A Prom Divided

Sara Corbett, New York Times, May 24, 2009

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Racially segregated proms have been held in Montgomery County [Georgia]–where about two-thirds of the population is white–almost every year since its schools were integrated in 1971. {snip} All students are welcome at the black prom, though generally few if any white students show up. {snip}

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Earlier this month, on the Friday night of the white prom, Kera Nobles, a senior who is black, and six of her black classmates drove over to the local community center where it was being held. {snip}

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The seven teenagers–a mix of girls and boys–slowly worked their way through two buckets of fried chicken. They cracked jokes about the white people’s prom (“I feel bad for them! Their prom is lame!”). They puzzled merrily over white girls’ devotion both to tanning beds (“You don’t like black people, but you’re working your hardest to get as brown as I am!”) and also to the very boys who were excluded from the dance (“Half of those girls, when they get home, they’re gonna text a black boy”). They mused about whether white parents really believed that by keeping black people out of the prom, it would keep them out of their children’s lives (“You think there aren’t going to be black boys at college?”). {snip}

{snip} The next night, {snip} a girl named Angel checked her cellphone to see if any of the white kids had texted from inside their prom. They hadn’t. {snip}

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