The average American wakes up every single day to a routine. Incessantly ignoring the blaring sound of the alarm, stretching to limber up before the walk to the bathroom, opening the blinds to see the sun or lack thereof.
Brushing your teeth to get rid of the stinky breath, washing your face to remove the eye boogers or excess drool and last, before getting dressed, as the water is dripping down your face, you look at the mirror and see yourself, for better or worse. It’s one of the only instances we get every single day to really look ourselves dead in the eye.
Yes, it’s mundane and monotonous, but it’s a part of the daily grind. That moment before we unleash ourselves to the world outside of our homes and our apartments. That moment when we can see ourselves for whom we truly are. And like most things in life, it gets old and it becomes more and more difficult to maintain that countenance and remember who that person is you’re staring at every single morning.
Each day that goes by, it becomes harder to be who you are with every new experience and every new encounter tugging at your sleeve. It becomes more difficult to remember the beginning of your life, when you couldn’t even pronounce and spell Mississippi or walk on your own two feet. Back then, we were blank and impressionable slates, waiting to be formed.
We grow up and we die, we live and we learn, we survive and we prosper; a cycle often obscured by failing to look in the mirror every single day. Before we know it, we’re old and grey and it’s too late to change the past.
The United States of America is 237 years old, which is relatively young in the grand scheme of civilizations in the world, but still old. This country trekked a winding path to get to the present. Our past, filled with oppression, bloodshed and tumult, has set us up for a future that hopefully bodes for positive ends.
A few days ago, I read a headline that said, “Seniors enjoy Ga. high school’s first integrated prom,” and truth be told, I genuinely assumed it was from The Onion. Sadly, I was wrong, and it was real.
For decades since the desegregation of schools across the country, Georgia’s Wilcox County High School persisted the old social norm of segregation even down to the cliché teenage rite of passage. The school system there did not sponsor a prom and thus, privately run, segregated proms were held in place of united proms.
Thanks to the efforts of group of students there, they held a successful, integrated prom despite opposition from some of the townspeople. Their principal, Chad Davis said that he would entertain the possibility of a prom friendly to blacks and whites in 2014.
So, let’s pause for a second, and look at ourselves dead in the eye as a nation. Barring the long lasting tension that led to this draught of diversity in Wilcox County Georgia, it seems that some of the students finally stopped waking up every morning to the same old routine. They said this is not the way it’s supposed to be. They decided to stand up for what is right. They believed there is no reason for this policy to continue.
Yes, I grew up in a slightly more progressive area roughly 25 minutes from here in which blacks and whites sharing the dance floor at the prom is an afterthought. But who are we as a nation, if last Saturday, April 27, a town in the United States of America held its first integrated prom? Why are we still holding on to segregation? How can we wake up every single day and say that our country is where it needs to be?
I don’t know about you, but I’m disgusted and I do not want to wake up tomorrow and look at a country whose founding principles continue to fall short. The sheer fact that the principal is contemplating and not immediately acting to implement a united prom is astoundingly problematic.
This country is still miles away from where it should be due to these imperfections that continue to tarnish its potential.
You might say, well this is just one town in Georgia, and it may very well be one town. But the first integrated prom in Wilcox County, Ga., is a part of our character, our state of being and our reflection in the mirror.
No longer can we wake up and accept our blemishes. No longer can we neglect to gaze into our hearts every morning. No longer can we give consent to ordinary.
Wake up, America. We’re not as good looking as we thought.