Over the weekend, the Ole Miss campus was wracked with yet another display of racial insensitivity, this time in the form of the old Georgia state flag and a noose being draped upon the James Meredith statue. This has plunged the Ole Miss community into a scramble to defend itself from it's persisting image as a bastion of Old South racism.
Rushing headlong into that defense was former Rebel football standout Shay Hodge, who took to social media to mount an impressive, well-formulated rebuttal to those quick to denounce his university as socially backwards. The following statement was posted to Hodge's Facebook profile earlier this week, as reported by HottyToddy.com.
I have to speak on the Ole Miss incident. Yes, racism is still alive, but I believe in my heart it's at a minimum nowadays, because I never felt it while attending The University of Mississippi.
I really wish people would realize that there are two types of people in every race - there are the people who see no color, and there are the people who hate other races. There are and I mean great white people in this world and especially at Ole Miss and on the other spectrum there are great black people with good morals and etc. that see no color and treat everyone the same along with the evil ones that don't like white people or other races in general.
If it wasn't for a few good white people back in the day we would never have been able to accomplish some of the great things African Americans are accomplishing today.
The people who did the act, I'm almost certain, are young and dumb and wanted attention. They may not even be racist -- but just thought they would stir up something.
I just wish people would stop trying to put the University down. I hate that happened at my school. But I just wish people would kill that noise about Ole Miss being racist. We've come too far.
There are just as many racist African Americans as there are racist white Americans. Trust me, I hear enough of them talk on a daily basis.
I'm almost certain the people involved are not from Mississippi -- just like the person involved in the supposed ‘riot' that took place after Obama became president. That was blown out of proportion and was, if I remember correctly, just one kid from Georgia.
If you really think about it, the racism issue is often blown up here just because of the ‘history' of Ole Miss. I'm glad I don't see color, but you can't change everyone's views.
I love you Ole Miss, and this shall pass. We just have to keep pushing forward! Hotty Toddy!
The note about the kids possibly not even being racist is particularly interesting. In my personal experience, what racism I've heard espoused on the Ole Miss campus typically doesn't come from a legitimate hatred or contempt of other races. Instead, it usually seems to be a lame attempt at being funny or fitting into the macho, Old South characterization some of the student body (Greeks, in particular) attempt to portray.
That said, I hope the Ole Miss community does not blow this incident off as an insignificant outlier. There are still issues on our campus, and deserved or not, they will continue to be heavily scrutinized by the outside world because of a history that we ourselves created.