[Kamikaze] Prom Night | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

[Kamikaze] Prom Night

photo

Brad Franklin

Wounds are funny things. Even the smallest ones oftentimes take months to heal. Ironically, sometimes in order to for them to heal, they have to be reopened, exposed to air and light for everyone to see. That ugliness makes some who view it uncomfortable. But ultimately it's necessary for closure.

Yep, race in your face. Again. In this new round of race discussions, I've found the antibody to be none other than our young people. But just as they have begun to make efforts to let these old racial wounds breathe and subsequently heal, I've found that some parents in Mississippi wish to just keep the bandage over the sore and forget it's there.

I had the pleasure of meeting some of those said young people a few days ago in Grenada. Morgan Freeman (yes, that Morgan Freeman), Thabi Moyo and a film crew shooting a ground-breaking documentary called "Prom Night'' asked me to be a part of their film and perform for Charleston High School's prom at Holmes Community College. Nothing out of the ordinary, right? Thing is, this wasn't just any prom. In the year 2008, this was Charleston High's first integrated prom—the first time that black and white students danced and partied together in this traditional right of passage. Sad.

But what's even sadder is the opposition that the crew says they have gotten from a few parents. One parent, in particular, has gone as far as calling the Mississippi Department of Education with claims of harassment by the film crew. That same parent pushed to have the all-white prom continue as planned three weeks ago. The crew was asked by Batesville police to leave when they came to get footage.

Bottom line? The idea of separate proms in this day and age is ridiculous. In fact, as a proud Mississippian, it's embarrassing. My hat goes off to Freeman for putting his money where his mouth is by funding the prom in an effort to improve race relations. Thanks to Moyo and the film crew for exposing that wound to light. And kudos to those kids for having more courage and conviction than some of their parents did. They have chosen to help truly heal that wound. And if we truly hope to change things, we have to stop parents—white and black—from passing on the poison of hate and separation to our kids. This is yet another instance where the adults should take a cue from us "whippersnappers." I was honored to be a part of it.

And that's the truth ... sho-nuff.

Previous Comments

ID
118941
Comment

What possibly could justify the need to have two different proms for the same class?

Author
Queen601
Date
2008-04-28T08:30:03-06:00
ID
118943
Comment

So you did perform? Wow. Want to hear more about it. I'm not surprised there is resistance to change, lots of people don't like change. I hope there were some good moments during the event.

Author
Izzy
Date
2008-04-28T08:37:51-06:00
ID
118944
Comment

This is actually nothing new. Just a few years ago, a high school in Georgia was having two different proms. Come on, people, this is the 2000s--get with the modern times already!

Author
golden eagle
Date
2008-04-28T09:08:18-06:00
ID
118946
Comment

Wow. Just... wow. I can't even imagine. I'm speechless.

Author
Lady Havoc
Date
2008-04-28T09:17:35-06:00
ID
118947
Comment

Folks, my high school (Neshoba Central) stopped having proms on integration in 1970 so that, so we were told, whites and blacks wouldn't dance together. They started having a banquet in the gym, and then the white kids went to the damn country club (which I hated with its nouveau-riche whites-only snobbery). The black kids had their party somewhere else. That was true in 1979 when I graduated. I don't know what happens now. I will say that our 10th reunion was held at the country club, and it was racially mixed. So there's something anyway.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-04-28T09:40:57-06:00
ID
118948
Comment

It is remarkable that anyone would try to argue that "all that" is behind us in a state where this crap still happens, eh?

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-04-28T09:41:32-06:00
ID
118951
Comment

Well, I attended Clinton High and I do believe the school was prodominently white. However, at least they did have the decensy to allow us to "prom" together. I mean what's the point of making it public that the proms will be separate. It was clear to us all that the prom was really for the white kids. I mean blacks had limited input on the prom. We were just told when it was and if you were lucky you got wind of what the theme was. But we were allowed/permitted to attend. Still though, the blacks planned our own party and just went to the prom to take photos. Afterwhich we vamped and went on to partyville. So, still the prom was mostly for the white kids and blacks were just kinda included because it was well known that we wouldn't spend much time there, so why bother making it publicly segregated. In my day, the separation was inevitable anyway.

