Jewish World Review May 12, 2003 / 10 Iyar, 5763

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Consumer Reports

Prom night -- all white



http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Put yourself in the shoes of a 17-year-old black student at Taylor County High School in Butler, Ga., about 150 miles south of Atlanta. For weeks you watch the news and see an integrated American military machine take apart Saddam Hussein's regime. You read on the BlackAmerica Web site that about 18 percent of U.S. casualties in Iraq were African-American. You see the country celebrating a great victory and waving the flags of patriotism.

Then you come to school and find out some students in your class are holding an all-white prom.

How would you react if you were that kid? You can't sue because the event is being held off-campus. It's a private party, and no person of color is welcome. Yet the party is being held under the banner of Taylor High's junior prom. Yes, there is an alternative prom where everyone is welcome, but still a number of your classmates do not want to celebrate with you.

The night the all-white prom happened, May 2, I sent a producer and camera crew to interview the all-white partygoers. Guess what? None of them would talk to us. Neither would the adults who chaperoned the event. But the students did express themselves in another way -- they made a wide variety of obscene gestures in front of the camera.

Now, this white prom nonsense is a small story on the landscape of America. But what is not a small story is the way the powers that be in Georgia reacted. The principal of Taylor High, Bonnie Branan, would not comment publicly. The superintendent of schools, Wayne Smith, told me the prom was legal and that's that. And the governor of Georgia, Sonny Perdue, sent his press secretary out to say he was "disappointed" in the event.

But Perdue would not answer questions or condemn the prom. His spokeswoman says he is too busy. In reality, he is hiding.

So if I'm a 17-year-old black student, I am getting the message. Nobody in power is on my side. Nobody is willing to state that a segregated school event in the year 2003 is unacceptable behavior. Nobody really cares.

Stunningly, some people criticized me for even talking about the story. The rationalizations came so fast I thought I was playing goalie for the Philadelphia Flyers. "Blacks have private events, too." "How dare you criticize the governor, he doesn't answer to you." "You are anti-South!"

The issue, of course, was never addressed. So here it is in black and white: Holding an event organized within a public school that excludes students on the basis of skin color, ethnicity, religion or any other defining characteristic is cruel, un-American, and should be condemned by all responsible public officials, including teachers and administrators. Got it?

Here's what I don't get. What is it about the UNITED States that folks don't understand? United means we are all in this together. The killers on 9-11 were after Americans of all colors. The soldiers who are defending us against those killers and their enablers are all colors. So why are we dancing around this prom issue?

Americans who love their country will speak out against injustice and cruelty to fellow citizens, especially children and teenagers. That 17-year-old black student at Taylor High has been taught a lesson that will stay with him the rest of his life. And that lesson is that skin color can disqualify you from attending a social event.

The night of that all-white prom was, indeed, a rainy night in Georgia.

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JWR contributor Bill O'Reilly is host of the Fox News show, "The O'Reilly Factor," and author of the new book, "The No-Spin Zone: Confrontations with the Powerful and Famous in America" Comments by clicking here.

