‘The South Will Rise Again’ Chant Won’t Rise Again

For those of you with no qualms about waving the stars and bars on your front porch or applying it to the bumper of your car, today is a sad day; the Ole Miss Rebels’ famous “From Dixie With Love” fight song has been banned after fans refused to disassociate it with the - ahem - controversial “The South Will Rise Again” chant.

The South Will Rise Again Flag With Bloody Soldier Skeleton
(You see, guys? This is an angry, bloody skeleton taking up your cause. Some people might balk at sentiments like these. We can’t help it.)

The final blow came after Mississippi chancellor Dan Jones asked fans not to chant it during the fight song; as noted above, that didn’t sit well with fans, whose inner persecution radars went berserk and told them to just chant louder. Moreover, as Jones notes, some outside fans still associate the chant with the worst elements of the South’s past - and want it to stay that way.

Here’s some of Jones’ statement, from the MEMPHIS COMMERCIAL APPEAL:

“Here at the University of Mississippi, there must be no doubt that this is a warm and welcoming place for all,” Jones wrote in a letter to the Ole Miss community. “We cannot even appear to support those outside our community who advocate a revival of segregation. We cannot fail to respond.”

Jones said he would consider lifting the ban “if the chant stops and our elected student leaders ask for the song to return.”

Jones said previously that, if the chant continued during last Saturday’s game against Northern Arizona, he would ask the band to discontinue the song.

“Yet some have chosen to continue the chant,” Jones wrote. “Sadly, we have also heard from a few outside our university who support the chant as an expression of values associated with a segregationist movement discredited so many years ago.”

Full text here (pops to .PDF in new window).

It’s a shame, but there you go. This is why we can’t have nice things, Ole Miss. Too many people who never learned to share and play nicely.

But the thing is, it’s a fine fight song, wonderfully emblematic of the pageantry of college football. In fact, f–k it: once more, for old times’ sakes.

Right there, loud and clear, accompanied by all the laughter and cheering that usually happens when people know they’re getting away with something that they shouldn’t.

The problem is that for all the legitimate undertones to the “The South will rise again” chant - that it’s about the rebuilding of cities and towns in the wake of the Civil War, for example - you can’t extricate it from its uglier heritage of slavery, segregation, and oppressive Jim Crow laws that dominated southern culture for centuries - and still permeate it, albeit to a much lesser degree, today. That bloody skeleton guy from that flag up above? We don’t see him rebuilding anything. Just sayin’.

It’s like booing. You can’t boo a coach without the kids hearing it. You can’t boo and say “but this isn’t about you!” And you can’t chant “The South will rise again” without it being heard by a whole lot of Southerners who’d be in a much worse place in society if that South came back. They’re called black people.