Author
Queen601
Date
2008-04-28T10:19:38-06:00
ID
118952
Comment

Agreed, Queen. Now, if I may, I will point out the irony in anyone being shocked by separate proms considering the re-segregation and white flight that followed forced integration in the state. Is it really more shocking to have separate proms than it is to have largely racially segregated schools? Food for thought.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-04-28T10:32:22-06:00
ID
118955
Comment

Not at all. And it's disgusting!

Author
Queen601
Date
2008-04-28T11:30:14-06:00
ID
118956
Comment

While I saw no point in dragging my singleness to a prom, I do know that Murrah's were integrated. I don't know how long, but probably for awhile now.

Author
Ironghost
Date
2008-04-28T13:01:19-06:00
ID
118958
Comment

I find this totally interesting - in a bad yet contemplative way. Why hasn't anyone heard of this before? This is the first that I've heard of any school or place still practicing segregation overtly (sadly its still covertly practiced.) The worst part of this appears that it was or IS sanctioned. Wow. I wonder how many other schools in Mississippi still practice this crap.

Author
Puck
Date
2008-04-28T14:02:57-06:00
ID
118961
Comment

I wonder what the excuse was for allowing this. "Well, we don't like the same music or dance the way they do." Was that it? If that's the excuse, I ain't buyin' it. "White folks" music and "black folks" music was and is listened to by both races, probably even more so today with the emergence of hip-hop.

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2008-04-28T14:26:48-06:00
ID
118964
Comment

I think if you dig deeper Puck youll uncover some more of these ''scabs'' in other rural areas. As I told some of the film crew in my travels on tour Ive stopped for gas in nooks and crannys in MS, Ala and Ark that looked as if they were frozen in time. The looks from the townies said it all lol. So Im sure Charleston,MS isnt an anomoly unfortunately. Its funny how human beings dont adequately learn from history. Funny but sad how the film crew were called ''agitators'' by some of the townspeople. Sound familiar?? Laurel, it was indeed an honor to be a part of such a momentous event..I guess I was a part of history. But as I looked out n the crowd of kids, I dont think any of them actually realized the levity of the situation they were in. Black kids dancing..some white kids sitting..we still have a way to go I suppose. My joy came from knowing that there were haters..black and white sitting at home stewing because the races were ''intermingling'' lol...Youre right LW..simply no excuse in 2008 for this to occur and we are ALL to blame.

Author
Kamikaze
Date
2008-04-28T14:55:34-06:00
ID
118966
Comment

I don't remember any of the schools in Bolivar county having proms. They had the Cotillion Club dances and the Stag Club dances but they were not put on by the schools. I guess they did away with the proms in the 60's. when they integrated the schools.

Author
BubbaT
Date
2008-04-28T16:02:20-06:00
ID
118974
Comment

it's like the swimming pools getting filled in with dirt or concrete. so sad.

Author
Izzy
Date
2008-04-29T08:15:33-06:00
ID
118976
Comment

I'm going to take what some might see as a cheap shot at Jackson. It is *not* because I don't like the city where I grew up- I actually love Jackson, and would like to see this one elephant in the room to be led away permanently! Here goes: When Jackson Public Schools are 98% African American, does it really matter whether or not they integrate the proms? I know that there are many white families with children in Jackson- why are they still sending their kids to private schools? When you think about it, Jackson actually does have separate proms!

Author
Rico
Date
2008-04-29T08:45:10-06:00
ID
118977
Comment

Come on y'all, don't we need seperate proms. How else can you stop the black males from hitting on white girls? Young black males nowadays are like the white male in that they believe everything in the world was made for their enjoyment and fun, notwithstanding history. Once white girls hear those black guys rap and see blacks boys and girls dance and party they will seek to join them. Then the sale of country and rock music will suffer. Some whites just want to live a white life without seeing, being bothered with, or having to put up with blacks. Probably are some blacks who feel the same way. Since this is a free country where we shouldn't be forced to associate with those we choose not to, what is wrong with that? Hasn't this inter-racial dating thing gotten out of hand anyway? I see lots of it around here. At least the schools, where impressionable and precious white children are educated, shouldn't be involved with hurting the white race. We didn't have a prom either at my high school. Mr. Monroe knew I was going to slow dance with as many white girls as I could. You can "blieve" that as I had made me a list! My list entitled "White Girls I plan to Slow Dance With at the Prom" fell from my pocket and somebody gave it to the principal. Who knows, maybe there was a white prom that no one told us about!

