Here is a bonus for those who go around saying that the great majority of whites are ‘racists’ of some deplorable variety or another. You’ve got a ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card for inaccuracies, misinterpretations, or any amount of unpleasantness.
You don’t have to be right; you just have to be woke. The media will report and gravely acknowledge your grievances, historic or newly found.
What target of your righteous indignation is likely to look you hard in the eye and say, ‘You don’t know what you’re talking about?’ It happens, just not often enough. Which is what gives an ongoing row at the University of Texas, in Austin, its freshness, not to mention its role in showing us all how to take down by several notches the careless accuser, the racial self-promoter.
You push back, that’s how. You push back hard. You decline to accord nonsense and frivolity equal standing with reason and the hope for dignity and the mutual respect that.
Here’s the background. ‘The Eyes of Texas’, UT’s historic school song (‘The eyes of Texas are upon you, all the livelong day/ the eyes of Texas are upon you, you cannot get away…’) has been declared racist by a faction of students who are scandalized by the song’s appearance in minstrel shows of a century and a quarter ago. As we all know, the memory of minstrel shows calls us all to repentance — whether you ever saw one or not, you’d have to be fairly old now to have done so.
A second stain can be found in the song’s fabric. The key phrase — ‘The eyes of Texas are upon you’ — derives from a moral injunction that Robert E. Lee, when president of the school now called Washington and Lee University, used to lay on his students. Lee asked the rising generation of Southern manhood to remember that ‘the eyes of the South are upon you’.
Robert E. Lee! Eyes that watch you with moral expectations! Grrrrrr, went the anti-‘Eyes’ faction at UT. Grrrrrr, echoed many faculty members and woke students, athletes especially, desirous of dropping a well-beloved song that fails to honor their aspirations. Ummm, excuse me?, went administrators logically fearful of where a battle over such a beloved school song might take the prestigious school.
Enter the alumni, gesticulating, so to speak. Attempts to channel conservative alums into organized resistance don’t exactly fall flat, but they don’t succeed in proportion to the presumed percentage of conservative graduates. A lot of alums give money to their schools; the money buys them attention and naming rights on new campus buildings. They keep generally quiet.
Uncharacteristically, however, once alerted to presumptuous demands for replacing ‘The Eyes’ with something better suited to The Moment, Texas alums rose in wrath. And I don’t mean they just sent hot emails to the administration. Hundreds backed up those emails with promises to quit funding the university in the event it caved to the woke. They protested that UT was being asked, not at all politely, to ditch its heritage; to mumble to the offended, oh, sorry, sorry, we didn’t know. But now we do!
Yeah, said the angry alums. And we know something else: that silliness of the anti-‘Eyes’ sort, once acquiesced in, just invites more silliness. And injury. So that figuring out early what’s at stake and taking a firm stand against it is of the essence. If you’re giving money to the firing squad, tell its members to pass the tin cup in more sympathetic venues.
Then victory, As UT says it won’t put ‘The Eyes’ to rest. The alums angry have shown the value of resistance to flatulent stupidity. Illegitimati non carborondum, as the mock-Latin has it; don’t let the so-and-sos grind you down. It should not be just the Texan way of life to push back against folly; it used to be the American way. And no wonder, when you look around everywhere in 2021and ponder the consequence of rolling over meekly when the woke dogs growl, or for that matter just yap.