Thanks to the Huffington Post, I found this video of last week’s so-called Klan rally at Ole Miss. Watch it. Watch it through to the end.
Ole Miss probably has the longest and most painful history of race issues of any university in our state. They’re the school known to the world for closing their doors to James Meredith. They had the Rebel flag as their school symbol and Colonel Reb as their mascot. They played Dixie at ballgames. In the spirit of racism not knowing it’s racist, for the most part they just didn’t see anything wrong with that until bit by bit, painful controversy by painful controversy, they were forced to confront their own image.
The main thing we can learn from this video is that Ole Miss really is a different place today. While it is disconcerting to think that such morons still exist as would put on dresses and masks and stand on the school steps for a racist cause, it’s so much more heartening to see that the students don’t feel connected to that cause at all. Neither do they feel threatened. Look in the crowd in the video, and you’ll see black students laughing. You’ll hear background conversations of students talking seriously about the issue that brought this on, the university’s decision to cut “From Dixie with Love” from its ballgame play list because people were shouting “The South shall rise again” when it was played.
Good news and bad news. People still say things like “The South shall rise again,” either because they don’t know any better, or they really feel that way. But when controversy erupts because of it, the students are coming down on the side of love and unity. Mississippi’s kids are better than the legacies they’ve inherited.