Southerners Being Anti-Southern?

olemissI don’t really have much to say about the recent decision at the University of Mississippi to ban the playing of “From Dixie With Love” during their football games.  What I do find curious is the SCV’s take on this.  Their blog coverage of this story includes the headline, “Anti-South Cultural Cleansing Continues at Ole Miss”.  Can someone explain to me how this is an example of anti-Southern sentiment given that the school is located in the heart of the “Old South”?  As far as I can tell this is about southerners making decisions about their own institution.  And exactly how is this a matter of “cultural cleansing” when the story indicates that the song has only been played for the past two decades?  Strange indeed.

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33 comments… add one

  • Marc Ferguson Nov 15, 2009

    Kevin – I'm surprised that you, being a Carpetbagger yourself, don't realize this is obviously the work of Scalawags.

    ;^)

  • jfe Nov 15, 2009

    The problem is that playing “From Dixie with Love” is a substitute for playing “Dixie”. So not playing the substitute is almost as bad as not playing the original.

  • margaretdblough Nov 15, 2009

    How much culture can be involved in the use of a song that is only twenty years old much less a chant of “the South will rise again.” after the song is played, which seems to be the major problem, not the song. Anyone who can claim that there is an innocuous meaning to that chant coming at the end of a song about Dixie is either being deliberately disingenuous, in total denial, or a fool. I feel strongly about this because I remember the desegregation of the University of Mississippi when a small band of U.S. marshals was all the protection that Meredith had against people who wanted him dead. If anyone thinks that is being overly dramatic, the desegregation of Old Miss occurred in 1962. The next year, Medgar Evers was murdered in the driveway of his home in Jackson, MS. Two years later, Goodman, Cheney, and Schwerner were murdered near Philadelphia, MS. In 1966, the Klan murdered NAACP official Vernon Dahmer as he came out to defend his home after it ws firebombed.

    I seriously question what “culture” the SCV is trying to protect. The article is interesting in that there doesn't seem to be much controversy about the decision among university officials, the student body, or even much of the alumni (I would question how much of a tie someone (the defender of the song in the article) can claim to Old Miss because she took some grad courses there about 30 years ag0.) It sounds like the university family is making an informed decision as to what culture it wants to honor, a culture that includes all of the people of Mississippi, not just the ones who would have been allowed to enroll before James Meredith was admitted.

  • Ken Noe Nov 15, 2009

    Ultimately, Ole Miss is an SEC school, and as we SEC folks know, sooner or later everything comes down to football. And for three decades, pretty much every new coach who came into Oxford has discovered that the school’s Confederate symbols get in the way of recruiting African-American players. That’s why new coach Houston Nutt just endorsed the chancellor’s decision, if he didn’t initiate it in the first place. Now a hard core will keep chanting “the South will rise again” just as they’ve kept waving their flags, but most Ole Miss folks will accept the decision if Coach Nutt gets a good enough recruiting class to finally win the SEC West.

    • Kevin Levin Nov 16, 2009

      Having lived in Alabama for two years I should have picked up on that one. No doubt they would sing “John Brown's Body” if it meant and SEC Championship.

      • Charles Nov 16, 2009

        Kevin, I lived in Alabama once also for a couple years back in 79-80. Never heard any body talk about Civil War or Confederate related issues. All I heard was ” Crimson Tide” “Bear” Bryant ” and Alabama Football. Seems like Civil War history was over shadowed by the major conflict of the Alabama Auburn game.

        • Kevin Levin Nov 16, 2009

          Yes, I have nothing but fond memories of sitting in a bar on Saturdays and eating endless quantities of free crawfish.

    • margaretdblough Nov 17, 2009

      I come from western Pennsylvania, another area known for its fanatical devotion to football and production of future NFL stars (Joe Namath, Jack Ham, etc.). I suspect that the point you make help a lot of southern whites reconcile themselves to integration of higher education just as military necessity led many Unionists who had initally opposed the Emancipation Proclamation to reconcile themselves to it.

  • msimons Nov 16, 2009

    Having known several dozen Ole Miss alum and having taken US and World History from 2 Proffs who were Ole Miss PHD grads I can tell you that older grads don't want any changes to the School. Since 1990 UM has bowed down to PC police and removed the Col. , the Flag and Dixie. Know they want to remove the song that replaced dixie just because some college kids want to hollar the South will Rise again. As far as I can tell some parts have and some are worse off they they were before the CW. The South needs to Rise up and improve Education, better jobs and better interstructure. I believe some at Ole Miss read too much into the words and I might read in too little. This is a no win fight for the Ole Miss Chancellor.

