Thursday, January 29, 2009

Utah's Dixie State College Caves In To Anti-Confederate Bias And Political Correctness, Drops "Rebels" Nickname In Favor Of The "Red Storm"

Political correctness is no longer the exclusive province of the big schools. Its tentacles have now reached out to one of the smaller, more traditionally-oriented colleges in the United States. Dixie State College in St. George, Utah is the latest victim. On January 27th, 2009, the St. George Spectrum reports that after eight months without a nickname, Dixie State has now adopted the nickname "Red Storm". Also reported by the Salt Lake Tribune, the Deseret News, and KCSG St. George (with video).

The school formally announced its new nickname and mascot on Monday January 26th during a halftime spectacle of the men's basketball game against Notre Dame De Namur that included pyrotechnics, artificial fog and a mass T-shirt giveaway. In addition to the Red Storm moniker, the school's mascot is a black bull called Ragin' Red. This replaces the Rebels nickname and mascot, retired at the end of the 2007-08 school year.

The announcement was met with a mixture of applause and jeers from the crowd. Yet proponents chose to disregard the jeers. "We needed an identity and now we're the Red Storm," said Chad Frank, a defensive end of the football team. "Hopefully, we can take this and run with it. It's good to see this much support from Dixie State". Lindsey Chettinger, a guard on the women's basketball team, also supports the change. "It's original, so I think it's good we're not like everyone else", said Chettinger. And Dexter Irvin, DSC's director of athletics, gushed, "We feel this new mascot gives us opportunities for growth. It all came down to fitting the values of this community and trying to find something that projects well into the future. We felt this was a strong selection that everyone could support".

The nickname "Red Storm" prevailed over two other finalists, "Red Devils" and "Red Hawks". Some proposed "Red Bull" but this was discarded due to possible copyright issues with the energy drink company by the same name.

In November 2007, the Dixie State College Board of Trustees decided to drop the Rebels nickname and institute a search for a new nickname. But it wasn't until August 2008 that they decided to implement the decision. Prospective merger talks between Dixie and the University of Utah rekindled interest in the issue, because the University of Utah also made changing the mascot an ironclad condition to unify the two schools. Randy Dryer, the U.'s chief trustee, explained that the University of Utah was sensitive to its national reputation. "Here in Utah, we understand there is a difference between Utah's Dixie and the Dixie of the Old South," he said. "To the rest of the world, it means the Confederacy and slavery". But at the time, Dixie spokesman Steve Johnson denied the search for a new mascot identity had anything to do with a merger.

Nevertheless, the nickname selection process began in August 2008. It was originally expected to last until April 2009, but the decision was moved up for financial reasons. The original plan was for the three mascot finalists - in full regalia - to trot onto the court at halftime during the Feb. 20 men's basketball game against BYU-Hawaii, giving fans a visual element before voting on the finalists. From there the public was to vote for the winner, which would have been announced at the conclusion of the Great Race during "D" Week on April 3 at the Encampment Mall. But the school changed their mind and accelerated the process because they felt they lacked the economic justification to get two costumes that would end up being thrown away. Utah's public colleges face the possibility of serious budget cuts during the 2009 legislative session.

The seven-member committee (five voting, two non-voting) met on December 8th to decide among the three finalists. In the semifinal round of balloting, Red Devils received the most votes followed by Red Hawks and Red Storm. The exact tallies were not available, but Johnson said the top three voting totals were close to each other. The committee reconvened on December 11th and, after ruling out Red Devils because it would clash with the state's conservative image, decided on "Red Storm".

This nickname is shared by St. John's University in New York City. But the school's colors remain red, navy blue and white, and the school has entered a licensing agreement with Strategic Marketing Affiliates.

How did southwest Utah become known as "Utah's Dixie"? According to local legend, it had nothing to do with the Confederacy or slavery, but resulted from efforts by early Mormon pioneer settlers to grow cotton in the southern Utah region.

Analysis: Dixie State caved in to political correctness and anti-Confederate bias. Even though Dixie in Utah is not associated with the Confederacy, the school decided it was more important to meet national expectations rather than retain its local identity.

But these "national expectations" did not spring forth from the grass roots, but were imposed by the elite from the top down. When I was growing up during the '60s, the Confederacy was presented in school accurately, as a nation which rebelled against the United States, defeated, and then after a period of Reconstruction, reconciliated. Value judgments were minimized (and no, I didn't grow up in the South - I grew up in California).

Then in the '80s, things changed. All of a sudden, after 120 years, the Confederacy was re-invented by the elite and magically transformed into the "penultimate evil", no different than National Socialist Germany. The Confederate battle flag, long accepted as a legitimate symbol of heritage, was transformed into a standard of "hate". Confederate patriots like Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, once presented as honorable men who merely had a different vision of America, now suddenly became marketed as "traitors" and lumped in with scum like the Walker Bros. and Jonathan Pollard.

And who are the "elite" who did this? For the most part, they're the Red Diaper Doper Babies (like Ward Churchill) who were part of the SDS and the antiwar movement of the seventies, but after they got tired of scrounging and found they couldn't get real jobs, they became college professors and started preaching neo-Marxism. They started pumping people full of white guilt, tearing down and re-inventing our history. And successive generations of students have been infected with this anti-American rot.

