ON Kilter: When a sculptor shapes public perception, who speaks for whom?

Confederate statute removed from Dixie State College of Utah
Confederate soldier statute removed from Dixie State College of Utah, St. George, Utah, Nov. 6, 2012 | Photo by Chris Caldwell, St. George News

OPINION – Jerry Anderson, the sculptor of the now infamous Confederate statue removed from Dixie State College last week, in an interview with The Spectrum Daily News, said “They should have kept it up.”

“Let the black people, or whoever is fighting against it, try to disfigure it in some way, and put them in jail where they belong,” Anderson said.  They don’t stand up for what we, in St. George, believe in.”

Mind if I ask what that is exactly? What do we in St. George believe in?

If there were any question as to the racist bias of that statue in its creation, the originator sealed in the truth of it with his own words.

When our community holds fast to every last shred of its traditions, it loses credibility with people who have come here from all over the country – and the world for that matter. What is most puzzling is some of us simply cannot see ourselves.


My personal experience on an individual basis with people here reveals nothing less than a gracious, accommodating, and well-meaning people who seem to fall apart in group think.

So, which one is the front? Is it good well-intentioned people being misunderstood? Or is it narrow-minded people disguising themselves as tolerant until push comes to shove?

Truth is, it’s both.

I think the statement by Anderson paints the people of this town and the college we house within it in an inaccurate and dark way. It was simply inexcusable. Certainly there are many if not more than many who would not share Anderson’s viewpoint. Why don’t they cry out in protest that he does not represent them?

The absence of an outcry, from some in the community who seek to maintain traditions in the face of hard questions that may call their intentions into question, deserves rethinking. This community is not edified by allowing the likes of an Anderson’s ignorance to be representative of the community as a whole.

Listen folks, the perception may well be that this town is being changed and the line keeps getting moved. It may even be true. But, as a caller on the radio stated last week, that’s called progress.

Progress towards what?

Justice and equality perhaps.

Again I encourage healthy and rigorous dialogue to take place. Thursday night, there will be a peaceful demonstration by the Washington County Minority Coalition held across the street from where the statue once stood. Attend, listen, dialogue with others. And if the Dixie State College Campus Police tries to shut it down violating not only the demonstrators’ civil rights but yours also, take note. Heck, take photos.

What we as a community need to come to grips with is that we have have a rising opportunity to relate to and be relevant to concerns that are common to all on a national level. In other words, we’re not an island, St. George, let’s not act like we are.

For most of its short 150 years, St. George has been autonomous unto itself receiving little national attention. But the coming of an established higher learning institution and a water pipeline supporting growth numbers upwards of a half million people, these are not locally indigenous things. They have far-reaching impacts, hence will incur input equally from far-reaching sources .

In other words, if we desire to grow in one way, then we need to surrender to some extent the “like it or leave it” attitude.

Like it or not, what happens here now is, more than ever in our town’s history, thrust upon the national stage.

Rise to it. Please.

For a people who proudly lay claim to having established themselves here in the face of harsh persecution, there is an alarming insensitivity to others: People have moved here, in a sense at the town’s invitation to growth, and then feel persecuted for their differences. Like it or not, we are, after all, yet under the banner of the American Constitution not the banner of the founding pioneer settlers.

I know, I know … if I don’t like it I can leave right?

See you out there.

Dallas Hyland is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Related posts

Dixie State College launches name change survey, seeks public input

Name change forum, Dixie State College encourages public input on university transition

Dixie State students convene over school name change

Letter to the Editor: Minority Coalition stance on college name change

ON Kilter: Dixie State; there’s more at stake than a name

Perspectives: Dixie State College, resisting the tyranny of the minority

Confederate soldiers come tumbling down; Dixie State College feeling the heat?

Letter to the Editor: Restore Dixie; bring back the Rebel and the Confederate statue

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @dallashyland

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2012, all rights reserved.

