Pummeling the Problematic: The Days of 'Racist' 'Ole Miss' May Be Numbered

At the outset of a new college football season, have you found yourself employing racist language?

I’m talking about terms such as “Ole Miss.”


The team faces off against Arizona Saturday, and if you’d like to woke up, maybe just cheer for/against the “University of Mississippi.”

As made clear in a recent op-ed for the school newspaper, U of M’s old and adored nickname is no longer alright.

Sophomore Hal Fox lays out his case:

The university’s recent efforts to recognize its racist past and remove its symbols are commendable, but this work must be continued.

Hal claims the words allude to a female slave master:

[E]ven the name “Ole Miss” has been highly discussed, as it is a term slaves would use for the wife of the plantation owner. … [O]le Miss must sever its ties with the racist ideas and sentiments of the past and embrace new ideals of diversity and equality.

Did an American ill bring the name about?

A bit of history can be found here and here,

HottyToddy reports a scholarly paper identified “Ole Miss” as a moniker for the lady of the house, more likely taken from the days of sharecropping instead of slavery.

Some say it was rather the name of a train from Memphis to New Orleans, which may have stopped in the Mississippi town of Oxford.

Either way, it’s now the nickname of a school.

As stated by The Oxford Eagle, “The university is respected, but Ole Miss is loved.”


Even so, Hal writes, “There is so much work to be done…”

And he’s right — if we’re to tear down everything old and create the world anew, that’s a lot of work.

It seems to me there are more important jobs on the docket, but I appear perennially out of step with shot-callers of the day.

And to be clear, the college controversy isn’t new.

As reported by The College Fix:

[Hal’s] argument is a callback to a campus debate from 2014, where discussion of dropping “Ole Miss” led to protest marches and calls for the resignation of Chancellor Dan Jones.

A previous statement by the school had questioned continued use of the beloved nickname, especially in an academic setting.

From the university’s statement at the time:

UM’s longstanding nickname is beloved by the vast majority of its students and alumni. But a few, especially some university faculty, are uncomfortable with it. Some don’t want it used at all and some simply don’t want it used within the academic context.

The above followed a probe of the phrase’s roots by UM’s Sensitivity and Respect Committee.

Per the report, “Some but not all who use the name are aware of its antebellum past (a name slaves would use for the woman married to the plantation owner).”


“Building a dialect version of ‘old’ into an institution that is built to prepare for the future,” the committee noted, “strikes them as inherently problematic.”


Both names will be used in appropriate contexts going forward, with particular emphasis going to ‘Ole Miss’ in athletics and as a representation of the university’s spirit.

So for now, it’s the same Ole same Ole.

But in the last year, Ole General Lee’s been given the hook. So has even Ole Abraham Lincoln.

And let’s not forget the sinister scourge of an Ole Rock:

As stated on the school’s website, the Sensitivity and Respect Committee aims to “serve as an immediate point of contact for any member of our University community who is subjected to actions or words that are in conflict with our EEO anti-discrimination policy.”

The Committee will be asked to receive and review any such complaints as well as consider proactive measures to encourage community harmony and emphasize the high value we place on respect for the dignity of individuals.


UM also has an equity-trumpeting Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, a Bias Education and Response Team, and a Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement.

Moreover, for a reminder of our cultural climate, see “Reporter: ‘Biological Males’ Is a ‘Serious Anti-Trans Slur.’

“Ole Miss,” your days may be numbered.



See more pieces from me:

Anti-AR-15 Massachusetts Fires on Smith & Wesson, so It Shoots for Tennessee

Injustice Gets Its Just Deserts: Teacher Training Allegedly Employs ‘Privilege Pie’ and ‘Pyramid of White Supremacy’

Booksellers Association Hosts Workshop to Fix Females’ ‘Internalized White Superiority’

Find all my RedState work here.

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