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This is 2012, Right? Right?

This article made me reach for my calendar to make sure we really are living in 2012 and not 1962. The graduating class of 1973 from a Louisiana high school finally decided this year not to have two separate reunions for whites and blacks — but then decided to have a whites-only reception afterward anyway.

For nearly 40 years, graduates from the St. Martinville, La., Senior High School Class of 1973 have been holding racially segregated class reunions.

But this year, ABC affiliate KATC reports that the graduates decided to change that tradition, making the reunion a non-segregated affair.

However, a letter announcing the change included an after party for “white graduates only.” …

According to reports, a reception is going to be held at the school at the end of September, followed by the homecoming football game. The letter notes that “all graduates are welcome to attend” those events.

After the game, however, “white graduates only” have been invited to gather at a classmate’s home. Invitees are encouraged to bring a “food dish to share.”

Oh goody, a racism potluck.

Comments

  1. StevoR says

    Is this the year 2012?

    Well, I gather that it is but I do find it very hard to believe and even more so than usual at many times myself.

  2. StevoR says

    Reading this news being one of them.

    Ye-non-existent-gods! Well I guess that settles the whole no more racism now we have a black president claim eh?

  3. scrutationaryarchivist says

    This reminds me of the secret prom that excluded Constance McMillen and her girlfriend in 2010.

  4. raven says

    After the game, however, “white graduates only” have been invited to gather at a classmate’s home. Invitees are encouraged to bring a “food dish to share.”

    And remember. Clean sheets and hoods or else!!!

  5. eric says

    Who the heck goes to their 39th high school reunion anyway? What class even schedules such a thing? Isn’t it standard to plan these things for every 5 or 10 years?

    I could definitely see 40th. But 2012 – 1973 = 39.

    [Insert joke about LA high school class competency with math here…]

    ****

    To be cynical, I guess the right thing to do is to view ‘yes’ RSVPs to the after party like promise rings: it gives you an indication of who not to date.

  6. Larry says

    Fuck the south.

    That being said, I know one shouldn’t blame an entire region for the actions of a few but I didn’t want to miss anyone. For those good and decent people, please ignore this post. It wasn’t meant for you.

  7. says

    It’s stuff like this that really killed the naive optimism of my youth. Yeah, we’ve made general progress since those times, but it’s never as much as I thought, and the risk of sliding backwards always looks more and more credible.

  8. flex says

    So they were 18 in 1973. Old enough to have largely solidified their racism as part of their personal identity.

    To old to have seen Sesame Street (which began in 1969), or any other cultural medium which stresses multiculturalism without prejudice.

    They will be 58 years old next year, and will be around for at least another 30 years.

    It’s a shame that they have had separate reunions for so many years, but considering their age, it’s not all that surprising.

    The thing to remember is that this sort of prejudice is fading. Forty years ago it was accepted, today we see it as abhorrent. In a decade it will be an aberration, in fifty years it will be unknown.

    Not that I want to wait that long.

  9. says

    Now come on guys!
    Be understanding here. They’ve got to limit attendance. How many people do you think they can fit in a trailer, what with the mangy dogs and the beer cooler and all?

  10. cottonnero says

    It is 2012. But for them, it’s the thirty-ninth anniversary of 1973. I don’t think it’s terribly surprising to find a nostalgia for segregation among white fifty-seven-year-old Louisianans.

  11. eric says

    I don’t think it’s terribly surprising to find a nostalgia for segregation among white fifty-seven-year-old Louisianans.

    Yeah, it should be surprising. With 39 years of post-high-school, post-civil-rights era experience, they should know better.

    We would not accept such racism coming from a politician, and those will include a lot of white 50+ year-olds from southern states. Vitter is 51. Landrieu is 56. The LA representatives are aged 38, 41, 46, 54, 56, 61, and 65. Yet we would be absolutely appalled and find it unacceptable if any of them showed the racism shown here. Age wolud not be an excuse for the top four. So why should we accept age as an excuse here? Why should we not be equally appalled at these folks?

