Friday, August 15, 2014



Young Miss?

News reports now suggest that a small cadre of faculty members at the University of Mississippi want to ban the use of “Ole Miss” as the school’s nickname owing to its “racist” origins. Never mind that a survey conducted by the university itself found that a majority of respondents reported that “Ole Miss” was nothing more than convenient shorthand for “The University of Mississippi” (and it fits better on football helmets and baseball and basketball jerseys).

What is the origin of “Ole Miss”? Slaves coined it, in reference to the wife of the planter to whom they were bound. If the planter and his wife had a daughter, she was called the “young miss.” The term, hence, did originate in the slave culture of the cotton south, but its racist the connection is indirect insofar as it grew from the linguistic usages of the slaves themselves. (Truth in advertising: Until 2011, I was on the faculty at the University of Mississippi for 23 years; I am a Rebel as well as an Aggie.)

Slavery and “Ole Miss” are anachronisms, but history happened and cannot be expunged by linguistic revisionism, unless we are willing to establish an Orwellian Ministry of Truth that erases our collective memory. Ole Miss already has banned the Beauregard (“Rebel”) flag and “Colonel Reb” as its on-field mascot, substituting for them a black bear having no historical context other than a possibly apocryphal bear-shooting visit to the state by Teddy Roosevelt.

The University of Utah just reached an agreement with the “Utes” allowing the school to continue to use its nickname in return for a promise of college scholarships earmarked for members of that tribe of Native Americans. I suspect that a payoff in cash or in kind likewise is the underlying goal of individuals and groups opposed to “Ole Miss.”

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7 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is stupid. Calling a college Ole Miss isn't the same as calling a plantation owner's wife "Old Miss". Is anyone really confused by the differences between a slave holder's wife and a University???? Stupid!

Anonymous said...

The US ought to escape its identity-obsession with both the 18th and 19th centuries, and deal with the more pertinent 21st one before it goes any farther along the usual road of decline typical of "great powers"!

Anonymous said...

See the article of August 6th about racist British gardeners. When is a spade not a spade. PC runs amok again.

Bird of Paradise said...

Tell those whinning little nambdy pambdies to GET A LIFE

Anonymous said...

If there is any chance of offending someone on the left then offence will be found regardless of how stupid it is.

Stan B said...

The left has made a cottage industry out of taking offense, to the extent that "offense by proxy" has become rampant. That's where someone is offended on behalf of another ethnic or religious group, whether that group finds something offensive or not. "That member of the group is too ignorant to find it offensive, so I must be offended for them, the poor dears...."

A payoff, of course, would never enter any of these "offense industry scammers'" minds - they're all so noble and everything, right???

Anonymous said...

The payoff is to draw attention to themselves. See how concerned I am for others!