Well, it's official. The politically correct, if not totally underhanded and corrupt, administration at Ole Miss has selected the black bear as the new Ole Miss mascot. That is all Ole Miss needed. One would think that Houston Nutt has already given the Rebel's rivals all the ammunition they need to write an entire joke book about the school.
But no, the University of Mississippi's administration thought that the surrounding schools needed a little extra material to work with, so they made the new mascot the black bear. Nice! The Ole Miss Black Bears. It has a nice ring to it, don't you think?
Yes, I know it is still the Ole Miss Rebels, but don't get too comfortable with the sound of that. It has been seven years since the inept administration banned Colonel Reb from the sidelines. In seven short years, Ole Miss went from Colonel Reb and Dixie, to no mascot, to a black bear to represent the school.
How long do you think that it will be before the name "Rebels" will be seen as offensive to some small fringe group? Or, for that matter, how long before the same group of politically correct hacks complain about the name "Ole Miss?" After all, both names have meanings derived from the Old South, from which the administration seems to want to distance the school.
Don't think this is possible? Think again! Who would have ever thought 15 years ago that Ole Miss would have banned the Rebel flag, the band playing Dixie, or the lovable Colonel Reb? Probably no one, but it has happened, and it happened in a fairly short period of time.
The next phase in the distancing of Ole Miss from anything connected to the Old South will be changing the name Rebels to, you guessed it, the Black Bears. After all, who could possibly be offended by a lovable black bear?
Of course there will be another big controversy. People will complain and be outraged. There will be debates and discussions concerning why the name "Rebels" is offensive and hurts recruiting. And after all the protests and objections, the administration will do as it pleases...the Ole Miss Black Bears it is!
The administration will sell it as a "step in the right direction," but it will not be long before it is seen as not quite enough. Next they will have to seriously think about the name "Ole Miss." There is more than one meaning connected to this name after all. Could the name Ole Miss be hurting recruiting?
Maybe that is why the Rebels, uh, the Bears, never seem to quite make it over the hump and compete with the big boys. Don't you think that the University of Mississippi is obviously a more dignified name for our school than Ole Miss? Hummmmm, maybe we should take a vote on that, and think about removing the name Ole Miss from the university.
Maybe you are thinking that this all sounds a little far-fetched and ridiculous. And you would be partially correct. It is ridiculous, but it is not unrealistic. Unchecked political correctness knows no boundaries, and that is exactly what is happening at Ole Miss.
The administration just banned the sale of anything with the image of Colonel Reb on it. Colonel Reb has not only been banned from the sidelines, but completely banned from the school. This is not the actions of people who simply want a bit of a change, but rather people with a radical agenda.
These people realize that they can't change everything all at once. No one would ever stand for that. They have to erase history and gradually groom the minds of the young students who don't really know anything about the school's traditions.
As David Hume stated, "It is seldom that liberty of any kind is lost all at once."
In the process, the administration has turned Ole Miss into a laughingstock. I know that this statement will offend many loyal Rebel fans, but it is true. ESPN commentators are already snickering about the choice for the new mascot, calling the Rebels "Teddy Bears." Yeah, that is just the image you want for your sports teams!
You can bet that Mississippi State and LSU fans are simply loving it! But hey, maybe this doesn't matter. After all, Rebel fans can still get all dressed up and party in the Grove. Who needs tradition, as long as you can afford Ralph Lauren and Crown Royal, right?
What Rebel fans need to realize is that they have the power to reverse this politically-correct garbage. If there is one thing that administrators understand, it is money and funding. Alumni and fans who are fed up with this political correctness run amuck, have a choice to make.
You can just simply ignore it, and act as if it doesn't bother you, or you can stand up and demand that this political correctness be stopped. Of course the administration doesn't care whether you like it or not; your opinion doesn't matter to them.
What does matter to the administration is your money. If you want the destruction of your traditions to stop, do not continue to donate to the university as long as this political correctness continues. Don't continue to buy tickets. When you receive the alumni donation cards, send them back with a letter of disdain in place of your check.
If you do go to the games, when the poor student who gets stuck wearing the black bear suit comes out, boo as if he was wearing an MSU jersey. Do not let your young kids take pictures with the new mascot. Refuse to purchase anything with the new mascot on it. In short, boycott the new mascot, and demand that the university respect the rich traditions of Ole Miss.
You may think that this is being extreme, or that you owe it to your school to support them no matter what. This is exactly what the administration wants you to think, and they are banking on you doing just that.
California University of Pennsylvania professor Roy Yarbrough, a consultant specializing in new school mascots and symbols, said Ole Miss could spend $100,000 or more for costumes, letterheads and marketing fees. He also said there's still a risk the bear will be rejected. As he said, "If no one accepts the new mascot, Colonel Reb could make a comeback."
They expect you to get angry, gripe, and then forget about it and continue to go about your business. They expect you to continue to buy those tickets because you are a loyal fan. But if you do this, then you are as much a part of the problem as the politically correct administration.
Let the administration pay for the costumes, letterheads, and marketing fees. Refuse to fund this idiocy! Reject their efforts to turn Ole Miss into the most politically correct school in the South.
Now is the time to either make a stand or to go with the flow. Voicing your disapproval without backing it up with action is almost as useless as saying nothing. What will you do, Rebel fans?
Bohdi Sanders ~ www.TheWisdomWarrior.com