Confederate statute removed from Dixie State College of Utah
Confederate soldier statute removed from Dixie State College of Utah, St. George, Utah, Nov. 6, 2012 | Photo by Chris Caldwell, St. George News


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  • Damie December 12, 2012 at 11:54 am

    A whole lot of Southern Utah’s expensive public art is by Jerry Anderson including SUU’s bronzes, he should try harder not to run off at the mouth and at least attempt to avoid making himself look like such a petulant boor.

  • Mike Rough December 12, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Art is art. The fact that people attribute a negative correlation to it is their own problem… The fact is that the Civil War was not about slavery but about unfair tariffs being levied against the southern states by the northern states who were importing goods that competed with the southern states’ production from Europe. Unfortunately people do not know their own history. Lincoln did not set out to free the slaves with the Civil War as it has been sensationalized inaccurately in countless books and movies. The Emancipation Proclamation was issued after the war had started in an effort to give a cause that would rally the populace of the northern states to join the fight against the south. To sum up… The Rebel flag does not signify pro slavery but independence from Federal tyranny levied against states rights. Unfortunately the confederate flag has been ignorantly tied to an action that happened after the initial cause and creation of the emblem.

    All this being said, I believe the rights of all men to be free was a beneficial byproduct of the war and feel that people have the right to “believe” what they will no matter how misinformed it may be.

    The piece of art in question is a beautiful rendering of Esprit De Corp on the battlefield. Would we have had the same issue with it if it had been a US flag?

    • Karen December 12, 2012 at 1:46 pm

      The statue with a US flag would have been the correct interpretation of the poem that inspired it since it was written about Union soldiers, not Confederates. Mr. Anderson changed the idea. I was deeply saddened to read his remarks and hope he regrets his hasty and prejudicial comments.

      • Mike H December 14, 2012 at 9:08 am

        “By the way, the poem “Two Little Boys” is NOT a period piece. It was popularized by Australian entertainer Rolf Harris, who first heard it from Canberra native Ted Egan in the late 1960s. According to The Rolf Harris Pages at http://www.rich.durge.org/rolf/, “In 1969, during a tour of Arnhem Land with his wife and daughter, Rolf briefly stayed with a man called Ted Egan. Ted sung him this song, which Rolf recorded on tape. When he got back to England and talked his television producer into using the song, Rolf discovered he had lost the tape! Rolf rang Ted, twelve thousand miles away in Canberra, and got him to sing the song over the phone. Alan Braden arranged the song for the TV show, and the audience reaction was so marvellous that Rolf decided to record it. This song was top of the hit parade for seven weeks over Christmas 1969.”

        Although The Rolf Harris Pages thus assume that Egan was the author of the song and that it was Australian in origin, Philp Baldwin of Somerset, U.K., writes that he owns original sheet music of “Two Little Boys” with a copyright date of 1903 by Howley, Havilland and Dresser (New York). This same piece of sheet music attributes the lyrics to Edward Madden and the melody to Theodore F. Morse. Another writer indicates that the song was recorded in 1903 by Billy Murray.

        This information casts doubt on another popular assumption about the song — that it might have been written to honor the memory of a pair of Australian brothers who fought in the Great War [1914-1918].

        Whatever else can or can’t be said about the song, it’s fairly safe to assume that it did not originate during and was not written about the War Between the States.” – civilwarpoetry.org

        tl;dr- the poem is actually a song that was not written about or during the American Civil War.

        • Karen December 14, 2012 at 10:44 am

          I’m not sure how you ascertained that the poem was not written about the Civil War. The poem, “Two Little Boys” by Edward Madden tells the story of two former playmates. Though not written during the Civil War (written in 1902) it appears in lists of poetry and songs about the Civil War.

          In the poem, one soldier sees his childhood friend laying wounded on the battlefield and heads “Out from the ranks so blue” to rescue him. At the end, he tells his friend, “Climb up here, Joe, we’ll soon be flying Back to the ranks so blue.”

    • Rebel Without A Cause December 12, 2012 at 2:14 pm

      Amen Mike! If people would educate themselves a little bit more, they might just understand what the name Dixie means to this area! Take your blinders off people, not everything is black and white!

