Those who deem the South a region worth defending should be outraged by the recent University of Mississippi nickname controversy. Once known as “The Rebels” -- a name derived from the men who fought for the Confederacy in the War Between the States -- the university has sacrificed its heritage on the altar of political correctness.
When the Federal Government integrated Black students into “Ole Miss” by force in the ‘60s, riots took place and more than 3,000 federal soldiers were required to quell the violence. This is quite a contrast to the timidity shown by virtually the entire current student body and alumni base as their beloved mascot was taken away from them.
Ole Miss was forced to abandon its nickname and heritage because Black recruits in football and basketball might be turned off by a school that celebrates a character --Colonel Reb -- steeped in Southern and Confederate lore:
As ESPN columnist Jim Caple relates,
The problem, of course, is that history is rather ugly. Visiting the Lyceum, the school's elegant, 155-year-old administration building, I could still see marks where bullets struck during the riot when James Meredith integrated the school 41 years ago. As former Missisisippi star running back Deuce McAllister says, "When you think of the University of Mississippi, the first thing you think of is the past."
And for a school trying to march into the future, Colonel Reb isn't exactly the image you want to project, especially when you're recruiting black students. "I had friends ask me, 'Why are you going there?'" said pre-med student Kevin Hall, who is African-American.
A lovable, mustached mascot is deemed offensive, yet the University of Mississippi apparently has no problem recruiting players of questionable legal standing, such as disgraced Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, a convicted felon.
So this is what has become of the Ole Miss alumni. The College Football Opiate is of such potency that they’re willing to part with a piece of Southern history just in case it might threaten the recruiting of Black athletes.
In Colonel Reb stead will be the Ole Miss Black Bear, which was voted most popular by the students in a campus-wide poll, just beating out Admiral Ackbar. For a state that contains, maybe, 75 bears, the Black Bear makes just about as much sense as a catfish-like character from Star Wars.
A long time ago, in what seems a galaxy far, far away, Ole Miss students found the machinations of the Federal Government and the coerced integration of their school at the point of the bayonet something worth fighting over. When Colonel Reb was retired, the Ole Miss student body and alumni surrendered quickly, lest they harm the team’s chances of defeating LSU and Auburn.
No story can better illustrate the current state of “The South.”
The late Sam Francis succinctly stated what was happening at Ole Miss and, in turn, the entire nation when he penned these words:
Implication One is that when you admit racial and cultural aliens into institutions created by and for people of a different race and culture, you're going to have problems.
The newcomers don't feel comfortable, as Mr. Cole did not, and if they gain power, which eventually they will, they will do all they can to abolish and eradicate those symbols that make them feel like the outsiders they are.
And Implication Two is that it's not just fairly trivial symbols like Col. Reb, the flags at the football game, the name of the team, and the songs the spectators can't sing.
It's everything -- everything whites (not just Southerners) ever created and built, from their form of government, to their religion, to their art and entertainment, to what they teach in universities.
The South is no country for Old White Men.
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In other news, as Ole Miss severs its roots to appease Blacks and White liberals, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the state are collapsing due to embarrassing graduation rates and lack of funds.
According to state Sen. David Jordan (D-Greenwood),
The 400,000 or 500,000 African-Americans in the Delta need a place to go to school where they can get black culture and feel comfortable. They have a right to a choice of having it in the Delta.
Senator Jordan understands the importance of memory and tradition. The Old Miss alumni apparently don’t.