Some Hope

Ole Miss probably isn't the first place you think of when you hear the words "racial harmony." After all, it's in Mississippi, and the school's mascot is a delightful southern gentleman who looks a bit like Colonel Sanders, and which is named the Rebel. It's a celebration of white southern masculinity and all the racist garbage that notion entails. And yet, recently, the school's student student council voted to ban the chant "the South will rise again" from one of the school's fight songs, and when some in the student body refused to comply, the chancellor banned the band from playing the song, thus crimping the styles of young white supremacists on and off the campus

But here's the cool thing about this story. This past weekend, the Mississippi White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan showed up at the campus to protest what they called an attack on their "Christian, southern heritage and culture" and to prevent the student body president--who is black--from fulfilling his desire to "shape Ole Miss into yet another liberal sodomite college."

Now, you might figure that if the Klan is going to pull a supportive crowd anywhere, Mississippi might be a pretty good place to bet on. Not quite. From Deadspin:

The KKK's hour-long protest against tolerance and common sense lasted about 10 minutes before the hooded wonders were booed off Mississippi's campus.

As noted earlier, the Mississippi White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan were peeved that their state university has banned the song "From Dixie With Love" because they actually believe the South will somehow rise again. (Mississippi: 50th in education eight years running!) So ten dudes in hoods stood on the steps of Fulton Chapel before the LSU game on Saturday and shouted things like "white power"—only no one could hear them because they were outnumbered by 250 people booing and calling them idiots and cowards.
This is not to say that the feelings expressed by the Klan had no purchase on the Ole Miss campus--the fact that the chancellor felt the need to ban the playing of "From Dixie With Love" because students wouldn't stop the chanting is proof enough that there were some sympathetic ears for the Klan's position. But it is good that such open, obnoxious, toxic racism has become so socially poisonous that it can't even garner public support for the singing of a traditional fight song. It's a tiny step in the large scale of race relations, but it's still a step.

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