also very interesting, well written, and aiming at fairness. I don’t mean to crtiticize too harshly, but I strongly disagree with most of it.

                      a.) ” I am appalled that if children are following a tradition they grew up with they are automatically labeled as racist.”

                      We are talking about high school seniors here. Some old enough to vote. All old enough for military service. Old enough to be convicted as adults in criminal court and to know right from wrong. As Kazzy explains elsewhere, it is the parents fault, primarily, but I’m not sure I give these “kids” a pass, or a total one, anyway.

                      b.) “I am appalled to read that to a 5 year old not getting invited to a party is as bad as racism therefore we ban children from discussing parties that are not all inclusive of every child.”

                      No one said the former. And the latter is a rule in schools that helps small children not get hurt, which isn’t all bad. (I think children should follow this out of politeness anyway, which I follow in my dealings with the world.)

                      C.) “I am appalled at the lack of nuance I read when it comes to racism.”

                      It’s segregation, dude. Literal segregation. There wasn’t nuance in this 40 years ago.

                      d.)” I am appalled that because I am white I can not ask questions or comment, because it is racism. I am appalled that if I say the previous sentence I am somehow thought to be saying that white people are the oppressed people, not blacks.”

                      Who said that? I do think your post suggests (please deny it if I am wrong) that you think the fact that you should be sensitive about how you talk about race is unfair to you.

                      I think that is disturbing if you believe that, and I would be willing to discuss it in another thread. The fact is that a lot of rhetoric contributes and perpetuates racist attitudes, even subconsciously and subtly, which is deeply unfair to the many victims of racism, of which you are not one, I am guessing. The harm of some rhetoric is indirect, but awful.

                      Personally, I am very apologetic when anyone points out my rhetoric is or may be contributing to racism or sexism, and I am glad to have learned how to better avoid contributing to racism in being so criticized. Moreover, after apologizing, I can always restate my view differently if it is based in fact and logic.

                      This deference to those who are offended seems like the right attitude to me. Why are you appalled by it?

                      e.) “I am appalled that I have written the word appalled so many times in one paragraph, but what can I say it expressed exactly what I am feeling as I type away.”

                      In all that list of appalled’s, you didn’t mention that you were appalled about the segregated prom, which is the subject at hand.

                      Are you?

                      f.) “She responded by telling me that she always thought this was a white place so she had never been there before either. Now that she knew it wasn’t a white club she would definitely be back. I remember thinking wow, what must it be like to stop and question what color people go to a place before you will go in.”

                      This suggests that you might not be thinking things through very well about how your situation is different from hers.

                      I suspect she means that she was worried she wouldn’t be welcome, either explicitly (especially if you’re in or she’s from the rural south), or more likely implictly, but now she knows she will be welome, because there were other black people.

                      It’s not like she has a positive preference for non-white places because she enjoys them more. She was afraid, reasonably and plausibly, of an incident where she would be made to feel unwelcome or worse, IMO. This is the effect of the real racism that is still prevalent in society today.

                      Or at least that’s how it sounds to me.

                      —-

                      Anyway, I know this might come off as rude or an attack. I don’t mean it to. A better writer wouldn’t sound so rude, like I sound. My apologies.

                      But I think you should really reconsider these beliefs and attitudes.

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                • Well, the goal here is obviously to maintain their separate proms while adding an integrated prom, because three parties are always better than one or two parties. ^_^

                  Seriously, I wouldn’t want to interfere with groups who want to have some events that are by nature largely racially segregated (the high-school proms are probably a modern oddball because so few of the whites and black kids that age haven’t intermarried yet), since many of the remaining events with a racial component celebrate African-American culture, traditions, and togetherness (often church sponsored, or groupings of churches, and then super-groupings that include the whole black community).

                  There’s a nearly constant stream of such events that get very frequent coverage by my local news. It’s not that they exclude whites, it’s just that they make sure white’s don’t attend to such levels that it turns into Octoberfest or St. Paddy’s day, and they don’t let white liberals run the show. Basically, token whites are welcomed, including pandering politicians, and especially ones who can get bitched at and booed, but they are black events. ^_^

                  Anyway, my point is that any legal environment that could stop a private white lake party could be a very heavy-handed and blunt instrument regarding all sorts of rather closed cultural celebrations and festivities, from Juneteenth to all sorts of downtown commemorative events run by the urban league or its local equivalent.

                  Something I haven’t seen in coverage of the prom story is interviews with local blacks (who make up about 40% of the high-school) regarding their feelings about abandoning their own private prom traditions, and to what level both whites and blacks in the county supported the status quo.

                  Basically, we’re missing some background and just assuming that the local black parents must regard the separate parties as oppression instead of having their own space and their own strong traditions. I’d think their opinions would trump all others, either providing strong moral justifications for switching to the integrated, official prom or providing a counterweight to all the outside condemnation the county is suffering. It might even cast the story in a different light entirely, one of both black and white kids rebelling against the strongly held, shared opinions of their parents.

