SEC Doesn't Want To Look At Mississippi's Ugly Traitor Flag Anymore
Once upon a time, the state of Mississippi had a very cute flag, with a nice, cheerful little magnolia tree on it. Look at how nice it was!
However, in 1865, the year the Civil War ended, Mississippi changed its flag from the cute little magnolia tree one to one that incorporated the Confederate flag. Not that they were bitter about anything.
This was a thing many Southern states did after what they called "The War of Northern Aggression," but since 2003, when Georgia decided to go with a new flag that didn't give off that "Man it sure would be great if we could still keep Black people as slaves" vibe, they are the only state that still has one. There was a chance to get rid of it back in 2001, when it was discovered that the law making this ugly ass flag the official flag of Mississippi had accidentally been repealed in 1906, when the state decided to repeal all of their laws and start fresh. The then-governor of the state, Democrat Ronnie Musgrove, created an independent commission to design a new flag and then held a statewide vote to let residents decide between the old Confederate flag and this new one.
Not as cute as the magnolia one, but at least it's not racist?
Alas, being that this was Mississippi, 62 percent of voters elected to keep the treason flag and the referendum was defeated. Mississippians have long been very fond of this flag, to the point of having their very own, very creepy-sounding Pledge of Allegiance to that flag that students must recite along with the regular Pledge of Allegiance.
I salute the flag of Mississippi and the sovereign state for which it stands with pride in her history and achievements and with confidence in her future under the guidance of Almighty God.
Requiring students to look at a Confederate flag and talk about "pride in her history" is not exactly subtle!
But this may all change soon, as the SEC — the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Southeastern Conference, not the Securities and Exchange Commission as I initially thought — says they can't bring their gross slavery flag around anymore if they want their college sports teams to compete, and that they will have to come up with a new flag if they want to keep being able to hold championship events in their state. Why? Because no one needs to be looking at that shit.
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement, "It is past time for change to be made to the flag of the State of Mississippi."
"Our students deserve an opportunity to learn and compete in environments that are inclusive and welcoming to all," he said. "In the event there is no change, there will be consideration of precluding Southeastern Conference championship events from being conducted in the State of Mississippi."
Both Mississippi State and the University of Mississippi issued statements saying that they, too, would really appreciate it if the state would get a new flag.
"Mississippi needs a flag that represents the qualities about our state that unite us, not those that still divide us," said University of Mississippi Chancellor Glenn Boyce and athletics Vice Chancellor Keith Carter in a joint statement.
Mississippi State President Mark E. Keenum said he wrote to the state's top leaders on Friday urging them to change the flag.
"Since 2015, our Student Association, Robert Holland Faculty Senate and university administration have been firmly on record in support of changing the state flag," he said in a statement. "I have reiterated that view to our state's leaders on multiple occasions, including during face-to-face discussions in recent days and hours."
And who can blame them? Really. It's their job to attract students not just from Mississippi but from all over, and how many of them are gonna want to live in a state that is still hanging onto the Confederacy that hard?
They're not exactly alone. This week, the city of Gulfport voted to take down the treason flag and replace it with the nice, not-racist magnolia flag pictured above.
Admittedly, I do not know a ton about sports or the NCAA, but apparently college sports are a very big deal in the South and not being able to have NCAA championships in their state would be a pretty harsh blow to Mississippi. So this may be the thing that gets them to change their stupid flag, and if so, that's great. Hooray for the NCAA!
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse