Student reactions to Delete Dixie Initiative

Raelee Sents, Staff Reporter

Editor’s Note (10/6/2022): This story was updated to include information about a counter-petition opposed to removing the word “dixie” from the UA fight song.

Students had mixed reactions to a new faculty and student coalition, the Delete Dixie Initiative,” which proposed the removal of the word “dixie” in the Alabama fight song. 

After The Crimson White shared a story about the group on Instagram, the post amassed over 200 comments discussing the subject. The post garnered over 600 likes. Commented reactions ranged anywhere from “no” to paragraphs discussing their opinion on the initiative. 

Gabby Kirk, a sophomore majoring in education and history, said that before the story was published, she had “heard that there was a small movement behind getting Dixie removed.” 

Kirk’s comment on The CW’s Instagram post, “Here comes the hate comments y’all lol” has received 25 likes. Her comment received 10 responses. 

“My reaction to the movement was torn. As a history major, I understand the importance of culture and traditions. But also, as a history major, I’ve seen the dangers of keeping cultural traditions that can be harmful to other people,” Kirk said.  “The harsh reality that I and my fellow black peers have accepted is that like racism, harmful southern traditions aren’t going away. However, that doesn’t justify the micro-aggressive comments on the CW’s Instagram.” 

Caleb Wanca, a freshman majoring in finance, said that “a line has to be drawn.”  

“There’s a difference between acknowledging the time and place in which our university was founded and displaying racism,” Wanca said. “Claiming that the word Dixie in our fight song is a source of racism at the University is a slap in the face to those who experience legitimate prejudice or discrimination of race.” 

Evan Lasseter, a senior majoring in marketing, said he was not aware of the initiative until The CW’s Instagram post. 

He first responded on the post commenting “Oh my god can y’all stop.” His comment gained 23 likes and 14 replies. 

In a reply to a comment saying that dixie is “just a word,” Lasseter said “I could say the exact same thing about wanting to remove the word in the first place” about the arguments to removing dixie. 

“I felt it was a bad idea to remove the word because the definition now is just the south and has no connection to the racism in the old south days,” Lasseter said. “I understand the movement, but I just believe the goal is misplaced.”

There were others who are opposed to the proposed change. As of Oct. 6, 174 people have signed a counter-petition to the one started by the Delete Dixie Initiative. The initiative’s petition stood at 194 signatures as of Oct. 6.

“As Alabama fans, students, faculty, and as Americans with common sense, it is time we make our voices heard and stand up to this collection of radicals who believe that Dixie is a racist term linked to slavery,” the counter-petition’s detail page read.

CJ Byrd, a senior majoring in creative media, said the Delete Dixie Initiative is important. 

 “It’s calling out racist terms in this school that is so normalized. And I think it sets a good precedent,” Byrd said. “Of course, there’s going to be backlash for a movement like this, because the term Dixie is so normalized here, but the term’s racist history cannot be ignored.”