You’ve probably heard by now that the Itawamba County School Board in Fulton, Mississippi, decided to cancel the prom rather than allow an African American couple to attend. What’s that? There’s no way something like that could ever happen in this post-civil-rights day and age? Because this country treats people as equals and does not discriminate? Because we no longer condone Jim Crow laws and because an attempt at barring a black couple from the prom is a blatant act of bigotry and racism?
Oh. You’re probably right.
Well then, let’s replace “African American” with “lesbian.” That shouldn’t make any difference, right? Because we treat people as equals and don’t discriminate, right? Because barring a lesbian couple from the prom would be a blatant act of bigotry and homophobia, right? What’s that? This is different? And why is that again? Because African Americans can’t choose the color of their skin, whereas gay people choose their lifestyle? Ah yes. Well, how stupid of Constance McMillen to choose to be gay, to request to wear a tuxedo and bring her girlfriend to the prom, to challenge the school when they denied her request, and to incur the wrath of her fellow students, who blame her for ruining everything now that the school board has announced it will not be hosting the prom at all.
Pardon? Oh, the school board canceled the prom not because it was homophobic but “due to the distractions to the educational process caused by recent events”? Well, that was wise of them. We wouldn’t want to keep the students from learning by distracting them with something like equal rights. Well done, school board. Well done.
I know it’s old news by now, but this story is absolutely ridiculous. We look back at the civil rights movement and can’t believe that we as a country allowed such discrimination. It is shameful to think that racism was tolerated, and it is quite obvious now – as it should have been then – that the same rights should be granted to all people, regardless of race. Gay rights are no different, and years from now we will look back on the struggle for gay rights just as we do the civil rights movement today. It will be quite obvious years from now – as it should be today – that the same rights should be granted to all people, regardless of sexual orientation.
Constance McMillen gets mega props for standing up to the ignorant authorities at Itawamba Agricultural High and for bravely returning to school, where her misguided classmates are bullying and harassing her. Constance, you are awesome, and you’ve got a lot of support from a lot of people, and not just the Portland twenty-somethings.
Please email or call Itawamba Schools superintendent Teresa McNeece (email@example.com, phone 662-862-2159 ext. 14), and Itawamba Agricultural principal Trae Wiygul (firstname.lastname@example.org, 662-862-3104) to tell them that such a display of narrow-mindedness is unacceptable and disappointing. Ask them to publicly apologize to Constance, to admit that they were wrong, and to condemn discrimination.
Come on, twenty-somethings, you’re good at getting outraged. Go to.
Saddened that we’ve still got a long way to go,
Your Portland Twentysomething