Letter to the Editor: What ‘Dixie spirit’ really means

Dixie State University, St. George, Utah, Nov. 21, 2019 | File photo by Reuben Wadsworth, St. George News

OPINION — During the Board of Trustees meeting about the Dixie State University name change on June 29, a common phrase kept being repeated by most of the trustees: having “Dixie spirit” and wanting to “honor our heritage.” Let’s go over Southern Utah’s Dixie heritage and what they are trying to sugarcoat and honor.

Historical records show the connection to the Old South was strong in Southern Utah, where schools would put on annual minstrel shows, with faculty and administration wearing black-face makeup entertaining the community. There were statues erected at the college to honor the Confederacy. It was common to see large Confederate flags flying over businesses across the region.

As a college and a community, we need to leave the “Dixie spirit” in the past. This isn’t something to be proud of, nor is having ancestors who aided in hurt and discrimination. Nothing about it is honorable.

The University’s name change is a step in the right direction, even though the Board of Trustees ultimately chose to ignore the public and student body in the end when it came to the phrase “Tech” being a part of the university name. However, keeping the campus named “Dixie Campus” just goes to show their ignorance.

We have a duty to educate ourselves on our history as a community, and we have an even bigger duty to remember its painful past. We must not forget how diverse we can be, and we must actively fight bigotry, racism, gender inequality and many other painfully deep-rooted issues that are still prevalent and damaging today. It’s not cancel culture; it’s an effort to right our wrongs and make amends for the heinous actions that our community and university took in the past.

Submitted by LAUREN ROBS, Southern Utah.

Letters to the Editor are not the product of St. George News, its editors, staff or news contributors. The matters stated and opinions given are the responsibility of the person submitting them. They do not reflect the product or opinion of St. George News and are given only light edit for technical style and formatting.

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