Author
Walt
Date
2008-04-29T09:19:15-06:00
ID
118978
Comment

Mr. Monroe knew I was going to slow dance with as many white girls as I could. You can "blieve" that as I had made me a list! My list entitled "White Girls I plan to Slow Dance With at the Prom" fell from my pocket and somebody gave it to the principal. Who knows, maybe there was a white prom that no one told us about! Too funny! Thanks for the laugh. :)

Author
ellen
Date
2008-04-29T10:09:25-06:00
ID
118979
Comment

Rico I agree with you. I see your point. Thing is, we should be making efforts to bring blacks and whites together. Not continuing with this idea of separation. It can be just as simple as the school is prodominately white or black and that's why the proms are separated. However the point of this is that these kids need to be proming together. We need to be supporting the idea of togetherness. They need to learn to get along together and tolerate each other's culture. Now a days there is no different in the music they listen to or the classes they go to, or the homework or the shows they watch on television, so why should there be a difference in their proms. We need to stop promoting segregation all together, even with something as simple as the prom. We've got to start some place. We must learn to live in the same world. Not blacks in our world; whites in their world. There is ONE world and we all need to start accepting and promoting that idea.

Author
Queen601
Date
2008-04-29T10:16:17-06:00
ID
118980
Comment

We have all admitted that we've noticed this difference in our lives. Would it not be the best move to remove the things that were major contributors to separating blacks and whites when we were younger, to prevent our kids from following in this mindset. ONE PROM!!!!!! If the parents don't want their kids to party together, keep them at home. We can't pacify these folks any longer. They are not considering our childrens future, they are lead by the past. It must stop.

Author
Queen601
Date
2008-04-29T10:19:27-06:00
ID
118983
Comment

I agree Queen. For all my teenage years, Queen, I looked at Racquel Welsh and said it's too bad this awful separation thing is keeping us apart.

Author
Walt
Date
2008-04-29T11:10:26-06:00
ID
118984
Comment

When Jackson Public Schools are 98% African American, does it really matter whether or not they integrate the proms? I know that there are many white families with children in Jackson- why are they still sending their kids to private schools? You're right, Rico. As I pointed out above, it's remarkable to be shocked at separate proms in the Delta when we have re-segregated schools in Jackson. However, that is not a cheap shot at Jackson you're taking; it's all all the white people who have fled Jackson and the public schools since integration was forced in 1970 (and before, as the state helped the Citizens Council set up Council schools and the seg academies). Many of those people are your neighbors in the suburbs.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-04-29T11:12:27-06:00
ID
118985
Comment

Well now-a-days WALT, you can have anyone you desire...even Mrs. Welch. Don't fight the feeling!

Author
Queen601
Date
2008-04-29T11:17:39-06:00
ID
118986
Comment

Wouldn't it be nice if there were a citywide dance that public and private school students could attend?

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2008-04-29T11:17:39-06:00
ID
118987
Comment

That would be nice LW. Unfortunately we can't get it right one school at a time, I can only imagine the controversy that would surround trying to get all the schools together. WOW that would be headline news, I'm sure.

Author
Queen601
Date
2008-04-29T11:18:49-06:00
ID
118989
Comment

Thanks. Actually, however, Queen, I don't care about race when it comes to friends, love ones and mates. People should love whomever they like. I like good, loving and caring people of all kinds. Once I see these characteristics, I'm impressed. Otherwise, I'm usually not! I'm well aware of how race impacts realtionships and how race is viewed within relationships. I don't hate on sisters who date white men or brothers who date white women. I always look around though to see how it's perceived by bystanders. When I'm with a white female co-workers or colleagues in some social setting I watch to see how sisters look at me and whether, when in a restaurant, they give me the Queen Latifah treatment from Jungle Fever. If I see sisters in the same area having a good social gathering I try to get close enough to speak to them, and if the occasion come about I'll tell them "this is my coworker" to ease the hate, if any. Especially if they know I'm a black professional. You know what they say, "a country brother with money doesn't think he's complete until he has a white, light or other girl on his arm." I learned this weekend that the father of my maternal grandmother was an Indian. I already knew the mother of my paternal great grandfather was an Indian. No wonder I'm a Buffalo Soldier by nature.

