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Old South Parade Bites the Dust at Alabama

by: mooncat

Fri Apr 23, 2010 at 08:39:20 AM CDT

The process can be painfully slow, but institutions and traditions do change, even deeply conservative ones like playing dress-up in college.  The cancellation of the Kappa Alpha "Old South" parade at the University of Alabama shows that progress really does happen, albeit slowly.

Kappa Alpha’s president says the fraternity has canceled its annual Old South parade a year after the event was charged as racially insensitive following an incident involving a historically black sorority.

Old South paradeWhat is an "Old South" parade?  Good question.

An Old South parade is when college women dress up in Gone with the Wind style outfits (I'm doubtful Southern women circa 1865 actually wore anything remotely resembling those skirts) and college men dress up like the losers in a war that ended 145 years ago.  Then both sexes get together and ride around campus in the back of pickup-trucks -- unwashed pickup trucks if that photo is any indication -- with Confederate flags.  And they sometimes stop for a long time in front of historically black sorority houses.  Lot's of fun, I'm sure, especially getting in and out of a pickup bed wearing 20 yards of fabric.

But this really fun tradition is thankfully over, at least at Alabama, and the wearing of Confederate uniforms on campus is over everywhere, by order of the fraternity itself:

In the memo to chapters, Kappa Alpha's national executive director, Larry Wiese, said such displays had to end."In today's climate, the Order can ill afford to offend our host institutions and fend off significant negative national press and remain effective at our core mission, which is to aid young men in becoming better community leaders and citizens," Wiese wrote.

The KAs are kind of like the Republican party: almost exclusively Southern and in danger of complete irrelevance.  Their leaders have recognized that strutting around campus dressed up like Confederate soldiers looks downright silly to everybody else, offends many and detracts from whatever positive message the organization would like to convey. 

Thomas Williams, president of the UA chapter of Kappa Alpha, said in a statement Thursday that the members chose to cancel the Old South parade after deciding that it was not “in congruence with our values as an organization.”


“We support an inclusive campus environment, and as an organization we chose not to participate in an activity that we knew other members of the community found offensive,” he said.

Unfortunately, not all KA's are similarly enlightened -- read the comments to the Crimson White article and notice how many of these fine fellows believe they're being discriminated against -- it's even worse at hate websites like Stormwatch. 

The Old South has perfected the art of victimhood and put it on a pedestal right up there beside the hoop-skirted women of the silver screen, to be celebrated it at every opportunity.  This is a self-fulfilling prophecy.  It's time to leave the dead past in the past, guys, and move forward to at least the 20th century even if you can't yet bear to join the rest of us in the 21st.  I feel sure Robert E. Lee, whom you claim to revere so much, would offer the same advice.

mooncat :: Old South Parade Bites the Dust at Alabama
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who needs to dress up and play (0.00 / 0)
'Southern Heritage' when there are tea-bag rallies, and resurgent militias to play with?  The 'dressing-down' of institutional racism has been an ongoing process for decades.  Some of our churches, rooted in institutional slavery, carried their sentiments through the Jim Crow era.  David Duke put on a suit and tie.  Fob James, Richard Shelby, and lately Parker Griffith all switched parties.  The old snake ain't dead; it only sheds its skin.  This is not progress.  This is putting lipstick on a pig.

iaintright, you are new here, so I will excuse it-ONCE (4.00 / 2)
Any future derogatory comments about my porcine brothers and sisters will cause ...uh...pouting.

Only after the last tree has been cut down. Only after the last fish has been caught. Only after the last river has been poisoned. Only then will you realize that money cannot be eaten. Cree Nation Tribal Prophecy

[ Parent ]
I appologize, Piggie (4.00 / 1)
Perhaps I should have said that the efforts of institutional racism to improve their image would make a cat laugh.

[ Parent ]
That's OK (0.00 / 0)
Sometimes us cats need a good laugh.  Our porcine friends frequently oblige ...

Work harder and work smarter!

[ Parent ]
I do my best, (4.00 / 1)

Only after the last tree has been cut down. Only after the last fish has been caught. Only after the last river has been poisoned. Only then will you realize that money cannot be eaten. Cree Nation Tribal Prophecy

[ Parent ]
did they make them stop having folks pick cotton in their yard (4.00 / 1)
at the university of texas. for old south at some schools they hire black folks to pick cotton out of their yard.

it's a lot worse than the parade. just the tip of the iceburg

As an old ... (4.00 / 1)
KA myself (Phi Chapter - Bham Southern) I'm pround of the UA chapter; they are showing (albeit a bit late) some maturity and sensitivity regarding their fellow UA students.  Sitting in the back of pickup in a really bad CSA officer's uniform costume isn't the best of ways to remeber or honor anyone, especially the lfe and work of Robert E. Lee after the War (ie - his tenure @ Washington College, now Washington & Lee University).

[ Parent ]
Bad uniforms (0.00 / 0)
No joke.  I googled images of Old South parades this morning and the uniforms were about as hideous as the dresses.  Every young man wanted a few yards of gold braid on the uniform, apparently.  This spectacle was nothing more than a chance to play dress-up and pretend the South was once a perfect society -- which never existed in the real world.  I am also glad the UA chapter has grown up enough to give it up.

Work harder and work smarter!

[ Parent ]
it's time (4.00 / 1)
Even a country boy like myself can agree it is time to move on from this "tradition."

A well deserved reputation (4.00 / 1)

KA and ATO came under fire for less blatant racism at my university in Baltimore the year I graduated: 1968!

Until the South takes on American values, the South will never get out from under its well deserved reputation for bigotry.

I for one refuse to make excuses, to see progress where there is none, and to put up with the false equivalences spread by the enablers of the politics of race whose home is the despicable South.

"History repeats itself first as tragedy, second as farce"~Marx. Did we skip a step?

What revbob said! (4.00 / 1)

I too am tired of excuse-making.  I hear it all the time.

Racism has taken on a different face and its adherents don't even recognize themselves. I don't know a White family in Atmore whose children attend public schools, but they sho' nuff ain't racists, no siree!

I would love to see every eligible minority citizen register and vote in every election in every state this November.  Maybe then the rednecks and right wingnuts would get the message.


Only after the last tree has been cut down. Only after the last fish has been caught. Only after the last river has been poisoned. Only then will you realize that money cannot be eaten. Cree Nation Tribal Prophecy

[ Parent ]



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