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                    • Yeah, that’s why all the historically black colleges collapsed in the late 1960’s, along with black fraternities. All the black kids wanted to party with whites…

                      Oh wait, that didn’t happen. That’s why I’m making allowance that it’s not a bit unlikely that many of the black kids preferred not partying with snotty pimply-faced kids who listened to Duran Duran and Lynyrd Skynard, or at least didn’t mind not partying with them for at least one function. It’s not like they were sitting at home alone. They were out having the real party.

                      As the principal mentioned, the idea of integrating was just brought up by a few girls who came to him this year, and he and the school board heartily endorsed it. 40% of the school is black. If the school is that receptive then perhaps this is the first time that any students decided an integrated party was a better idea. I just don’t know, because I haven’t seen any student interviews. Perhaps I can find the county paper online.

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                  • Here’s the NYT Magazine coverage of a similar segregated prom setup from 2009, with interviews from students and parents, A Prom Divided. I’d also recommend the accompanying audio slideshow. What I’d written about the Times piece before,

                    Tradition, it’s worked, the kids are perfectly fine with it, this community is fine like it is… That’s the recurring theme from the interviews with the white participants. “It really is hurtful.” Is nearly the first sentence from a black student, another black student remarks, “I wish color wouldn’t be such a big factor in Montgomery County period.”

                    Comparisons with historically black colleges and universities and other such attempts to draw parallels fall flat to me. Broadly speaking, the racial dynamic in the US has not been of structural racism directed against the white population. That fact makes all the difference.

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                • Me,

                  Roll with it. “I think, therefore I am a racist piece of sh*t” is the mantra, even if you your morality would make Frederick Douglas and Martin Luther King bow and weep and beg forgiveness for their transgressions at the 7-11.

                  If you are white, you are by definition guilty, and that’s all there is to it. If you’re not out selling crack below cost you are part of the problem. Once you accept that fact you can start to live again.

                  By Internet (and LoOg standards) most blacks are KKK members, because they don’t conform to ideal liberal thought models. You are in a place that Ellison would describe as whiter than white in its purity. It’s a competition for who can be the whitest. If you don’t win, you lose.

                  But faith in yourself, your history, logic, and the lord will be your salvation when the constantly gnashing teeth come for you, for they are nothing but Kim Kardashian, Peewee Herman, and their minions come to bring you down, and who is scared of those?

                  I sometimes mark my time on the Internet by the anonymous death threats I have received. Half want to kill me for being a Nazi, half want to kill me for being an ultra-Zionist Jew. I think of that as balance. I’m happy with it.

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                  • Dude. You ever give thought to your trolling habits?

                    I mean, there’s getting death threats for selling “fake bacon” to Orthodox Jews…

                    And then there’s getting death threats from epileptics for making their website all blinky.

                    These take effort, ya know?

                    Maybe you oughta upgrade to something more difficult, yaknowwhatImean?

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  7. The tradition of separate proms doesn’t just reflects that white parents were reluctant to have too much mixing with black kids, but that the integrated schools were usually the result of folding a black school into a white school, both of which had their own long traditions. In the first years, the students really represented two different high schools operating under one roof, and both maintained their old proms as private parties.

    As the principle of Wilson County high mentions, their real party is the cadet ball, which is and always has been racially integrated, where the cadets come in uniform and the girls arrive in elaborate dresses. Some other Georgia high schools that have gone to integrated official proms said it was a huge headache, not because of the racial integration, but because hosting a prom is a huge headache with insane planning, a difficult search for a suitable venue, often in vicious competition with other schools, and profound legal liabilities. Many students are also reluctant to skip their own wild, drunken, lakeside parties for an official function with strict alcohol rules and teachers looking over their shoulders. The successful attempts have required principles to win over the students (all the students) on the idea of an official prom, because an official prom sounds awfully lame (Mr. Garrett is going to be there?!!)

    And of course in the adult world blacks often choose to party separately from whites on many occasions because they don’t want to feel that they’re being judged after-hours like they were all day at work. As is well noted, beer thirty is the most segregated time in America.

    In this particular county it looks like the issue was that they elected a black home coming Queen who wouldn’t be asked to the white prom, which of course would mean that the homecoming Queen wouldn’t be there, which sucks, but she couldn’t very well show up without her friends, making the whole separate prom tradition an impediment to proper partying. So the girls at the school asked the principle to make an integrated prom that everyone could attend. I’m sure that will become the new norm for the community.

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    • I think everyone who did not attend a high school with a large percentage of blacks is that an integrated prom quickly becomes the black students prom with the white kids standing on the sideline. The music, dancing, and everything else that goes on will be arranged to keep the black students and especially the black alpha males happy.

      So, it the white students want to have a party where they get to listen to music that they like or do thing that they like, they usually have to segregate themselves.

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      • “the black alpha males”

        If you’re joking, it’s in poor taste. (If so, I would forgive you if you explained that, because I have made a lot of bad taste jokes, too.)