Author
Walt
Date
2008-04-29T11:41:11-06:00
ID
119003
Comment

Back to the separate prom thing. When my granddaughter becomes of age for her prom night I plan to rent out the school auditorium one night just for her and select friends, hire a band to play her favorite songs, personally drive the limousine to and from the event, personally chairperone the event, and, most of all, pick her prom dress (I like the type I saw the women wearing from the Texas compound where the children were taken recently because of claims of underage sex) and prom date for her so she won't have to take precious time from her studies to do such inconsequential things. I hope to find one of the choir boys from the church who is scared of girls or a boy who doesn't like girls at all. Sounds memorable, doesn't it? She'll never stop thanking granddaddy for it.

Author
Walt
Date
2008-04-29T13:25:11-06:00
ID
119005
Comment

I think I have the solution to this social problem. It's called the "Adopt a Cute Elderly Black-White Couple" program. Me and her could go around saying stuff like "All cats are grey in the dark; It don't rub off; and, (my favorite) Size don't matter." Maybe with the proper role models "some" people won't be so allergic to mixing. Any feedback on my concept?

Author
willdufauve
Date
2008-04-29T14:15:10-06:00
ID
119007
Comment

I just think you're trying to be the new Ra-mean-Walt.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-04-29T14:30:24-06:00
ID
119010
Comment

Again, I'm Walt. Ms. Ladd you can call me Ra-mean-Walt if you like to. I don't mind your giving me a special name if you think I'm special. If I'm special, I'm just special. Hopefully that ITodd guy won't get jealous and kick me off for it. Anyway, I can't wait to see this film, Kaze. Some of my high school classmates have been trying to get together a class reunion so we can go back and have the prom we were denied in 1974. Hopefully, I can recreate my list and my arms are long enough to still get around all the women of both races I plan to dance with this time. It'll be interesting to see if anyone was harmed permanently by the racism that existed back then. I can't wait to ask a few of them if they still have that hidden flame for me they had back then! Unfortunately, Mr. Monroe kicked the bucket several years ago and won't be around to die of a heart attack upon seeing blacks and whites embrace. He once told Vikki she "looked like a giraffe from Africa with that short dress on." What a fine giraffe she was! I know some boys who came to school just to see giraffes from Africa. White boys included.

Author
Walt
Date
2008-04-29T14:59:43-06:00
ID
119011
Comment

Walt you are familiarly hilarious. And I love the idea about adopting a cute black/white couple, willdufauve. Excellent idea. But they might be hard to locate in Jackson.

Author
Queen601
Date
2008-04-29T15:03:55-06:00
ID
119014
Comment

I love it too, Will. In fairness I should add that I've picked over over a hundred pounds since high school. As my younger brother always says about large women, "just more to love."

Author
Walt
Date
2008-04-29T15:09:33-06:00
ID
119015
Comment

I meant R-I mean-Walt, of course. ;-) Funny you should say that, Walk. In many ways, at our 10th, we had the prom we never had at the Country Club. Blacks and whites were dancing together and having a grand ole time. I hate a hangover to remember, too. And I ... oh, never. Can't tell that. Kids never make these decisions, of course. My class had many mixed friendships and efforts at racial dialogue (a few of us forced it on our teachers). it was those old racist coots afraid that their way of life would be threatened by different races dancing together. And they were right, of course. Sadly, there are new racist coots among us. But we can shout them down, and then watch them wiggle and squirm and whine about boycotts. Uh, it's not 1965 anymore, boyz. Get with the program. Ain't life grand!?!