Up


05/05/03: Let's misbehave
04/28/03: No pain, no gain?
04/21/03: We stand of guard for thee
04/14/03: The spoils of war
04/07/03: When the truth is a casualty
03/31/03: Yes, you're entitled to your uninformed opinion
03/24/03: That's the way it isn't, Walter
03/17/03: This loyal Catholic believes that, humanistically, the Pope is one of the many Saddam enablers
03/10/03: The new Nazis
03/03/03: Hey, it's personal
02/24/03: A peace of the action
02/18/03: Cash for what?
02/10/03: Runaway train
02/03/03: Dissenting dishonest dissent
01/27/03: The Clooney Factor
01/21/03: Poverty-inducing entertainment
01/13/03: To protect and serve
12/30/02: Global double Crossing
12/30/02: The villains of 2002
12/23/02: Finding offense where none is intended is a form of selfishness
12/16/02: The Houston lesson
12/09/02: Somewhere Santa is weeping
12/02/02: A taxing situation
11/26/02: Talk is expensive when it comes to Bill Moyers
11/18/02: Sanity has left the building
11/11/02: The right stuff
11/04/02: The Attorney General blues
10/28/02: This ain't no game
10/21/02: It's only rock and roll, but it's brutal
10/14/02: The root of all evil
10/07/02: When children murder
09/30/02: THE TRUTH BE TOLD
09/23/02: The death of outrage
09/17/02: Singing a different tune
09/09/02: Answering my critics about the Roush case
09/03/02: Let's misbehave
08/26/02: Money makes the world go 'round
08/19/02: Long live the King
08/12/02: A friendly reminder
08/05/02: Heaven only knows
07/29/02: Blood money
07/22/02: Suffer the children
07/15/02: Reaching critical mass
07/08/02: Believe it or not
07/01/02: Charity begins at home
06/24/02: Spinning a tale and the case for "Stupid White Men"
06/17/02: Blank those Europeans!
06/10/02: What does Bono want from us?
06/03/02: On fighting evil
05/28/02: A Tale of Two Churches
05/20/02: Crimes against humanity
05/13/02: Silence of the lambs
05/06/02: Hide the children
04/29/02: 'Paul, Paul, Paul!'
04/22/02: Barbarians in the Church
04/15/02: Pray for peace, polish the weapons
03/11/02: Do no harm? Time to spank "Dr. Phil"
03/04/02: Promoting the general welfare
02/25/02: Who's responsible?
02/19/02: Lay it on them
02/11/02: Buy dope, fund terror
02/04/02: Back room deals
01/28/02: From boom to bust
01/21/02: The Fairness Doctrine
01/14/02: Hey, Paula, take it to the bank and hush up
01/07/02: And justice for none
12/31/01: All that's left
12/24/01: Santa is appalled
12/17/01: Fight the power
12/10/01: The black challenge
12/03/01: How things have changed
11/26/01: Waiting in the Bushes
11/19/01: The sign of the Cross
11/09/01: Hollyweird strikes back
11/06/01: The fear factor
10/26/01: Show me the money
10/22/01: See no evil
10/15/01: Peace, but no quiet
10/08/01: The air war
10/01/01: I don't understand
09/24/01: We are all soldiers, and we have a job to do
09/14/01: Evil on display
09/11/01: Family matters!
09/04/01: End of summer blues
08/27/01: Summertime -- and the livin' ain't easy
08/20/01: The rap on rap
08/13/01: The truth hurts
08/06/01: Amnesty for illegals: Bush's political investment
07/30/01: The big picture on Condit-Levy
07/24/01: Silence of the Shams
07/16/01: Condit, Kennedy and cable news
07/09/01: Heather needs a childhood: The unnecessary loss of innocence
07/02/01: What would have happened if Steven Spielberg had recut "Schindler's List" for German audiences so they wouldn't be confronted with "emotional issues"?
06/25/01: Freak dancing
06/18/01: Work or die
06/11/01: Soundbite nation
06/04/01: Paying through the nose
05/29/01: Graduation Day 2001
05/21/01: Accepting the unacceptable
05/14/01: The Clinton legacy
05/07/01: Kerrey's ordeal
04/27/01: Is the party over?
04/20/01: Racism in public education
04/16/01: The fleecing of America
04/10/01: People who need perspective
04/03/01: Dubya's bottom line --- and ours
03/27/01: Don't tell, don't ask
03/20/01: Greenspan with envy
03/13/01: Clinton and Jackson
03/07/01: All that's left in America
02/27/01: The Letterman experience
02/20/01: Bread and circuses
02/06/01: How the Clintons do it
01/30/01: The Bush dilemma
01/24/01: I have been investigating Jackson's finances for the past two years
01/17/01: Sifting Ashcroft's record

© 2001 Creators Syndicate