Friday, March 12, 2010

Discrimination due to a Religious belief continues to go in circles

The school board cancels the scheduled prom rather than allow same sex dates and cross dressing. The article provides the basic details of the dispute generated by school board regulations concerning a school sponsored prom dance. The two interesting factors are the school boards decision to cancel the dance and the public stated understanding as to why they took this action.

In the years following the Brown v. School Board Supreme Court decision, many school boards and communities would take this same attempt to be ‘non-discriminatory’ by canceling activities rather than change the segregated patterns. Entire school systems were closed rather than provide integrated education. Their thoughts were that if no program was provided for anyone how could they be accused of discriminating against one segment of the population. The prom dance was an issue even after integrated school were established. In many communities the school system no longer sponsored any dances. Taking the place of school proms, and any other dance activity, parents would hold ‘private’ parties. There would be a dance for white students and maybe a separate dance for black students. Economics was a major factors and frequently no ‘black prom’ dance was organized. The interesting response in many communities where two separate dances were held was that the ‘white prom’ was closed and restricted who could attend while the ‘black prom’ was open to all students. The ‘white prom’ fell to low attendance as the white student would explain that the ‘black prom’ was more fun. From a racial civil rights point the prom issue seems to have become a non-issue. It took years of community change but rarely is racial segregation expressed as an issue in school proms.

Here we see the same tactics used to battle a discrimination case: 1) an injured party brings court action to change a discriminatory practice and the official organization responds by canceling the activity, and 2) the private community responds by providing an alternative activity. The specific details will determine court decisions, but the pattern of this response is most interesting.

The highlight of this issue is the statement at the end of the article. “Southside Baptist Church Pastor Bobby Crenshaw said he's seen the South portrayed as "backwards" on Web sites discussing the issue, "but a lot more people here have biblically based values." “ Again religion is seen as the cause of conflict between segments of society rather than a force to bring society together. Why do such people not look inward and see that something must be wrong a religion that is the source of such conflict.

1 comment:

Caitlin said...

Really quickly I have to ask about that last sentence. ”Why do such people not look inward and see that something must be wrong a religion that is the source of such conflict.” Who are “such people”. It sounds like you are saying that anyone who reads the Bible has the opinions, which is flatly wrong. Ok, that being said, I think that the Brown v. Board of Education comparison is spot on. We are still struggling with race issues, but we are getting better in this country, as we are getting better with gender equality. By no means have we fixed it, and to be honest there are some days (please don’t hate me for saying this ladies) I want to throttle the feminists from 100 years ago or so because I really do not feel like going to school or work. But that is only some days, most days I cherish the freedom of the being able to make important decisions about my life. I think that people can draw on the Bible much the same way as people drew on the Bible about slavery. If you spin it the proper way, you can make the Bible say that either side is right. Personally, I do not believe that Christianity is a religion of hate. I don’t believe that any religion is one of hate. I believe that human nature is what sparks the hatred. Because honestly, how does black and white people mingling and dancing really hurt anyone? And how does two girls dancing hurt anyone? Ok, so it might offend someone. I love that. I was under the impression that high school is supposed to prepare you for college which is supposed to prepare you for the world. News flash, you are going to be offended. Its good for you, builds character. I will be interested to see how this one turns out. I would also like to know if McMillen contacted the ACLU or if her dad did or how they got together. I remember there being one instance when I was in high school of a boy being told he could not bring his boyfriend (from another school) to prom with him. But there were never charges pressed, he just said “ok” and went alone. When you have a country that is trying to desperately to accept everyone in theory, there are going to be people who wind up unhappy due to the fact that it is only in theory. I would love for anyone to be able to date anyone. I don’t know if I can quite say everyone should be able to date whatever because people and say dogs don’t exactly mix. But just like the race issue it is going to take a long time. Slavery was formally abolished over one hundred and forty years ago and we just now have elected a black president. It will take time, but there has to be people wiling to fight for their rights, as these girls are doing. I believe I can get off my soap box now. Sorry guys.