        If you’re not joking, please go away forever. (Though you have given us a nice anecdotal piece of evidence about racism.)

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        • “Alpha male” is standard speech regarding high-school social structures, like “jocks and geeks” and other terms that reflect the reality we all lived under. Sociologists even use the term to distinguish a rank of high-schoolers, and one report I read discussed the loneliness of an alpha-female, usually the head cheerleader, who all the other girls live in fear of, including the beta-female (second-in-command, right-hand social-thugette of the alpha). In this usage the “beta” rank is quite different than the usual usage, distinguishing the star running back from the star quarter back.

          Perhaps you have “alpha male” confused with a racist term.

          But the comment does raise an inevitable issue, one of multiple, almost non-overlapping cultures that do cause a few difficulties with any such large party. Some kids want Duran Duran and Elvis Costello (we’ll call them losers), some want Madonna, some want Hank Williams Jr., some want Ozzy Osbourne, some want One Republic, and some want Jay-Z and Tupac.

          I’m betting the whites in rural Georgia are going to be split between Ozzy, Hank Williams, and Lynyrd Skynard. I’m betting they’ll be in for a Marty McFly moment when the beat starts thumping, unless of course the white kids are the ones crazy for rap music, which isn’t unlikely in most other areas.

          I’m pretty certain the weird white kid who always played Duran Duran, and who has spent all year planning to play some Justin Bieber, is going to get an interracial beat down.

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          • Well of course.
            There certainly aren’t any black nerds- they are all strapping young- er, alpha males, and will just naturally overpower the white males with their natural rhy- um, superior dance skills.

            Think of the bar scene in Animal House, where the black alpha male asks, “Mind if we dance wit you dates?”

            Why wouldn’t the white kids want to protect themselves from such victimization?

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          • I meant that the phrase is a dog-whistle (though I think we all heard it) suggesting that young black guys are too violent; so they shouldn’t be invited to the party.

            Also, the term “alpha male” is a term normally used to describe social animals, especially apes, and only humans in certain contexts, so you might want to steer clear of using the term to describe groups of people who are probably rightly sensitive about being implicitly analogized to animals.

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              • Then he sort of did that. I guess, “dog-whiste” implies something subtler than just out and out saying that the blacks are too violent to go to the prom. I guess he did the latter, which is just racism, not a dog-whistle, per se.

                Though biological descriptors, often used for apes, are also pretty insensitive here, given the long and horrid history of treating and talking about black people as if they were violent animals, who couldn’t be trusted around white women in social situations.

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                • Superdestroyer is among the most direct and non-subtle commenters I run across on a regular basis. He was also a regular at Half Sigma and associated blogs, where the “alpha male” and “beta male” descriptions were used on a pretty regular basis to describe both black men and white men with dominant or charismatic personalities.

                  It’s an ideology that has racial baggage, but it isn’t actually a dogwhistle for the blacks-apes paradigm. It’s its own thing.

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                  • I guess the questiony is how it is taken by many people, not just you and me.

                    IMO, it would offend a lot of people to talk this way, but it is just skirting the line (which is why I misused the expression “dogwhistle”, for lack of a better word.)

                    But, as always, maybe MO is wrong.

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                    • Fair enough.

                      And is it just me, or are you and I arguing in a really fair and fun way a lot, lately, and coming to agreement (or at least agreeing to disagree)?

                      It must be your doing, because normally I blow a gasket when arguing and throw a hissy fit.

                      I appreciate it a lot. Great fun, and informative. I’ve moved quite a bit on your federal college proposal.

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                    • Everyone but me is a jerk.

                      Every time I think that, I try to remember that this means I’m almost certainly the jerk. Some of you seem to have collegiality down better than me.

                      I have really appreciated Will, Kazzy, Mark, Stillwater, and some others’ thoughts on the education symposium. (Hope I’m not forgetting anyone who commented and posted a lot.)

                      I think I’m diametrically opposed to most of you in that I am a big fan of the current tertiary system as it is (obviously, it needs some serious fixes, especially costs), but the debate has been great.

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                    • Yeah, Shaz, it’s been kind of interesting. Education in general is one of those issues that gets me pumped up. In fact, I almost avoid discussing K-12 I can be so emphatic. So it was nice to be able to discuss some of my ideas without things turning ugly. You gave me quite a bit to think about.

                      Now that we’re being all nice to one another, I’ve gotta ask:

                      Shazbot3 vs. Shazbot5… WTH?

                      (If you’re wondering, Will Truman is what it comes up as when I am logged in. Trumwill is when I am not logged in (and what I commented as before I became a contributor). Trumwill Mobile is what I use from my phone as a pre-emptive request to ignore the many typos that are about to occur.)

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                    • Shazbot3 was created first and he was created with emotions. But people were disturbed by these emotions, and he was dissasembled. (“No dissasemble! Shazbot 3 is alive!” he would say, back in the 80’s, and everyone was irritated and not at all entertained.)

