Masters in Justice: UT-Austin Grads Walk out of Commencement Over 'Anti-Black' School Song

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Graduation should be a time of celebration.

But in Texas, Saturday night was set for an uncomfortable scene.

As reported by The College Fix, a group of students planned to walk out of the commencement in protest.

The reason for their revolt: the school’s use of 1903-penned song “The Eyes of Texas.”

According to opponents of the tune, it’s downright racist.

More specifically, it’s anti-black.

The folks’ Facebook page laid it out:

After years of protesting the usage of “The Eyes of Texas” for its anti-Black racist history and months of concentrated efforts on the part of students and allied faculty to replace the school song, it has been confirmed that [the song], despite the racism it represents, will be played at graduation.

For curious readers, Lyrics.com lends some words:

The eyes of Texas are upon you
All the live long day
The eyes of Texas are upon you
You cannot get away

Do not think you can escape them
At night or early in the morn
The eyes of Texas are upon you
‘Til Gabriel blows his horn

The King didn’t mind ’em:

So how’s it racist?

KHOU reports:

[UT Professor Dr. Edmond Gordan] said “The Eyes of Texas” was originally a satirical song once performed at minstrel shows, which are comedic variety shows featuring white performers in blackface.

The Texas Cowboys school spirit association was a key social group on the UT campus for decades. In the past, Gordan said members would put on blackface and perform a sort of a minstrel show each year for their schoolmates.

Gordan said the “The Eyes of Texas” is a satirical rendition of Confederate commander Robert E. Lee’s saying “the eyes of the south are upon you,” which was made popular on the UT campus by former university president William Lambdin Prather.

Back to Facebook’s furious foes:

Rather than stay and be complicit in the continued anti-Blackness of UT’s administration, those of us who see through President Hartzell’s mission to “reclaim” a racist song will be walking out during commencement to protest the inclusion of “The Eyes of Texas” in graduation programming and school events. UT’s administration may be swayed by powerful donors who are committed to keeping white supremacy alive at UT, but we, as students and now alums, can express support for the Black students, alumni, and faculty who have been harmed by this song for over 100 years.

Per The College Fix, the school’s “wrestled” with the song ove the past year.

In March, a 59-page research report was published by a committee.

Its conclusion? They’ll keep using the song.

Through our conversations, it has become clear that without facts and clarity, there will still be potential for division. Even with this report, that divide may remain — but it will be framed by facts grounded in history, rather than assumptions and narratives without factual basis. Thus, the core of our findings in this charge focus on preserving the report, ensuring its access and protecting its place in our history so our current and future generations can have a place to learn, reflect and host challenging conversations about the past, and more important, the future.

From the Fix:

Detractors had claimed the song’s title was taken from a saying by Confederate Army Commander Robert E. Lee, but the UT-Austin report said the song has no connection to the Confederate general and former UT president.

Will the divide remain? That’s a big Texas Yes.

At least, it did on the 22nd.

Hence, the Austin American-Statesmen recalled Saturday night’s sock-it-to-’em show-out:

At the end of the ceremony, students from every section, including several doctoral and graduate students who were seated on the field, walked toward the exits to leave early when “The Eyes of Texas” started playing over the speakers.

Participant Victoria Garcia went to bat for justice:

“It was really offensive to a lot of my fellow peers, and I felt like I had an obligation to stand with them. I’m in social work, so people being discriminated against is something I’m always going to be fighting against.”

And biochemistry major Jonathan Pavia slammed slavery:

“Even if slavery is long gone, it’s still something that hits home for a lot of people. I think that giving UT the most inclusive and unifying name is what’s best. If it doesn’t affect you, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect other people.”

We are, at present, in the midst of a societal Master Cleanse.

Will America’s past survive?

It appears all things old have no place among a world of the new.

Perhaps they have some good points.

And some bad.

Nonetheless, “The Eyes of Texas” remains.

…And remains evil, it would seem, in the Eyes of Wokeness.

-ALEX

 

See more pieces from me:

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Texas Nears a Ban on Critical Race Theory

LA Mayor Champions ‘Racial Justice’ as the City Prepares to Give Every First-Grader Fifty Bucks

Find all my RedState work here.

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