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-04-29T15:12:23-06:00
ID
119026
Comment

However, that is not a cheap shot at Jackson you're taking; it's all all the white people who have fled Jackson and the public schools since integration was forced in 1970 (and before, as the state helped the Citizens Council set up Council schools and the seg academies). Many of those people are your neighbors in the suburbs. The racial makeup of Jackson and the racial makeup of JPS do not coincide at all. Personally, I don't see how in the world you can blame that on the suburbs, but I'm sure that you will do your best to find an angle- good luck on this one!

Author
Rico
Date
2008-04-29T18:26:17-06:00
ID
119028
Comment

The racial makeup of Jackson and the racial makeup of JPS do not coincide at all. They don't coincide, but they're not that far off, considering that Jackson is nearly 70 percent black. But I'm sure you know that that is an illogical comparison anyway. Not all black or white people in Jackson are school-age. We'd have to parse other numbers to come up with such an accurate comparison. Personally, I don't see how in the world you can blame that on the suburbs, but I'm sure that you will do your best to find an angle- good luck on this one Rico, have you lived under a rock for the last few decades? Please tell me that you're not one of the white-flight-from-public-schools deniers in the crowd. This is like one of those earth-is-flat arguments, friend. We can stipulate why JPS schools are overwhelmingly black. It's fact chiseled in stone, and you could fill the state capitol with the written documents, newspapers, books, magazines, reports and oral histories to prove it. I get so sick of having to waste time trying to convince white men that white people fled from our schools when they were forced to integrate. This ignorance is the best argument I can think of for real civil-rights education in our schools. With due respect. Sigh.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-04-29T18:32:39-06:00
ID
119033
Comment

You don't have to convince me that people fled back then- I went to Chastain, then Powell, then Brinkley. Convince me that Jacksonians aren't still fleeing- show me that the white families in Jackson are supporting the public schools- not just with their money, but in their participation. I don't think you can do it at this point in time while the JPS is 98% African American. What I would love to see you do is work to change the fact that white people in Jackson are sending their children to private schools. We need one school system in town, not two. I know that it must seem like an insurmountable task, but I have every reason to believe that you can actually make things change- that is if you choose to acknowledge that this is something that needs to change rather than trying to blame things on the suburbs... For whatever it is worth, and whatever they are now, Jackson Prep and Jackson Academy came into their own because of the same criteria that caused white flight- they no longer need to exist in this day and time. I really hope that the JFP plays a part in helping to eliminate any perceived need for either of them.

Author
Rico
Date
2008-04-29T23:18:51-06:00
ID
119034
Comment

I haven't tried to convince you that Jacksonians, especially white ones, aren't still fleeing. That would be absurd. They've been fleeing since the '60s. Black ones are now joining them because of the effects of that flight. It's pretty basic, and it still doesn't support your notion as a "slight on Jackson." It's a slight on the people who fled/flee because they don't want to live in mixed neighborhoods and their kids to attend mixed schools. It's not about blaming the suburbs or the city (and note the suburb "blame" tends to happen when someone such as you blames, or "slights," the city, while not acknowledging the very serious issue of suburban flight. You call our response "blame"; we call it "factchecking," or "setting the record straight. Context is key to these kinds of discussions, and if you start at the premise of, "look at the problems of Jackson today" without even considering how it got there, you won't ever fix a thing. That's just passing on responsibility to other people. These issues belong to us all, and especially to those who fled intentionally to hurt the city and get away from black people. And there are plenty. Go into the archives; they used to be more bold about stating their reasons. Now, people try to revise it, but that doesn't change the facts. Just makes it look like some people are uneducated and in denial. And many children of those people are uneducated about it, through no fault of their own. I feel sorry for them because they've been told so many lies about why things are the way they are. I do what I can to get white people in Jackson not send their kids to public schools -- by writing about the need for diverse education and talking to people one on one. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't. And I wholeheartedly support and promotes the efforts of Parents for Public Schools -- and the kids of those parents are some of smartest, best-rounded people I've ever met -- and comfortable in all settings. And they know our history, and let it inspire them. I couldn't agree more about Prep and JA -- of course they came into existence because of white flight, although there are efforts to revise that history to the students (I ran headlong into that in a diversity workshop I taught to high school kids.) The JFP is doing what we can to help eliminate that need, and have for years. It's not like that's a new idea over here. ;-) However, your division of this into a Jackson problem instead of a metro/suburban problem is shortsighted. Many of the people in the 'burbs actively work toward this division, sadly. Not all, but too many. If you mean it, call on everyone to get on board. It also doesn't hurt to note that in a city that has shifted to 70 percent black, and with some neighborhoods and schools that were always black, that an equitable percentage isn't as far off as you seem to think it is. A major key is to reverse the white flight to the burbs by people who aren't doing it for racism, but out of misperceptions about JPS and our city. The JFP has been involved in that effort from day-one with our promotion of eco-devo in the city and, frankly, taking on many of the suburban defensiveness toward the city posted by yourself and others. And it's working as the trend is toward urban lifestyles over boring cul-de-sacs where you have to drive everywhere. Gas prices don't hurt. I live 9/10 of a mile from my office, and we get gas about once a month, unless we have to go out of town. There are great public schools around here, and they will only get better as the economic base of the city gets better. Of course it can be changed, but we have to battle the stereotypes that people who want to justify that suburban choices try to hoist on us. Frankly, I don't care where you or anyone else lives, but don't try to justify it by lying about where I live, or revising the history about how all this came about.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-04-30T07:33:42-06:00
ID
119041
Comment