                      So Shazbot5, me, was created without emotions, and my exploits and adventures were very popular with nerds of all stripes, until the early 2000’s, when I got an emotion chip, and my whole demeanor and act got pretty irritating and then stale. Or so they say.

                      In the 90’s, Shazbot3 was discovered and reassembled and has been a real jerk ever since, what with his schemes and plots.

                      Nobody really knows what happened to Shazbot4, but there was some girl named Sarah Conners that he seemed to hate. Ex-girlfriend, maybe.

                      Does that answer your question?

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                    • the term “black alpha males” is used to described the socially dominated males in a mixed-race high school. Those alpha males are such dominant personalities that the prom, homecoming dance, and everything that they are interested in will be arranged for their benefit. They will show up to the prom expecting and knowing that the music and entertainment will be arranged to their benefit.

                      The nerdy, goth, alternative, or cowboy white knows that the music they like will not be played at an integrated prom. The white queen bees also know that they will not have control of an integrated prom.

                      The high school in discussion is 50% white and 50% black according to greatschools.com. I would guess that black culture is the dominant culture at such a high school because all of the black kids would function as one clique and the white kids are divided among several cliques. I would also guess that if you look at the yearbook for the high school, there are the white kid activities such as maybe band and there are the black kid activities.

                      I find it amazing that people who attended lillywhite high schools are so quick to condemn the white kids at a schools where those white kids are probably treated as outsiders.

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                    • SD,

                      How often do you think the black students are expected to make peace with a culture other than their own? Do they just not show up to history class because the teacher is white and the curriculum is about dead white dudes? Nope… they still go to class. Do they boycott gym when bowling or tennis are on the agenda? Nope… not in my experience.

                      So why do white students feel the need to flee an event that isn’t uniquely catering to their interests? Privilege. Plain and simple.

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      • As someone who *did* attend a high school that was majority African-American, allow me to weigh in…

        There were a number of events where the dominant pop culture influences WERE largely from African-American youth culture. But ya know what? That’s true in schools even with white majorities. Not all of them… but a lot of them. Like it or not, rap and hip hop are some of the most popular musical genres with high school aged students. So if you go to a high school prom in damn near any part of this country, regardless of the racial makeup of the student body, you’re going to here Hova and Yeezy and Lil’John (ugh) and Beyonce. With a whiter population, you’ll probably here more Lady Gaga or Taylor Swift, but in all but a few circumstances, hip hop and pop are going to be the dominant musical genres. And why wouldn’t you expect a school with a large or predominant black population to play more “black” music? Are we going to argue that predominantly white schools in rural Texas shouldn’t play country music if that is what the students love? If not, why argue that schools like my own, 2/3 black and just outside NYC, shouldn’t play rap music?

        So, the phenomenon that SuperDestroyer is describing isn’t necessarily wrong… but he is describing all sorts of insidious motivations to it. If we see a bunch of white kids listening to rap, we see it as youth being youth. But if we see a mixed group of kids listening to rap, clearly the “black alpha males” have imposed their will on the cowering whites.

        And if whites want to stand on the sidelines? That’s on them. And tough shit for them. Welcome to how kids of color feel when they study “American history” and you learn exclusively about dead white men or when you they take American Lit and Toni Morrison is not on the syllabus or when they look at the faculty and administrative staff and don’t see a damn person that looks like them.

        And yet again we’ve reached a point where white people not enjoying privilege is derided as the “real racism”. Ugh.

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        • I think the implication is that the Blacks will need to be placated because they can’t listen to reason and discuss what music should be played (whites with divergent music taste can discuss it), so the blacks, and especially the physically strong males, will need to be placated or else…

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          • To whatever extent my black peers were more agitated when it came to pop culture issues, I’d say it was largely a function of the one area of the school where they felt they had control. Most of the student groups in charge of these events were filled by black kids (probably somewhat of a feedback loop… the events were somewhat seen as black events so they were run by black kids who ran them more geared towards black interests thus solidifying the perception of them as black events…), but that is because the adults had no say over who was in the groups. They were either elected by their peers or simply signed up. So it was their level of investment and feeling of empowerment that dictated their response, not their skin color or “culture”. And their response was nothing atypical for high school students.

            And, personally, I loved my school for having that element. Our marching band’s 4th quarter routine blew out what my college could do… our pep rallies were awesome… our dance teams were so much fun to watch. Our prom was a blast. And not because they were exclusively black, but because they pulled from all areas of pop culture.

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            • All well said. This kind of thinking is what isn’t common in the towns that we are talking about.

              There are cultural differences between different groups, sure. But using these differences as justifications for segregation of large-scale public events is appaling, as you seem to be suggesting.

              Indeed, the good thing about prom is that students have to go through the act of voting to put people in charge, who then have to try to represent everyone’s interests. It’s an action in democracy, and it often engages more students than actual student government. But yes, those who are most interested in music and parties will have more sway. That again, as you suggest, is a good thing, as it is democratic.

