Gibson County High School senior Texanna Edwards was — like many of her classmates — looking forward to her prom last Saturday. But Edwards didn’t get to attend because of her attire — a knee-length red dress decorated with bright blue stripes and white stars inside the stripes. The school’s colors are red, white and blue, but the dress resembles the controversial Confederate battle flag.Pull quotes, in case you haven't already made up your own:
“We kept asking people walking inside — black and white — and everyone said they loved it. Two black women even went off on the principal. They were upset with the principal. No one was upset with me.”
“I didn’t talk with administration because we wore rebel flags all through my four years at Gibson County,” she said.
Edwards said, in a way, she wanted her dress to look like the Confederate flag because she lives in the SouthOkay, so first, that someone can go through four years of high school without knowing the distinction between the "Confederate flag" and the Confederate battle flag is bad enough; that she could do so while missing the distinction between "offensive behavior" and "behavior that might offend somebody in an informal poll taken at the door" is, well, to be expected in a society where the newspaper calls it the "controversial" Confederate battle flag. Second, maybe it's long past time to teach people the meaning of reverence. If you wanna honor Treason in Defense of Slavery, the U.S. of A., or your Italian heritage you do not do so by turning a flag into a handkerchief. It's not a goddam advertising logo. At least it shouldn't be. Teach the difference. Finally, I don't know where school administrators learn management, but everything I ever hear suggests "on the fly". Students don't have an absolute right of Free Speech--neither do the rest of us--but they ought to be given as much as is consistent with a functional education environment (or whatever it is we're substituting for that), and they deserve to have the difference explained. If Ms Edwards was told her dress would be unacceptable, the teacher/prom advisor who did so should have done so it writing, had her sign it, and sent a copy home. And if a Confederate flag getup is unacceptable at the prom, then it's unacceptable on everyday school attire as well. Can't we use some sense? If we can't teach her, in twelve years, about the Rich Man's War and the Poor Man's Fight, or about the institution of chattel slavery, the nearly-as-despicable century that followed, and the use of the battle flag as a rallying point for racism, can't somebody at least tell her Lyyynnnerd Skkkkyynned sucked? Couldn't they have just let her in, and made sure someone mentioned that diagonal stripes made her butt look even bigger?