    • Kevin Levin Nov 16, 2009

      Should the decision to initially institute the song be understood as “PC” or is it just the changes that come after that we disagree with for whatever reason? In other words, is it possible to make a non-“PC” change?
      Please help me out as I grow weary of having to respond to the same tired references of “PC”?

      • Brooks D. Simpson Nov 16, 2009

        Heck, Kevin, get with the program.

        Old Miss should simply sing this song:

        O, I'm a good old Rebel,
        Now that's just what I am,
        For this “Fair Land of Freedom”
        I do not care at all;

        I'm glad I fit against it –
        I only wish we'd won,
        And I don't want no pardon
        For anything I done.

        I hates the Constitution,
        This Great Republic too,
        I hates the Freedman's Buro,
        In uniforms of blue;

        I hates the nasty eagle,
        With all his brags and fuss,
        The lyin', thievin' Yankees,
        I hates 'em wuss and wuss.

        I hates the Yankee nation
        And everything they do,
        I hates the Declaration
        Of Independence too;

        I hates the glorious Union –
        'Tis dripping with our blood –
        I hates their striped banner,
        I fit it all I could.

        I followed old mass' Robert
        For four year, near about,
        Got wounded in three places
        And starved at Pint Lookout;

        I cotch the rheumatism
        A campin' in the snow,
        But I killed a chance of Yankees,
        I'd like to kill some mo'.

        Three hundred thousand Yankees
        Is stiff in Southern dust;
        We got three hundred thousand
        Before they conquered us;

        They died of Southern fever
        And Southern steel and shot,
        I wish they was three million
        Instead of what we got.

        I can't take up my musket
        And fight 'em now no more,
        But I ain't going to love 'em,
        Now that is sarten sure;

        And I don't want no pardon
        For what I was and am,
        I won't be reconstructed
        And I don't care a damn.

        That gets to the heart of the matter.

      • msimons Nov 16, 2009

        Doing away with Dixie to please a minority was nothing more PC and the change being made now is also PC . Football players are going to go where they want to wither or not OM sings this song. If the player likes Coach Nutt and Ole Miss he go. If he doesn't than the chant The South will Rise again is just an easy excuse to use.

        • Kevin Levin Nov 16, 2009

          I'm not sure I understand what you are saying. You've just restated your position, but haven't given me any sense of what it means to say that the change reflects PC. Is it really just a matter of whether the decision pleases a minority?

          • msimons Nov 16, 2009

            In my book yes; any change brought about by Courts or the Civil powers that be that makes any single group happyjust because they can not force their changes or desires upon the Majority through a public vote is PC.
            Both decisions by Old Miss were motived to appease a certain group of people. You could also say it is a 1st amend issue since it gives us freedom of speech but not freedom from insult or offense.

            • Kevin Levin Nov 16, 2009

              So I guess you believe that the actions of the Supreme Court in desegregating schools should be understood as PC. Why must there always be a public vote? Institutions of various sorts routinely make decisions w/o public votes and for very good reasons.

            • Brooks D. Simpson Nov 16, 2009

              So … emancipation was “politically correct”? Lowering the voting age to 18 was “politically correct”? Having women vote (and they were a disfranchised majority) was “politically correct”? None of these were brought about through a public vote (the amendment process is something else). BTW, the University of Mississippi is not “the state” or a political entity, although it is a public institution that received federal assistance.

              I think you come rather close to saying that you call something PC because you don't like it. Isn't the University of Mississippi allowed to decide what the official school band plays? If not, who is? Why are you denying the university the right to govern what goes on at its institution?

              • Kevin Levin Nov 16, 2009

                I actually wouldn't mind the PC references as long as there was an actual explanation included. The problem is that the reference is usually thought of as a substitute for a thorough explanation. If you disagree with the decision at Univ. of Mississippi than say why. Convince me rather than wielding a vague reference that more often than not is meaningless.

    • margaretdblough Nov 16, 2009

      Has it occurred to you that the University has chosen not to retain those symbols that link it to an era where it took federal marshals and bloodshed for a single Black man to enroll as a student and that the South that these students want to rise again is one in which rigid racial segregation was the law and that people were murdered, including by men in law enforcement, for daring to take the 15th amendment to the United States Constitution seriously?

      You say in another post, “In my book yes; any change brought about by Courts or the Civil powers that be that makes any single group happyjust because they can not force their changes or desires upon the Majority through a public vote is PC. ” If that is true, then the Framers were PC, because the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are replete with protections for the rights of minorities (although in some sections of the South, particularly Mississippi, Blacks are, in fact, the majority).