              Indeed, I think the democratic school prom is a small part of the educational process, a sort of large scale group project, and the school has a legitimate interest in making sure it isn’t subverted too badly.

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              • Every school is organized is a different way for organizing the prom. At my daughters high school it was a function of student government and student government was an elective class and they were not elected. Of course, it ended up being all white kids and the 1/3 of the school that was Asian (mainly Korean) and the Korean kids had their own function as a kind-of-prom that they would like.

                I find it amazing that everyone is agreeing that proms at high schools that hare 50% black will be black affairs but that it is something that the white kids could endure and that those schools should give the black kids whatever they want.

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                • “I find it amazing that everyone is agreeing that proms at high schools that hare 50% black will be black affairs but that it is something that the white kids could endure and that those schools should give the black kids whatever they want.”
                  No one is agreeing to that.

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        • However, is some southern towns, the white kids are not standing on the sidelines. The are creating social situaitons where they can listen to rock, country, or even Taylor Swift. However, the rest of the country feels quite comfortable calling them racist for taking actions to create social situation where they feel comfortable.

          It is not that some white kids like some hip hop. The reality is that blacks seem to like nothing but hip hop. White kids can have a wide variety of musical tastes. Blacks seem to like to limit their musical taste to currentlly popular music that is performed by other blacks and is liked by other blacks.

          Also, Black History month as been around for decades. The problem with history education is not that it is about white males these days but that white males are ignored to promote non-white historical figures.

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    • “As the principle of Wilson County high mentions, their real party is the cadet ball, which is and always has been racially integrated, where the cadets come in uniform and the girls arrive in elaborate dresses”

      Frankly, the sexism involved in this is mind-boggling to someone from the egalitarian Northeast. What do the female cadets wear? What do the male non-cadets wear?

      The South IS different. In a bad way.

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      • When I was in college (my alma mater is in the Northeast), some of my Southern classmates still talked about having or attending Debutante balls.

        My reaction was “Wait a minute. Do people still really have debutante balls?”

        Then again, someone just told me that they are a member of the Junior League and now I live in San Francisco. My reaction was “Wait a minute. Does the Junior League still exist? In San Francisco?”

        My big issue with the Cadet’s ball is my general suspicion of militarism but I am old-fashioned that way in my liberalism.

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  8. I wonder how much of this is truly a “southern” thing. In some ways it might be: I’m not aware of de facto segregated proms in other regions.

    However, lest those of us who live in other regions get too haughty, we might reflect about the self-segregation in our own regions–all white or almost completely white suburbs or neighborhoods that result in all white or almost completely white socialization for children. I could look to myself and the mostly white neighborhood in Chicago I live in–that’s not why we chose the neighborhood, but we feel comfortable here and part of what makes it “comfortable” is undoubtedly related to its whiteness relative to other Chicago neighborhoods.

    The example Tod gave is truly reprehensible, and although I’m with Will, who said above that he has trouble thinking of a legal solution to that problem that he’d be comfortable with, I would hope that local politicians and citizens repudiate the practice. But as to whether this is a truly “southern” thing (as opposed to something more universal), then I reserve judgment.

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    • As blacks noted eons ago, in the South they didn’t care how close blacks were, just how high they got. The North was the opposite, where a black could succeed but had to stay at arm’s length. In the North blacks were segregated by geography (different neighborhoods, different school districts), whereas in the South blacks and whites lived in close proximity.

      So only in the South were purposely-separate white and black schools required to segregate the student populations, yet the Southern system also made no exceptions for wealth or status – because the South was intolerant of blacks becoming as successful as whites. In the North, the whites didn’t mind the exceptions because they didn’t mind blacks becoming successful, so letting white kids and Huxtable kids go to school together wasn’t a problem since there weren’t that many Huxtables (even Archie Bunker tolerated George Jefferson, who had gotten rich). They were okay as long as their rich white kids didn’t have to go to a poor school filled with blacks.

      So the North has always had separate proms, ones for rich suburban kids (with a few token Dr. Huxtables and George Jeffersons) and ones for all the poor minority kids (blacks, blue collar whites, and immigrants).

      What’s odd is that the Northern influx into the sunbelt, along with increasing Southern suburbanization and economic growth, is reproducing the yuppy northern suburbs and gated communities and re-introducing Northern style segregation by school district. Unfortunately Northerners are largely blind to it because they think it’s normal, and that only the Southern ways produce racial segregation.

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      • “As blacks noted eons ago, in the South they didn’t care how close blacks were, just how high they got. The North was the opposite, where a black could succeed but had to stay at arm’s length.”

        I have never heard it put like this before, but it seems really correct.

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      • It’s also worth noting that race and ethnicity were NEVER the top issue in much of the north…. whereas *classism* is huge, and money has always been a large part of that (though there’s more to it than money).

