Pittman letter

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 13, 2009

Letter to the editor

UM students do not condone prejudices, bigotry

Before you sit and watch the news and see what is and has been going on at Ole Miss with the banning of a short-lived tradition and the tension therein, I would like to say something for the student body: We do not condone or approve of racism, we do not condone or approve of prejudices, we are not fighting for the Old South to rise up.

There are many that say the tradition in question (The South Will Rise Again) reinforces the stigma of Mississippi to the rest of America; I cannot argue that it does not, after all, ignorance can be misleading.

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There are also those who say it is an offensive statement; I cannot argue that it is not, in fact, I can understand why it would be.

However, I will not argue this or that here, it is not my purpose. My purpose is to inform those outside the Ole Miss student body that we are doing our best to lead Mississippi in the right direction.

For most of us, losing this chant really is not the issue. I myself have even stopped participating in it. If it truly is offensive to a large proportion of people, I would like nothing better than to strike it from our repertoire.

The issue is that we are afraid of how far things will go. Today, the Chancellor instructed the Pride of the South to discontinue indefinitely the playing of From Dixie With Love, one of our most heralded traditions.

As students at a university that we love so much, we cannot bear to see Ole Miss stripped of the things that make it Ole Miss.  That is our fight, to uphold the real traditions that connect us with brothers and sisters of classes long commenced. We love our university, we love that it is gloriously set apart from the rest, and we would never wish to cause harm or allow harm to Ole Miss in any way.

So to the outside world, we may seem like intractable students at a once racially biased institution, but we want you, our fellow Mississippians, to know first that that is not it at all. We love and accept every race, religion, color, and creed, and as a unified whole we strive to illuminate through our lives the beauty of a beloved, hospitable, and enveloping Mississippi.

Tyler L. Pittman
University of Mississippi