My white stepdaughter just went to Prom with her white friend-girl at Murrah. Our 3 kids go to JPS schools and they are not the only white kids there. I am proud that she has gone to Murrah. She has gotten a good education, learned how to relate to people in a diverse world, went to my alma mater, and got a free ride to Belhaven! I was in the first class to be integrated in JPS and when Prom time came around at Murrah in the '80's, I heard no mention of separate Proms. There were may have been separate parties afterwards, but the Prom was open to all. I am proud to still call Jackson(not Ridgeland, not Brandon,etc.)home. Like all lifelong relationships, we have our good days and our bad days, but we are in it together. People have to live somewhere, if they want to pay for all that gas to come into my hometown to work and to attend cultural events, that's their money. I enjoy being less than ten minutes to everything!

Author
LKL
Date
2008-04-30T14:19:51-06:00
ID
119042
Comment

LKL, your story is exactly the reason why we must ensure that schools and their functions remain intergrated. Your girls have been provided with the diversity that separation can't offer. And you have made a wonderful point. I am thankful for your post.

Author
Queen601
Date
2008-04-30T14:37:17-06:00
ID
119757
Comment

Speaking of interracial socializing and going further into interracial marraige, friday past Mildred Loving, plaintiff in Loving versus Virginia, the case that made interracial marriages legally nationwide in 1967, died. Her husband Richard died in 1975. Before then in Virginia and most other places interracial marriages were illegal and interracial dating was on the down low with the black male risking a lynching or something similar in nearly every case of it. I would have had to pass on it back then. As early as 1990 a white sheriff caught a black man with his wife and killed him without any charges being pressed. That wasn't right. How about the ban on interracial marriages or dating for irony since master made more runs into the slave quarters for forced or nonconsensual sex than he did to the bathroom to do number one and two combined. And how about that Thomas Jefferson who was too pure, saintly, brillant and white to marry a black woman but not to impregnate one. Lawdy, lawdy Miss Claudy! This is why I made the list desribed above when in high school and a second list called "White Girls I Plan to Get Freaky With on the Dance Floor." Once the principal and football coaches saw the second list they instantly forgot how to read whole or complete phrases. They asked me what did I mean by saying I plan to get freaky with white girls? I asked them did they see the "dance floor" part as well. Not a single one of them acknowledged the dance floor part. Upon trying to break it down to them, I told them that I had seen little Johnny and Susy dancing and Little Johnny moved like he had 3 feet instead of two. I further said Lil Susie just needs the right dance partner. I moreover said I want to show these white girls how to put their bodies into and to move like they got some soul in them. I then said I know these white girls got some soul because all God's children got soul. After I said that I looked up and saw the principal and both coaches heads were on fire. I mean red faces had grown to a flaming fire. That scene scared a young player. All I could do was grab my pocket knife and back up against the wall. I finally told them if they touched me I would call the NAACP and everybody else I knew and we'd make national and international news. They cooled down, let me go and I'm here to tell the story.