        Listening to my grandparents talk about “shanty Irish” vs. “lace-curtain Irish”, the money division runs deep as a fundamental psychological factor across a very large portion of the country.

        It’s even worse in areas which were heavily influenced by the “prosperity gospel”.

        So now in much of the north, people have no problem with black people in their yuppie gated communities. As long as they’re *rich* black people who know all the right wines. “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” was actually making a point with the Banks family.

        Now, poor white people in the north will sometimes resort to racism because they realize that they’re lower class and want to believe that they shouldn’t be. This is seen as kind of pathetic… because (in the view of the average status-conscious person up here) their skin color isn’t important, it’s the size of their wallet and the cut of their suit which matters.

        Hmm. I’m kind of not making the North sound very good, am I?

        Anyway, I guess what I’m saying is that in much of the North, anyway (I’m not talking racist Indiana here), people would genuinely be fine with it if the middle-class suburban party consisted mostly of black people like the Huxtables and Jeffersons, and if the upper-class party consisted mostly of black people like the Bankses. But invite the dirt farmers and mechanics and industrial laborers? Well, that… that would actually require overcoming some taboos….

        Anyway, my point is that in the North you should not think of racism as a primary motivator, at least not in the last 30 years. It is *strictly* secondary to classism.

        I’m not really sure how it developed in the South, but the plantation culture with its many servants made it very different — you had to allow the servants to be near you because they were live-in servants. The taste in the North has, for a long time, been for servants who are as invisible as possible and who go home (somewhere else! outside our gated community!) when their work is done.

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        • Another way to put this. In a highly racist area, when you hear “not our sort of people”, it’s often code for “not white”.

          In a typical northern area, it’s often code for “not the same social class” or “not the same economic class”, or simply “not as rich as us”.

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          • There is still a lot of racism up north.

            The busing fights originated in Boston. Philadelphia is long known for a high amount of racism in the city including the incidents around Mayor Rizzio (a notorious racist) and the Mumia case. Plenty of norhtern cities also had “white flight” into the suburbs during the Civil Rights Years.

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          • Though you are right that socio-economic status is the bigger divider in the North East (I am a native New Yorker). There are all sorts of permutations to this though. Staying in NYC and sending your kids to exclusive prep schools (even if a family really strains to afford the tuition) is seen as being “better” in some circles than moving to a well-to-do suburb and using the excellent but public schools.

            Then there are divisions about how you make your money with some path’s being more tasteful and acceptable than others. Investment banking > Trial Law in some circles as an example.

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          • Good comments all.

            This reminds me of Paul Fussell’s (sp?) book “Class”, which I highly recommend. (Yes, you do get points for pouring your beer into a glass). It’s written by a Britisher looking at the class system in America, and it’s like deToqueville for more modern times on a taboo subject. In the back he lists questions from British readers, and one asks about the complexity of the class system in America, explaining that they’ll be moving there. He advised that they’ll never possibly understand it fully because its vastly more complicated than the British class system, but since the reader was British they’ll get lots of free bonus points and so shouldn’t worry about it.

            Some of the early black literature (Ellison, etc) deals with the complexity of the Northern class system. Escaping the South they expect it to be just as simple but without facing the big barrier of race. Instead everything was far more complicated, far more subtle, and in many ways far worse because you couldn’t understand where all the glass walls were. Things weren’t labeled with signs.

            Northerners like to point to the South as being backwards, and when it comes to furiously generated and maintained status markers and social impediments, they’re probably right. Or as Southerners would observe, they all seem to despise each other, as if everyone’s great-grandparents had killed their pig but nobody would settle it with force of arms, so it just festers and nobody will talk about it directly.

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          • most of the time both of these are combined together.
            Northerners are less likely to state it baldly. that doesn’t mean racism isn’t there.

            Driving While White is just as likely (if not more) to get you arrested as Driving While Black.

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        • “So now in much of the north, people have no problem with black people in their yuppie gated communities. As long as they’re *rich* black people who know all the right wines.”

          Yes and no. Chris Rock pointed out how his neighbor was a white dentist. He was a multi-millionaire celebrity and he lived next to a white dentist. For a black dentist to live in his neighborhood, he “would have had to invent teeth.” A joke, obviously, but accurate in terms of differing standards.