You'll note that the UNLV Runnin' Rebels did NOT give up their nickname.

I hope Dixie State College is proud of themselves. I'm not. And I also wonder if the University of Utah will still be so enthused about this change when they come under pressure to drop the Utes nickname.


BenJoe said...

I went to Dixie starting in 1997. The idea of getting rid of the mascot was floating around then. A year later they dropped the gray from their school colors and went to Red White and Blue. So this has been coming for a long time. What has held it up is Alumni who have threatened to pull support if they lose the rebel. I sat in on a number of meetings where Alumni said if they pulled the Dixie Rebel Statue off of campus,the mascot, etc. they would pull their support. Many are still mad the Confederate Flag is no longer the school flag.

Either way it is crazy stuff, I am sad to see the rebel go, but in the end I guess I understand.I voted for Red Bull, that was President Huddleston's original idea.

Deseret Dawg said...

Thanks for your response. I just don't care for the motivation behind the decision; it caters to the biases and stereotypes of popular culture and shows disrespect for the cultural history of southwest Utah.

And what business has the University of Utah in twisting DSC's arm when their own nickname, the Utes, has also come under fire? Double standard, anyone?

BenJoe said...

In the end, I think you are absolutly right. They caved, it is too bad really. I loved being a Rebel.

Jon said...

A family who we've been friends with for years were visiting from Georgia, they happen to be African American. We took them to a DSC football game, and they were subjected to seeing a rebel mascot running around with a confederate flag on the field. Not only were they the only blacks in the stands, but they were subjected to that. They were so offended beyond belief, and I understand why they would be. DSC has been doing plays in "blackface" up until the 70's. I suppose your going to tell me that stopping that as well is caving in to political correctness? Put yourself in other people's shoes.

Anonymous said...

I am currently a student at DSC. I don't mind so much that they changed the name of the mascot etc. What frustrates me is that they pretended to make it a community decision and in the end shunned the voice of the students. In case you were wondering word on campus is that the Red Hawk won by a wide margin. Of the top 3 Red Storm was last.

The "Bullnado" as it is called on campus looks ridiculous. A bull named Ragin Red even though he is black doesn't make much sense either (he wears a red jersey but who gives a crap?).

As for Joe, I'm sorry that your friends were offended. The confederate flag didn't make a lot of sense to me either. It sounds like you weren't really thinking clearly when you invited them to a DSC game though. Did you not know that hey were called the Rebels?

Jon said...

Yes I did know that they were the rebels, however I was not expecting the confederate flag to be flown during the game. Personally I have no problem with the Rebels mascot, and if we returned to it I would be fine. However, the confederate flag represents a failed confederacy that supported slavery of African Americans. The south lost in the civil war. Why the heck would we still keep the Confederate flag? It simply represents a racist mindset. It's hard enough for African American students attending a school that is predominately white, but when we're flying the confederate flag around, we're just making them feel more ostracized.

Anonymous said...

I am an alumni of Valdosta State College, a small town in south Georgia. Unfortunately, VSC caved to the politically correct and changed the mascot from Rebels to Blazers in the 1980's. I am sorry that Dixie sold out as well. I hope Dixie alum do as I did and drop all support of the school. I will never again contribute to Valdosta State. I even sold my class ring for the scrap gold that it is. Fortunately, I am also an alumni of Univ of Georgia. I now only admit attending school at UGA. Deo Vindice.

Jordan Goodrich said...

Jon, the confederate flag does not represent failed confederacy and supported slavery.. It actually represents the confederate soldiers who went into battle over a war that was not primarily about slavery or race. 15% of the University of Mississippi is African American and polls that have been taken show 96 percent of the student body are not offended by their name being "Ole Miss" which was a nic name given to slave owners wives by slaves. If african americans at that university arent offended by that then african americans should not choose to be offended by a symbolic confederate tradition here, that 100% has nothing to do with the civil war or the south. Maybe your friends wouldnt have been offended if they knew the history behind everything a little better rather than what certain aspects of modern culture have tried to turn it in to.

Jamin said...

It is so sad to me that the "Civil War" is know being misconstrued into a war about slavery. If anyone bothered to look, you would notice that during the war there were states such as Delaware and Maryland, to to mention the District of Colombia, that still had slaves, bought fought and remained in the Union. You would also notice that if you view the census records before the war you can figure out that only 12% to 17% of Whites owned slaves, so why would 100% percent of the South go to war for something that only affected 17% percent at the most? Not to mention there were free "Men of Color" as they were called at the time who owned other Blacks and worked them in the fields just as there White counterparts. Oh, by the by, read the Declaration of Independence, in it the founding fathers list as one of their grievances the agitation of their slaves by the British and during the war the British would free any Black man who would fight for them against the Americans. Why, by "Civil War" standards, you could make an argument that the American revolution was really about slavery! Heaven help, the P.C. rhetoric of this country has rotted us from the inside out...