The Telegraph reports that, though the inauguration of an African-American president may represent a civil rights milestone for many Americans and observers abroad, some segregatory practices are alive and well in Montgomery County, Georgia:
Kera Nobles’ senior prom should have been a high point of her life, as she celebrated graduation from her home town’s school system after 13 years of education.
But instead it has left the normally bubbly 17-year-old smouldering with anger. For, following a local tradition that seems extraordinary in a country which has elected its first black president, there was not just one formal dance for the 54 classmates who graduated from Montgomery County High, but two.
On the first night, a prom was held for the school’s white students; the following night came the celebration for Miss Nobles and the school’s other blacks.
“I don’t like segregated proms, there’s no need for it,” she said, her eyes still burning with hurt. “We went to school together and we all graduated at the same time. I feel like I’ve been deprived of something that was important to me.”
One concern I have as a U.S. Southerner is that people outside this region, and particularly outside this country, might reasonably acquire the impression that such flagrant racism is universal in this part of the world. This simply isn’t true. At the very least, it is today nowhere near as true as it once might have been.
My observation has been that racism here is largely a generational phenomenon—the twenty- and thirty-somethings of today are far less likely to harbor prejudicial attitudes than their parents and grandparents. Of course, this is not to say that racism is absent among young people, particularly since they are their parents’ children. Those young people who attend or have attended rural schools with small or non-existent African-American populations are much more likely to grow into virulent racism than their urban peers. I have seen it happen, too often.
That’s one reason why segregation, while it may make some comfortable in their ivory towers, is a very bad idea—today, tomorrow, and forever.
Could this woman be Vladimir Putin’s mother? It turns out that surprisingly little is known about the childhood of the Russian president/prime minister/whatever he is this year.
From The Telegraph:
Vera Putina, 82, has claimed he is the child she gave away at the age of ten, giving an account of an unhappy childhood which is fiercely disputed by the Kremlin:
Vera Putina lives hand-to-mouth in rural Georgia but displays the famous hospitality of the people of the Caucuses. Draping a cloth over the table in her garden, she piles it with fruit, nuts and shot glasses of chacha – homemade vodka.
Her house sits on a dirt track in the village of Metekhi, about 12 miles from Gori which was occupied by Russian tanks this August during the conflict over the breakaway state of South Ossetia. A tiny woman, with gnarled worker’s hands, only Mrs Putina’s strong cheekbones and deep-set, piercing blue eyes are suggestive of who she claims she is.
“I used to be proud of having a son who became President of Russia. Since the war I am ashamed.”
Since Russian-born Mrs Putina saw Vladimir Putin on the television in 1999, she has been convinced he is her estranged son. Backed up by other residents in Metekhi, Mrs Putina claims he lived in the village between the ages of two-and-a-half and ten before being sent back to his grandparents in Ochyor, Russia.
Records in the archives of Metekhi’s closest town, Caspi, indicate that a Vladmir Putin was registered at Metekhi school, 1959-1960, stated nationality: Georgian.
Mrs Putina’s account is at odds with the Kremlin’s version of events and Dmitry Peskov, Mr Putin’s spokesman, yesterday dismissed the claims: “The story is not true. It does not correspond to reality at all.” . . .
. . . Mrs Putina states she is no longer willing to talk to journalists on the subject, but challenges Mr Putin to disprove her story. “I am ready to do a DNA test if he is.”