Plantation Owner Mascot? Not the greatest of ideas.
OXFORD, Miss. — When Levi West walks across campus on game day, admirers sprint to take his photograph. Women coo. Men slap him high-fives. The jovial, 25-year-old senior at the University of Mississippi is not a celebrity in his own right, though.
He owes his star power to his get-up — a knockoff of the university’s longtime mascot, a caricature of an antebellum Southern plantation owner.
“There’s no more of a noble cause than continuing the tradition of Colonel Reb,” said Mr. West, standing in the baking Mississippi heat in a giant stuffed mask and foam shoes. “Everyone loves the guy.”
Well, not quite everyone. After many years of complaints about the racial insensitivity of having a man dressed as a Confederate soldier as the symbol of a university where 14 percent of students are black, Ole Miss is pulling the plug on Colonel Reb this football season.
It seems that there’s a petition that has over 2000 signatures begging for the the Plantation Owner dude to continue to be the mascot. Why wouldn’t they want to alienate most of the black population– I mean, lose all that team spirit.
Note: I’m fully aware that 95 percent of the people who are pro-plantation dude mascot aren’t racist/bigoted. The issue is again, perspective. Some of the merchandise has this image emblazoned on confederate flags. This isn’t always the most joyous symbols for some of us. Either a lack of understanding of the interaction with this imagery and Negroes or simply a lack giving a rats ass seems to be the issue. The school has already said they are NOT going back the old mascot but thats pissing off a lot of folks. Always nice when the masses say “Eff all that historical context nonsense.”
Elon James White
Managing Director at This Week in Blackness
Elon James White is a writer, humorist, founder and current Managing Director of This Week in Blackness, White is a contributing editor at The Root and his work has been featured on MSNBC, Colorlines, Newsone, VH1 and more.