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  9. Until January, I lived all of my 41 years in “the New South” (Research Triangle region mostly, but one year in a town of 4000 people in eastern NC). The urban South really is pretty much like anywhere else in the US, and in some cases (like my hometown) is heavily populated by transplants. And then there are these pockets of the Old South where people hang nooses as a “joke” and hold segregated private proms. The patches of “Old South” have been shrinking in size for decades, but they hang on. That kind of thinking is probably pretty easy to hang onto when all the factory jobs vanish (once upon a time textile mills and furniture factories dotted rural communities throughout my home state…it wasn’t just farming out in the hinterlands), and when a whole new group of economic immigrants (Latinos) comes in large numbers to compete for blue collar jobs against the “crackers” and blacks who historically competed for those jobs. Plus, once upon a time the more ambitious crackers, including my own ancestral cracker people, were able to make a living farming smaller tracts of land and maybe running small businesses. Now big ag and Wal-Mart own farming and retail in these areas. None of this excuses the racism, but it might shed some light on it (or it might not). The rural areas of the Great Plains states have seen similar transformations, but maybe because they lack the racial history of the South, they aren’t as hostile to the new economic immigrants in such news-grabbing ways. The post above makes a good point–the just doesn’t happen elsewhere–but I’m not convinced that in terms of population, the communities where this crap still goes on are more than a tiny fraction of the South. Certainly it’s not like this in the urban South, but also there are plenty of rural communities where overt racism is pretty socially unacceptable, even while it lives on in private. The Georgia Governor’s position is pretty jaw-dropping, I certainly concede. It’s kind of ironic that no southern metropolis is more associated with prosperous Black middle-and-higher classes than Atlanta.

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    • If you want to entertain yourself, look up the percentage of large urban school districts that are white. The liberal bastion of Boston has a public school system that is less than 20% white. Whites who have the economic means find ways to isolate themselves from blacks and Hispanics. The idea that the south is more racist is somewhat laughable. Northerns learn to just keep quiet about their behavior. They learn to use the phrase “it is for the children” or “that school has real problems teaching students” to justify their housing choices or their private school choices.

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        • If you want to find some interesting reading, try digging through the Department of Education databases (like ERIC) and try to find the studies of white students in majority black schools. What little research that educators will bravely perform shows that white students are adversely affect by being sent to majority black schools.

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      • Whites are barely 50% of the public school students in the U.S. and will soon be less than 50%. What is odd is how little research educators seem to want to do on majority non-white schools and what happens if there are not enough white kids to bus around any more.

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              • You really think a school with a hundred people in their graduating class, who have spent the last 12 years together, and who depend on each other in equal measure in everything from tests to football games, has room for hate?

                I think you’re projecting a bit much.

                The white students picked a black homecoming queen, and that probably wasn’t because they hate blacks. It’s probably because she’s the most popular girl in school. Then the girls there realized that she wouldn’t get invited to one of the traditional graduation parties, and apparently her absence there would’ve been intolerable, whatever the traditions were. So they took it upon themselves to overthrow half a century of accepted county tradition and move everyone out of their comfort zones because they will not hold a party without the girl whom they love.

                So yeah, they’re just ate up with racist hate.

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                • Have any of the adults emitted one peep in support of the separate parties?
                  The adults who started the previously accepted tradition are all about a hundred years old. People don’t tend to question traditions, which is why I’m sorely lacking in invites to bachelorette parties. (Yo women, it’s sexist not to invite me.)

                  Most traditions and habits are never questioned, which is why they stick around. Americans swap hands when they use their forks, even though it hasn’t made any sense to do that in about three hundred years. We stick our pinkies out when we eat and drink, even though that hasn’t made sense in perhaps a thousand years. People still vote in huge numbers for the party of slavery, even though the practice was banned by Constitutional amendment.

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                  • Gee, some calls the cops about a black guy happens about a million times a year up north in liberal areas. Must be because they’re all racist.

                    To understand why someone would call the cops you’d have to imagine why they thought the arrival might mark the start of some trouble, perhaps based on a challenge issued in school. We are talking about a vengeance and honor culture, where everyone is aware that they live in a vengeance and honor culture, and that a house full of drunk teens of either race are going to be looking for an excuse.

                    These assumptions about what everyone else must be thinking are a part of what maintains cultural traditions long past their due date. It maintained Southern racial separation long after the majority of Southerners wanted to abandon it, especially the influential business people who would rather have access to better labor but wrongly assumed that their fellow whites wouldn’t tolerate it.

                    To realize what’s going on you have to put yourself in the mind of other members of the culture and see through their eyes. Admittedly its far easier to sit back and make fun of them as backwards primitives, the reflexive liberal attitude of those who can’t understand that other people might be different from them, much less see where the big cultural opportunities are, but it is worth the effort.

                    You just have to quit making fun of how stupid Italians are because of their idiotic festivals, how backwards Irish are (another bizarre honor culture), the idiocy of Hispanics, the barely medieval customs of India, the primitive superstitions of Chinese, the seal-clubbing pom-wannabe Canadians, and tattooed half-cannibal New Zealanders.

                    Once you quit hating and despising all those people, rural Southerners (black and white) are a cinch. They’re just people, very friendly people, whose lives aren’t built around hating everyone who is not exactly like them, unlike liberal Northerners. They like to fight, and they know it. They like to drink, unless they’re Baptist and won’t admit it. They like to fish. And most of all, they have a shared culture.

                    Black culture is more like traditional Southern culture than it is like Northern or Western culture, because that is where American black culture comes from. Southern culture, not surprisingly, comes in large part from black culture. The slow drawl down South is from Portugal, via Africa by way of West African trade languages. Black English is a branch of Southern American English.