  12. d cwilson says

    This article made me reach for my calendar to make sure we really are living in 2012 and not 1962.

    Have you been to Louisiana? It is still 1962 there!

  13. erichoug says

    The more things Change…

    Just glad it isn’t my High School.

    Oh, and to all the typical south bashers: Yeah,Because the ONLY people in this country who are racist, ignorant, redneck assholes are people from the south.

  14. scrutationaryarchivist says

    And to those making fun of the southeastern United States, I remind you that other parts of the country had and still have their own problems with racism and anti-Semitism. Consider the sundown towns, which also appeared in the northern and western U.S. Or the treatment of Asian Americans in California through the first half of the 20th century. Or Darien, Connecticut, up to recent times. Or Lewiston, Maine, during the last decade.

    I say this as a New Englander. Don’t just blame the South.

  15. frog says

    What the hell sort of bubble are these freaks living in where they think publishing such blatant racism will go quietly unnoticed and uncensured?

    Oh, right, they don’t have the internet in 1973.

  16. Quodlibet says

    Well, at least they’re honest about the fact that they are racist; at the Republication Convention the racism was more subtle (though wholly evident).

    Despicable. And very sad.

  17. davem says

    made me reach for my calendar to make sure we really are living in 2012 and not 1962.

    Did you mean 1862, Ed?

    So why did noone object to each of the 39 previous segregated meetings? It may be 2012 now, but last year it was 2011, and not a peep from anyone then? Why does a separate meeting create outrage, when the main meetings didn’t?

  18. iknklast says

    My high school (in Oklahoma) had a white’s only reunion – because my town was built on white flight, and had a white’s only high school (still mostly is, I think). While I was in high school, they began busing in some kids to play football (black kids) but they certainly weren’t welcome, they were tormented, and I’m pretty sure they didn’t graduate with our class.

    I’m not sure I agree that dissing the south on this is branding an entire people for the actions of a few. I think in reality, it is the few that stand out against it. And even those of us who hated it that way in high school may have been too scared to say anything, because we were definitely a (very small) minority.

  19. leonardschneider says

    Wisdom from one of our robot pals:

    “You know what, South? Just secede again. Go ahead, we won’t stop you…”
    “Crow!”
    “Aw c’mon, Mike, they know we hate ‘em.”*

    MST3K

    *(See Larry @ #9 for half-assed, fully-accurate disclaimer.)

  20. kenbo says

    I graduated from high school in south Georgia in 1982…we had two proms, two homecomings, two graduating classes. We even had two homecoming queens and two of each senior “mosts”.

    I left Georgia in 1983 and haven’t lived in the south since.

    This article doesn’t surprise me in the least.

    Kenbo

  21. Onamission5 says

    It may be more public in the US south, but it’s not just the south. I grew up in a PNW sundown town and I live in the south now. Believe me, there’s plenty of people out west who still think it’s 1950, they just don’t say so out loud in unfavorable company. No region is immune– although some are more blatant than others– and it’s important to remember that.

  22. omcdurham says

    I grew up in a Detroit suburb from 1977 to 2007. Prior to that, I lived in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, my hometown. From 1968 to 1977, while living in Canada, the only times I ever saw black people were during family trips to Tiger games in Detroit. Culture shock for me.

    We moved to said Detroit suburb, where again, were not to many black people. My elementary and junior high experiences were limited to the one or two black kids whose dad was an automotive company bigshot. Also many Chaldeans and Jews.

    My dad took a job in Atlanta in 1981. In my two years there, I was amazed at the diversity of my high school: blacks, Asians, Native Americans, Eastern Europeans, Latinos, etc. This definitely aided my acceptance of others, for sure! We are all just people, for cryin’ out loud!

    1983: back to the Detroit suburb-still only 9 black students in a a 1500 student population by the time I graduated in 1985.

