Wednesday, April 01, 2009
Racism on the Dance Floor
I'd heard about segregated proms in the deep South. But I could have sworn that was yeaaars ago. But apparently I'm wrong. Last year, yes 2008, was the first year that Charleston High School, in Charleston, Mississippi dared to have their first integrated prom, and only then because the actor Morgan Freeman offered to foot the bill.
If that seems as unbelievable to you as it does to me, then you too should try to see the documentary film, Prom Night in Missippi, that tells the story behind the tuxedos and taffeta. The film screened at Sundance this year and has won a handful of awards. More importantly though, it has people talking about race and racism. Listen here for an interview with director Paul Saltzman.
Sometimes here at the Meltingpot, we start to believe that everyone is living mixie, blended, colorful lives. Look who lives in the White House, right? But then we are confronted with the truth. Do you think Charleston High School and the people of the town represent the majority of Americans in the South? Or are they the exception? And mind you, this wasn't only a case of Whites not wanting to be with Blacks. Bad feelings flowed both ways.
What do YOU do when you hear about towns like Charleston? Do you pledge to avoid the entire state of Mississippi for like another decade? Do you make jokes and thank God you live Up North? In another country? On Mars? Or do you do something else? I think Mr. Saltzman had the right idea in exposing the truth through film. Sometimes that's all we can do is tell the rest of the world what's happening and watch humanity change itself.
What do you think?