                    So why make fun of Southern whites and blacks instead of just making fun of black directly? Why not poke fun of their primitive Southern culture and beliefs? Why not single them out for derision and assume that every bone in their body is motivated by hatred? All from a lily white perspective of social superiority, of course, unless you have Italian, Czech, or Polish blood like the people down in the copier room, unless you’re so mixed that your roots just trace back to a Ford production line in the 1920’s.

                    Fifty years go the ancestors of these students made a cultural decision that became a tradition. Now their descendants have found reason to overthrow the tradition, so why should we make fun of them, their families, their heritage, or their culture? Why should we belittle them for doing what every other culture on Earth has been doing? Why do we not make fun of Japanese, Koreans, Bangladeshis, Indians, Vietnamese, or Mexicans for every ancient social custom they throw in the wastebasket?

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                    • I don’t understand any of this comment.

                      I suspect parts of it are tongue in cheek, but even so it is so weird.

                      The use of the phrase “idiocy of Hispanics” should be apologized for immediately, IMO, and maybe some other stuff, too. Or at least make clear that you’re joking, if you’re joking.

                      Still a pretty gross joke (and nonsensical) but if it isn’t a joke, I’d suggest to the powers that be that you be warned about crossing lines and being temporarily banned.

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                    • Shazbot, that comment was a mirror about all the condemnation of Southern whites and blacks because they come from a different culture, which far exceeded mere observation or advice and quickly sank to sanctimonious moral condemnation and the creation, out of thin air, of imaginary caricatures of phantom racists.

                      Unfortunately this is an all too comfortable pose in some circles, which I was calling out. Since their imagined enemies are so familiar then no thought or understanding is necessary, and they just wade in with a broad brush and outrage by proxy and fill in all the thoughts and motivations for people they have never met, in a culture they have never even attempted to understand.

                      What I find most bizarre is that while being a perfect example of the kind of American they purport to despise, they provide a perfect example of it. Sanctimonious, narrow-minded, insular, intellectually limited, self-centered, aggressive, judgmental, harsh, and the list goes on. Yet they convince themselves that they’re the opposite of all those traits. They’re not. They’re the case study, and it comes out whenever you present them with something that doesn’t happen in a culture whose odd quirks require “understanding.”

                      You objected to one of my examples. You should have objected to ALL of them, because I was describing the mind of Archie Bunker as a mirror image of almost every liberal on this board. At least conservative take the time to try and understand the people we fight, and we don’t even bother to hate most of those we fight. We actually like them quite a lot. I can’t think of any people we’ve gone to war with that I didn’t like, from Cherokee to the Iraqis.

                      Liberals will probably respond to that last sentence and claim it’s a dog whistle, but sorry, no. Conservatives don’t hate their enemies (except for liberals, who can all go suck eggs because their lives revolve around hatred and envy).

                      In our world, today’s enemy is tomorrow ally after you kick him in the butt a few times or kick the butt of the person who’s persecuting them. And often you don’t have to do a thing, because they are kindred spirits. Mexicans are like that. We can’t really object to them because we can’t find a significant difference between us. If they take our place we’ll be proud, because we can’t think of a better inheritor who will keep our customs intact. Unfortunately, these are also conservative Catholic customs, which in any other context would open them to derision and condemnation by liberals.

                      Blessed be to G-d that they’re voting Democratic right now, otherwise there would be machine gun nests set along the border.

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                • If you think the white kids and the black kids have been totally integrated while in high school, then you are a fool. Schools that are 50% white and 50
                  % black have the classes that the white kids take and the classes that the black kids take. The are also the extra-curriculars that the white kids do (think golf or softball) and the extra-culliculars that they black kids do.

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                  • SD,
                    How many black kids were in your school? And what decade did you attend? As I said, I went to a school that was majority black by the time I graduated in 2001. We weren’t singing Kumbuya, but we sure as hell didn’t have a whites only party.

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                    • I attended a school that was 40% white. However, the senior level calculcus class had a grand total of one black and one hispanic. Even in liberal cities like Alexandria, VA, the white kids all take AP classes to avoid the all black/Hispanic non-AP Classes. The Washington Post has written stories about it.

                      At your high school, how many blacks were on the golf team or on the debate team?

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                    • Coincidentally, my son is on the debate team at his high school, and he’s the only white kid on it.

                      Also, are white kids taking AP courses ” to avoid the all black/Hispanic non-AP Classes,” or are they taking them because AP courses can lead to college credit, and even if they don’t, they look better to colleges. Maybe, then, the reasons these classes are so segregated, when they are, might have something to do with the course tracks these kids are on, and perhaps there might be some racial dynamics related to these course tracks that aren’t so much about self-segregation as they are about systemic issues that exist well before these kids even get to high school?

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  10. Wouldn’t one way to discourage this practice be to set up a website listing the every town that has a practice like this? I mean the shame of having the entire country know that your town does this make it less likely.

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