This isn’t just about racism, bigotry or history.
This is about controlling what you feel and believe, it is designed to strip any meaning anything holds for you and replace it with some generic, government approved belief.
I grew up 30 miles from the University I have loved all my life. I know that sounds silly but the University of Mississippi embodied everything I always wanted to be. The honor, loyalty, duty, civility and chivalry I saw taught there appealed to me. My grandfather one told me the greatest thing a young man can aspire to is to become an old gentleman.
Due to many factors (including my dad’s wise countenance that I might drink myself into a manual labor job if I went there), I never attended Ole Miss – I went to Mississippi State because they had the far superior engineering school.
My beloved University is going through an identity crisis. First the Confederate battle flag was banned, then the playing of “Dixie” by the band at halftime was banned – then, several years ago, the student body chose to oust our mascot, a stylized representation of a gentlemen from the Old South, and replace it with a black bear (supposedly a tie to William Faulkner’s writing about said animal). Now they want to do it again, changing this time to a shark (in homage to the “Landshark” defense of the football team).
What follows is a response to the article about the potential mascot change and what triggered me (if progressives can get triggered, so can I!).
>>>The bear and the shark have no traditional connections with the university or the region in which it sits…but now that some have decided that the mere presentation of a cotton stalk in a decorative arrangement is racist, I doubt that anything even resembling something with ties to the pre-Civil War south (Ole Miss was founded in 1848) would not be deemed racist. Hell, now even the Star Spangled Banner is supposed to be racist.
When Col. Rebel hits the field, the battle flag flies and the band plays Dixie, we aren’t celebrating slavery, we are celebrating the traditions of civility, chivalry and the positive things about the South and its universities…at least that’s what it means to me – and to the thousands of people who tailgate in the Grove before home games. To me, those things represent small rural towns, narrow tree-lined streets, Friday night football complete with high-school marching bands, a massive town square with a neatly manicured courthouse lawn, lifelong friends with bonds that will never be broken – and people who wave and say hello even if they don’t know you – they might even invite you to church and home-cooked lunch afterwards (usually fried chicken). It’s the smell of flowering dogwood and magnolia trees in the spring, the smell of burning leaves and firewood in the fall. It is where I met the love of my life and married her in a church in the middle of town. It is home to me.
This is what I grew up with and where my love for the South came from. I didn’t grow up with slavery, so that is not what I associate these things with. Even though I am aware of our history of slavery and racial discrimination, like the opponents of Colonel Rebel, I get to choose what those symbols mean to me. No matter what gets voted in, a bear, a shark or a barcode, Colonel Rebel will always represent the University in my heart and mind.
It represents family and the pride that you are known by who your grandparents and great-grandparents were/are. It means tight bonds of fellowship regardless of color or creed. Most people who have not grown up in the South or lived there for very long don’t get that – all they see are the sons and daughters of slave holders and rampant racism – something that has largely been stamped out. I’ll be there is less racism per capita in Oxford, Mississippi than there is in New York City.
I guess we could become the University of Mississippi Generics and have a bar code for our mascot and the flag – but I guess that is out because somehow both computers and the math they are based on are now considered sexist.<<<
Statuary and symbols mean different things to different people. How can individual freedom be preserved if society allows one minority segment, under the auspices of federal, state or local government, determine that meaning for all?
If this were only about statues, symbology or college mascots, this would be trivial drivel – but it isn’t. It is about certain groups desiring to restrict speech and ban any thought, feeling or belief that is not first approved by some arbitrary authority under the thrall of the group that shrieks the loudest.