    • Ron December 12, 2012 at 4:16 pm

      The Civil War was about slavery, pure and simple. All the blather about states’ rights and unfair tariffs is just an effort to hide the truth. I spent most of my life in the South. I’ve seen firsthand how racism is embedded in the culture and how Southerners try to cover it up and deny it. I’m seeing the same thing right here in St. George much to my surprise..

    • Biff December 12, 2012 at 4:20 pm

      The Holocaust Revisionists called Mike; you are apparently infringing on their copyrights. The primary and proximate cause of the civil war was slavery. End of story.

  • william December 12, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    There was once a City by the Sea and the city was full of CityFolk who said “Oh we hate it here. It is not at all like the great City by the Desert, where the people are so friendly and warm and so pleasant to be around”

    So the CityFolk move from the City by the Sea to the City by the Desert. But then the CityFolk started noticing that things were not to their liking. And cries of “It being run by the Good Old Boys, and these hicks are too backward and racist in their thinking to be in power”

    So the CityFolk whine, and cried, and wrote about how things should be in the newspaper and campaigned to bring enlightenment to the City by the Desert. They got together and make up the Washington County Coalition. They scoff that those who said “It you don’t like it leave”

    After a time the CityFolk with help of others of their kind, got their way and made the changes, that brought the enlightenment to the City by the Dessert.

    Then CityFolk put a For Sale sign in front of their house. When ask why they were leaving after getting all that they wanted. They cried “Oh we hate it here. It not like at all like the great City by the Forest where people are so friendly and warm and so pleasant to be with”

  • Rachel December 12, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    The main issue I’m having with those that wish to change the name from “Dixie” is that they seem to have no issue with the mascots of Ol’ Miss or UNLV, both of which are Confederate Soldiers; UNLV’s mascot’s the Running Rebels whereas Ol’ Miss’ school song is “Dixieland”. While it is unfortunate that the term “Dixie” has become synonymous with negative connotations of slavery in some parts of the country, here, in the West, it has positive connotations of industry, harvest, and plenty. Instead of railing about how terrible the “definition” of Dixie is, why don’t we come together to change its meaning? Instead of it being some sort of dark mark on our society, why not redefine the term “Dixie” to fit Southern Utah and reshape society’s perception of the word?

  • Curtis December 12, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    While the south had other grievances with the north the main reason behind secession was slavery. When Mississippi, Georgia, Texas and South Carolina seceded they issued Declarations of Secession explaining why they were seceding. The primary reason was slavery. The declarations are available on the Internet. Also find what is called the Cornerstone Speech given in March 1861 by Alexander Stephens, the VP of the CSA. He believed the north’s hostility towards slavery was a primary reason for secession and the need for a new nation and government

  • Confederate Mike December 13, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    Please understand that I would never condone slavery and quite frankly have always stood for equal rights concerning all of us living creatures of this world. Everyone should have access to the same conditions and opportunities this world has to offer.

    I do however wish to state the fact that the Confederate Soldier, who’s Battle Flag this truly is, fought in terrible battle conditions for his home, family and independence against Lincoln’s invaders and not for the institution of slavery as only 10% or so of Southerners owned slaves. Granted, a very small portion whom had stakes in that institution have…

    As well, it may not be an excuse or completely valid justification, but The American government was the one whom started slavery by raising and breeding their own people(White Americans) into this type of economy after centuries of conditioning their citizens into what was to them a regular way of life. It was an institution protected by the American Constitution until several months after the war. As well, folks back then simply had a different view and very different mentality towards other races. One cannot compare a man’s ideology of centuries ago to a man’s thinking today.

    I do understand that for some today and in the recent past may be offended by the most beautiful Battle Flag ever conceived, although it would be nice if they could as well at least try to comprehend the other side of the story. As it is imperative to uphold a great deal of respect and honor towards the Confederate Soldier. This having been said, The Old Glory Flag which represents the American Nation is also tainted with unpleasant truths and quite a few of them to add. For example, The Native American Indian Genocide, where millions of lives have been lost by the Yankee hand. Although for some reason, to today’s people The Confederates seem to be the nasty and evil ones while other “Northern” truths are being completely ignored, forgotten or simply buried under the rug. I never understood how one can embrace one flag and be completely repulsed and offended by another…

    As I’m certain that you’re already aware Sir that not all folks whom fly The Confederate Battle flag have even an ounce of evil within their hearts and simply wish to honor and pay tribute to the brave souls whom have fought for their Southern land to the very bitter end. Along with being proud of standing up to a superior power which behaved as the aggressor.

