Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has chosen not to take sides in the controversy surrounding Wilcox County High School students seeking to end a tradition of holding segregated proms.
The governor’s spokesman, Brian Robinson, told a local television station via email that the governor had no response to a liberal group’s call for state officials to speak out:
“This is a leftist front group for the state Democratic party and we’re not going to lend a hand to their silly publicity stunt.”
Better Georgia asked state officials, including Governor Deal, to publicly support the students of Wilcox County in their fight to end a “separate-but-equal” high school prom.
“Wilcox County High School students are working their tails off to unite their community and shake the humiliation and sins of their parents,” the liberal group said in a press release. “They’ve organized a facebook page asking for donations to have their first integrated prom on April 27. They’re doing this against the wishes of some parents and even some in the school, which has refused to host the proposed prom. That, people, is courage.”
Better Georgia calls for Georgians to both donate money to the students and call their state representatives, state senators, congressmen, and governor.
Deal’s comment was aimed squarely at the publicity garnered by Better Georgia, not the efforts made by the high school students themselves. Few would call it safe politics to call high school students the orchestrators of a “silly publicity stunt” even if their actions were seen as such.
Regardless, not all of Deal’s Republican colleagues share his ambivalence towards the issue. ThinkProgress, in their criticism of Georgia’s governor, point out that three Georgia Republican lawmakers have thrown their support behind ending the practice of holding segregated proms. State House Majority Whip Ed Lindsey is among those who have already put out press statements in favor.
The Inquisitr previously reported on how Wilcox County High School has had segregated dances for whites and blacks for as long as anyone can remember.
Homecoming was traditionally a segregated affair as well, but this year put that to an end. The student body elected a black homecoming queen and a white homecoming king. Yet, despite an integrated homecoming, prom remain segregated.
“I felt like there had to be a change,” Quanesha Wallace, this year’s homecoming queen, said. “For me to be a black person and the king to be a white person, I felt like why can’t we come together.”
The topic of racism is never buried too deeply under the surface in American social discourse, but Georgia’s Wilcox County High School segregated prom controversy occurs at the same time that popular music has also lobbed a prominent song at the issue. Country music star Brad Paisley and rapper LL Cool J recently stirred controversy with their duet, “Accidental Racist.” This weekend the controversy resulted in a spoof by Saturday Night Live.
Racism remains a touchy subject, but there is encouragement to be found. The students of Wilcox County High School have attracted over 22,000 likes to their Facebook page calling for an integrated prom. With the use of the internet and the support of their local community, high school students are finding they can enact social change and overturn Georgia’s segregated prom faster than politicians can respond.