After the tragic death of George Floyd, there was a brief period of nationwide unity condemning such an awful event. Instead of embracing this unity, radicals have instead sown even more division into our country by calling for the dismantling of police departments and even establishing a small secessionist movement in Seattle.
Now, the University of Texas football team and the student senate, especially, have embraced radicalism and are using this awful tragedy to push a cultural Marxist agenda.
On June 12, the UT football team released a statement that unless all their demands are met, they will no longer attend recruitment or donor-related events. While some demands are benign,—such as renaming a section of DKR after Julius Whittier, the first black UT football player, and establishing an outreach program to inner cities—their other demands are less so.
Some of the proposals unique to the statement released by UT football include a permanent “black athletes” section to the hall of fame and a required donation of 0.5 percent of all earnings to black activist political organizations and Black Lives Matter.
UT football has also joined the UT Senate in calls to have a required module for all incoming freshman about “the history of racism and oppression on UT”; renaming Robert Lee Moore Hall, Painter Hall, Littlefield Hall, and Hogg Auditorium; and replacing statues on campus with more “diverse” ones.
Perhaps their most egregious demand is the replacement of the UT school song, “The Eyes of Texas,” which has been the bedrock of UT and, arguably, Texan culture for over a century, with a new one that “must” include black composers and musicians from the Butler School of Music.
The UT Senate goes even further with their June 10 statement and petition, calling for the abolition of UTPD and forbidding APD from coming to off-campus student areas, making admissions “test-optional,” incorporating “land acknowledgments” for American Indians, introducing more indoctrination by flags over “systemic racism,” renaming the Belo Center for New Media and all buildings and statues named after George Littlefield, and adopting more “equitable and inclusionary” practices in hiring UT faculty while also giving more funding to ethnic studies.
The radicals also demand the university establish a “Campus Climate Survey on Forms of Oppression” on UT, despite the fact that the whole concept of UT’s “Campus Climate Response Team” is currently being challenged in the 5th Circuit.
The UT Senate’s demands were made with the cooperation of a biracial coalition of multiple black and American Indian student groups despite its claims of aiming to promote “diversity.”
What these more radical proposals show is, at best, their ignorant view of history, and at worst, an attempt at erasing UT’s cultural history.
With land acknowledgments, these radicals conveniently forget how every land has been conquered and led to displacement. Even the big bad of colonialism, Britain, had their native populations conquered and displaced by Romans, Anglo-Saxons, and finally, the Normans.
Their calls to remove all honorifics of individuals due to mistakes they made willfully ignores the fact that if we are not to honor any individuals with a checkered past, then even the MLK statue would need to be removed.
Their calls to remove “The Eyes of Texas” stem from the fact it was introduced in a minstrel show and performed in blackface; however, it is not a “minstrel song,” but is literally the exact same tune as “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad”—something our Aggie and Sooner friends have chided us over for years.
The words themselves are a reference to UT President Colonel Prather’s closing phrase, “The eyes of Texas are upon you,” symbolizing how Texas expects great things from graduates of one of her flagship universities and does not have any of the racial undertones that typically define a “minstrel song.”
In fact, the only reason the song was performed in blackface in the first place was that the event, while clearly reprehensible by today’s standards, was a fundraiser for the UT track team, and traditionally, donors are the first to hear new school songs.
UT Interim President Jay Hartzell and the Board of Regents must stand firm and not let a small minority of loud radicals erase our campus’ culture and history in favor of a new cultural Marxist regime. The eyes of Texas are upon them.
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