    As well, we all know that the common man always fights the businessman’s and politician’s battles.

    Wishing you Sir and everyone a Wonderful Dixie Day.

    Deo Vindice, Confederate Mike.

  • Confederate Mike December 13, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    By the way I am a Confederate re-enactor, 10th Louisiana, Co. C, Infantry Regiment.
    Please remember that slavery was always protected by the American Constitution until after 1865. Both the South AND The North profited from this peculiar institution. Lincoln was certainly not a freedom fighter either. He knew that he couldn’t touch slavery and quite frankly, had no issues with it. Hence why he focused in particular on keeping the Union intact. His Emancipation of slaves was only aimed at The Southern States and affected no Northern slave holding States. Simple reason, it wasn’t a moral cause, it was a military strategy in order to hit The Confederacy with a major blow to their infrastructure which was indeed based on African labor, but guess what ? African labor was heavily used by the Yanks as well. So with Lincoln’s Artificial Emancipation the Yanks gained great numbers of Africans joining their side regarding laborers and as well as joining their army in order to be utilized as sand bags for the white Yankee soldiers. Very important also, due to the Emancipation, England and France were repelled from joining The South and coming to their aid. Although, England and Canada were still assisting The South but unofficially.
    The Confederate Battle Flag, is a soldier’s flag and 90% of Confederate soldiers didn’t even own any slaves. So where’s the revisionist history ??? The flag is flown to remember these brave souls and is a symbol of rebellion against an overpowering and oppressing central government.

    To Curtis…Yes, the first few Southern States seceded due to slavery as it was a great part of their economy, and other valid causes as well, such as extremely high taxes among one of them. However, the remaining Southern States simply joined The Confederacy in order to aid their sister States as Lincoln provoked The South at Fort Sumter, knew very well that by refusing to abandon the fort and by making antagonistic attempts at resupplying the stubborn Yanks who held the fort. The South was extremely patient prior to engaging. Lincoln was about to invade The South with 75,000 troops. These soldiers fought for their families, homes, land and more importantly their Southern Independence for a new Southern Nation.

    However, The War of Northern Aggression was started by Lincoln and NOT due to slavery, but to keep the Union intact. As The South was their gravy train.

    If you’re so keen on quoting passages…Then I’m certain that you’ve also taken the time to study Lincoln’s quotes regarding his opinions about slavery and the black race not being able to live in harmony with the white population.

    He was far from being a liberator, but instead was a power hungry politician, a war criminal and an aggressor to The South.

    Fly her high and proud Folks !!! And if dressing as a Confederate Soldier floats you boat… All the power to you my friends ! Don’t let the misguided and misinformed intimidate you with their baloney versions of history.

    Wishing all a Wonderful Dixie Day.

    Deo Vindice, Confederate Mike

  • Brett December 15, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    Jerry Anderson is a racist ^&*.

  • Vicky December 16, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    Believe me, when that statue was being sculpted. The man who formed it was thinking of brothers. Not racisism.

  • Walter Ring December 28, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Yes, lets remove all vestiges of the Confederacy. While we are at it lets remove anything else White Southerners cherish and nonwhites find offensive (usually the same thing). Finally, let’s change the name of Dixie State College to We Hate Whitey University. Stop beating around the bush and least be honest about it.

    • Walter Ring December 28, 2012 at 11:32 am

      I hope all vestiges of the Confederacy continue to be removed from all schools, colleges and universities. Rub White Southerners’ noses in the fact they don’t control a damn thing anymore. Hey White man, how is your world looking these days? What are you going to do about it? Let it happen? Or FIGHT?

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