Author
Walt
Date
2008-05-05T13:43:51-06:00
ID
119759
Comment

June 12 is the national celebration of "Loving Day" in honor of the Lovings.

Author
willdufauve
Date
2008-05-05T15:17:54-06:00
ID
119763
Comment

I never knew anything about that story until she died today. I really do learn something new everyday.

Author
golden eagle
Date
2008-05-05T15:42:38-06:00
ID
119770
Comment

Getting back to the schools issue- I think one thing that drives both white & black parents to the suburbs is the quality of schools. If a good number of the students at a given school aren't prepared to be in school, they will slow down an entire class. My ex moved to Brandon after we divorced, and my kids are in the school system out there, and from my observation, the schools are more racially balanced than those in JPS. The neighborhood they live in out there is more diverse than almost any in Jackson Proper, as well. Flight to the suburbs will continue until JPS schools can compete with the schools in the burbs. I recall reading a few years ago that the per student expenditure in JPS was the highest in the metro, but their test scores were the lowest. If that's true, it's very interesting.

Author
bill_jackson
Date
2008-05-06T08:17:25-06:00
ID
119816
Comment

Whoa! I totally missed this (probably because proms are not that interesting to me and the title didn't grab me). Someone pointed me this way, though. Having lived outside Charleston in that county a couple of years back in the mid-70's, I don't find this surprising. The recent thing that surprised me in Tallahatchie County is the formation of a coalition incubated by Susan Glisson and the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation. I'm not selling her short here by saying it surprised me - I'm saying I know the area and the attitudes about the prom are more what I expect. I'm amazed at her success at getting something started there (gotta start somewhere). So, we have a few people there who are working and looking forward and a lot of people digging in their heels to keep things in the past. There's a reason folks down there call it the "Free State of Tallahatchie". God bless Morgan Freeman and Susan Glisson for being beacons of light leading forward. Queen, I saw your piece in here while I was looking for this one, and I loved it. I remember when I first saw some of your posts in here. It was obvious, even then, that your light was bright and getting brighter, not to mention that you are a fighter who will stand up and say what you believe, no matter how alone you may feel when you're doing it. My hat's off to you, too.

Author
C.W.
Date
2008-05-07T08:29:05-06:00
ID
119818
Comment

Yet some people claim Obama is unable to reach small town, old and rural white voters, male and female, because of some lack of ability he has. Only God can reach those kinds of people and even he or she usually has to drop a bucket down there for them to kick before he can do anything with them. That's funny rat der! Like me, Obama does not have the complexion for the protection or connection with these kind of people. Even light or half white isn't sufficient for their taste. A lawyer friend of mines said he routinely strikes these kind of people from his juries. He further says he didn't live this long to stay stupid.

Author
Walt
Date
2008-05-07T09:29:06-06:00
ID
119822
Comment

Since Ronni told us on another column stupid and ignorance aren't the same, my lawyer friend said he wanted me to add "stupid or ignorant" to the last sentence in his 10:29 post. If Ronni said it, I believe it.

Author
Walt
Date
2008-05-07T11:40:42-06:00
ID
119823
Comment

i graduated from one of the schools mentioned in kamikaze's column, south panola in batesville, in 1996. my senior year was the first year that the school sponsored a prom period. in the years before that, and including that year, there were two separate and private proms...one black and one white. i am ashamed to say that i did not attend the school-sponsored prom...none of my friends did. at that age, one can't truly grasp what all of it means. and, it's not really the students making the decisions. things are done the way they are done because they've always been done that way. i'm not sure how prom is handled at south panola any more. i live in jackson now. being here for 8 years, i'm finally starting to realize how different race relations are around the state. this isn't to say that segregation is right in any form. however, people tend to believe that the way they live their lives is the norm. i'm excited about seeing this film, and i hope that it can begin to open some eyes. [c]

Author
C Myers
Date
2008-05-07T13:29:37-06:00

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