      BTW, the First Amendment protects more than speech, it also protects the right of people ” to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” As was stated in Federalist # 51 (on the need for checks and balances in government): “The provision for defense must in this, as in all other cases, be made commensurate to the danger of attack. Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions. This policy of supplying, by opposite and rival interests, the defect of better motives, might be traced through the whole system of human affairs, private as well as public.”

  • msimons Nov 16, 2009

    I agree with what you have said Kevin. I have no issues with what the USSC did over that issue. My point is only about what is going on at Ole Miss. Freedom of speech must be defended even when we disagree with what is being said.

    • Kevin Levin Nov 16, 2009

      Now I am more confused. How is this a freedom of speech issue? The decision was made by the leadership of the institution. And how is this anti-Southern when I assume it's primarily southerners who made the decision in the first place?

  • msimons Nov 17, 2009

    Kevin I shall withdraw from this debate since I am unable to properly present my case in a manner that you can clearly understand. We are just going in Circles it seems with no progress.
    I will close with these few statements.
    1. It doesn't matter weither your born and raised in the South when you speak outt or seek to impose what I see as Anti Southern ideas, I am against it.
    2. I see it as a free speech because that is what the UM Leadership is doing. They said if the students don't stop singing The South shall rise again then they would ban the Song that replaced Dixie from being played at the games. When you try to stop Students from speaking or in this case singing what they want a College Football Game then your violating their right to Free speech and Expression.

    • Kevin Levin Nov 17, 2009

      You apparently do not understand the legal boundaries of First Amendment. The school is not violating anyone's right to freedom of speech. Legally speaking you are simply wrong.

      • msimons Nov 17, 2009

        In a purely legal sense I concur but not in the Spirit or what I believe to be the founding fathers intent.

        UM is guilty of coercion ; the school is treating them like their in 3rd grade “You stop that or I will take your toy away from you.”

        • Ken Noe Nov 17, 2009

          Mike, I don't want to pile on, but this isn't administration coercion. The student government passed the initial resolution, which then was endorsed by the alumni association, the faculty senate, the athletics office, boosters like the CEO of Netscape, a lot of individual students, and finally Ole Miss grad Shepard Smith of Fox News. And rather than being “PC police,” all a lot of them want is to go back to the real Ole Miss tradition of ending the song with “to hell with LSU.” And, as Smith maintained, help football recruiting.

        • margaretdblough Nov 18, 2009

          The University did not create an unlimited public forum. It controls what songs the band plays. I'm assuming that musical selections at a football game involve boosting team spirit and crowd enthusiasm for the team, not in allowing a small group of attendees to advance their political agenda. Furthermore, the elected student government also supports this as do prominent alumni. The First Amendment does not give people the right to create a situation in which a public institution is falsely made to appear to support a viewpoint that it does not support.

  • Leonard Lanier Nov 19, 2009

    This past August, UNC Press came out with a book that relates very closely to the matter at hand. Entitled, “The Price of Defiance: James Meredith and the Integration of Ole Miss,” the book focuses on the origins, key events, and aftermath of Meredith's admission to the university in 1962. Written by Charles W. Eagles, a professor of history at Ole Miss, the book discusses at length the origins of Ole Miss's symbols. Just a few pertinent examples:

    1) Ole Miss originally called their football team “the Mississippi Flood,” a not-so-subtle reference to the Great Mississippi River Flood of 1927.

    2) The student body did not change the nickname until 1936, right at the beginning of the Lost Cause resurgence that followed the publication of “Gone With the Wind.” The students choose “Rebels” over “Confederates” and “Stonewalls.” They also adopted “Col. Reb” as a mascot at the same time.

    3) Use of the Confederate Battleflag and “Dixie” did not begin until 1948, the year of the Dixiecrat Revolt.

    So, instead of being traditions that date back to the origins of the university, or the Civil War, Ole Miss's symbols came about relatively recently. Eagles's discussion of the school's culture, and the events surrounding Meredith's admission, make for good reading. Highly recommend.

  • Ken Noe Nov 21, 2009

    A dozen Klansmen gathered at Ole Miss today to support “From Dixie With Love.” Standing against PC, I guess. To the school's credit, they were greatly outnumbered by peaceful student protesters. Story and photos: http://tinyurl.com/y8t6f7a

  • Ken Noe Nov 21, 2009

    A dozen Klansmen gathered at Ole Miss today to support “From Dixie With Love.” Standing against PC, I guess. To the school's credit, they were greatly outnumbered by peaceful student protesters. Story and photos: http://tinyurl.com/y8t6f7a

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