    I live in Durham, NC now, and the demographic breakdown of the city’s population is over 40% minority with a very progressive attitude. I love it here. I’m guessing I would not care much for Louisiana based on this blog post.

    Oh, by the way, anyone stereotyping the south as a hotbed of racism and stupid rednecks…there are pockets of that, but also in the north.

  23. Homo Straminus says

    So, isn’t the obvious response to host a contemporaneous “blacks and whites welcome” after-party? Should make it fairly straightforward to see who the hardcore racists are. Certainly makes it harder to justify going to the “whites only” one; “Hey, it’s the only after-party in town, so *shrug*” doesn’t work as a defense anymore.

    Not that I have much faith in local news reporting things that way. Prediction: interview some white folks who say they’re doing it just because it feels traditional, and some black folks who say they, personally, aren’t offended by it. There! Racism let off the hook!

  24. gregoryhilliard says

    Now, now, let’s let bygones be bygones. We should send a dessert as a peace offering. Anyone got that pie recipe from “The Help”?

  25. Midnight Rambler says

    For those complaining about the South getting unfair criticism for racism because “other places do it too” – you’re missing that in a lot of those other places, it’s a lot more about cultural differences and generalized xenophobia than actual racism. A lot of that applies equally to outsiders who are white. My high school in Massachusetts was mostly white, but those who were from the town who were black, Asian, and Indian were all fully within the group. One of my black classmates is now the mayor. OTOH, there was a group of students who were bussed in from Boston, who pretty much only interacted with each other, not with the black students from our town.

    WRT Lewiston, you had several thousand Somali refugees moving into a relatively small, insular town in Maine not long after arriving in the US. Lewiston is the second largest city in Maine and still has only 36,000 people. It’s hardly surprising that it was tricky to manage a huge change like that. Still, after some shit (including, yes, some outright racism), it’s been fairly good overall.

  26. navigator says

    “After the game, however, “white graduates only” have been invited to gather at a classmate’s home.” I hope, in my shifty liberal heart, that another alum will offer to host an alternative after party where everyone is welcome. *sigh* probably too much to hope…

  27. Christoph Burschka says

    “The graduating class of 1973 from a Louisiana high school…”

    Both of them?

    Yeah, but I guess only one of them is invited to the afterparty?

  28. matty1 says

    I live in upstate NY and meet racists on a regular basis.

    If I were you I’d stop going to those meetings

  29. says

    “If I were you I’d stop going to those meetings”

    Was that funny, like, snark? Or are you still pissed off for something that happened a while back?

    Racists are, unfortunately, ubiquitous, you don’t gotta belong to no club, nowhere, to run into ‘em.

  30. says

    With 39 years of post-high-school, post-civil-rights era experience, they should know better.

    The fact that they’re still going to high-school reunions 39 years after graduating, strongly implies that they haven’t done a lot of moving on in that time. I graduated from HS in 1978, and if my high school wanted to have a reunion, I’d have no idea who to contact to inquire about it, and none of them would have an address to contact me. Why? Because we’ve all moved on with our lives and have present-day social connections that matter more to us than our teenage friendships.

    As to the reflexive reactions to the reflexive South-bashing…quit whining! Yes, there’s racism everywhere — but it’s always been more blatant, more entrenched, and more deeply embedded in policy and social fabric in the South than in anywhere else in America. It was the Southern states that routinely threatened civil war whenever anyone mentioned abolishing slavery; it was the South that punished the Democratic Party for supporting civil rights; and it’s the Southern states that routinely send morons to Washington to reinforce all the stereotypes that Southerners keep crying about. If Southerners want us to stop stereotyping them, they should stop electing the likes of Jesse Helms, Rand Paul and George W. Bush.

  31. scrutationaryarchivist says

    Raging Bee:

    If Southerners want us to stop stereotyping them, they should stop electing the likes of Jesse Helms, Rand Paul and George W. Bush.

    A lot of them do vote against those creeps. But there aren’t enough such voters … yet.

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