Hearkening back to the days of Strom Thurmond, Lester Maddox and George Wallace, current Georgia Governor Nathan Deal proved once again that the ugly ghost of segregation is not truly dead. While the question of how Wilcox County High School was able to hold “separate but equal” segregated proms in 2013 certainly bears investigation by Eric Holder’s Department of Justice, Governor Deal not only refused to condemn the racially separated proms, but he insulted the brave young students who are attempting to hold the school’s first integrated prom. The noble Governor refused to condemn the schools’ tolerance of racial separation and his spokesman called the integrated prom a “silly publicity stunt.”
Perhaps the good Governor will resort to another common practice from the days of segregation and slavery and take his spokesman Brian Robinson to the woodshed for a good flogging. When a local television station asked if the Governor planned to support the student’s efforts to hold their own integrated prom, Robinson replied that the Governor had nothing to say about the matter. Mr. Robinson then added fuel to the fire by attacking Better Georgia, a non-partisan activist group supporting the students. Robinson conveyed this pearl of wisdom in an email to the television station:
“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.”
Georgia has a centuries long, unfortunate history of obnoxious Caucasian Governors who supported slavery and segregation. Even after the passage of the Civil Rights Act Of 1964, Georgia remained resistant to change. The fact that in the year 2013 Governor Deal would be willing to continue this ugly tradition makes one wonder if he is a fit person to represent the great state of Georgia.
Happily, many of Georgia’s elected officials were willing to speak out on behalf of the students, who at great risk to their own safety, decided to put an end to Wilcox High School’s racist proms. State Representative Edward Lindsey, a Republican, the State House majority whip, Republican Representative Buzz Brockway, and State Senator Steve Henson, a Democrat and Senate minority leader, all took a stand and expressed their approval of the student’s efforts to end segregation in Georgia.
While we have come to expect some resistance to abandoning the hateful policies of the past, it is truly alarming that an institution of higher learning would support this sort of behavior. Wilcox County High School was desegregated more than 30 years ago, but the school administration managed to circumvent the spirit of the law by allowing white and African American students to hold privately financed proms.
Recently, the police refused to allow a bi-racial student to attend the 2013 white only prom. For any young person to be stopped by the police and prevented from attending a high school dance because of the color of their skin or the race of their parents is simply disgusting and completely unacceptable. The state of Georgia and the Governor owe an apology to the individual student and to all the students of Wilcox High.
At the present time, Wilcox High officials claim they are carefully examining the possibility of holding an integrated prom in 2014. This is simply not enough. The time has come for school officials to call for an immediate end to any and all segregated activities involving Wilcox students. Any educator who endorses segregation on any level is dishonoring their profession.
Some Americans may be tempted to call for the involvement of the Secretary of Education and US Department of Education in this matter, but as a supporter of States Rights, I believe it is incumbent on the 10,000,000 million citizens of Georgia to put an end to the vestiges of segregation in their states educational institutions.
Perhaps the final word on this troubling incident should go to the folks from Better Georgia, who implored Governor Deal to put aside his partisan politics and stand up for the civil rights of the children of Georgia:
“Gov. Deal has once again proven that he would rather call us names than do the right thing.
Better Georgia has called on ALL elected officials to support these students who are leaders in their community. We are calling on Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians and Independents.
This is not a partisan issue.”
This commentary is the sole opinion of Wolff Bachner and does not reflect the opinion or the policies of The Inquisitr or Inquisitr.com.