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REILY: Ole Miss students chose so, so poorly

As I am sure you have seen by now, a protest at Ole Miss against the re-election of President Barack Obama grew into crowd of about 400 people with shouted racial slurs as rumors of a riot spread on social media. Two people were arrested on minor charges.

Of course the university issued statements denouncing the acts, but, wow, this couldn’t have come at a worse time.

Just when we were feeling pretty good about ourselves and where we have come as we just recognized the 50th anniversary of rioting at Ole Miss in connection with the enrollment of its first black student, James Meredith — here comes this band of idiots that marches us straight back into that glorious age of Jim Crow.

One picture that spread rapidly on social media shows people burning an Obama campaign sign, but the university hasn’t confirmed that the picture was taken on campus. The chancellor said some photos shared on social media showed things that were not seen by police on campus, but the reports of uncivil language and racial slurs appeared to be accurate, according to an Associated Press account.

Some students and teachers used social media to condemn the conflict.

That is all fine and good, but it is hard to shed those images when we are fighting more than 100 years of negative imagery where it comes to race relations.

I get what it is like to want to protest.

But, for the love of God, it is astonishingly selfish and hateful, not to mention disrespectful to hurl racially motivated speech toward the president of the United States, regardless of race or political affliation. We have a job to do of teaching our young people better in the future.

Yet, in all of the buildup and hurtful speech that has been thrown around in the weeks and months leading up to the presidential election, maybe these kids are only learning from what they have been taught at home.

If nothing else, we have learned that we still have a divided culture in Mississippi and the United States.

We have come a long way since Mr. Meredith was enrolled at Ole Miss. I feel certain he would attest to that.

Yet, by the thoughtless actions of a few, it is painfully apparent that we still have a long, long way to go.


Contact Mississippi Business Journal editor Ross Reily at ross.reily@msbusiness.com. or (601) 364-1018


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About Ross Reily

Ross Reily is editor of the Mississippi Business Journal. He is a husband to an amazing wife, dad to 3 crazy kids and 2 dogs. He is also a fan of the Delta State Fighting Okra and the Boston Red Sox.


  1. Actions have consequences. College age kids need to understand that. You are a reflection of more than yourself–be it family, university, fraternity, race or other.
    No matter what really happened, these acts are a mistake. The Presidential election is important, but I can’t imagine it was that overwhelming to a college kid. Be better than that. The University of Mississippi and state of Mississippi deserve better.

  2. This just confirmed that nothing has changed much in the South. The state isn’t red for nothing. Mississippi is living up to its reputation for hateful rhetoric. The public school system is also a prime example of parents imparting their hatred into their children. I’ve experience prejudice throughout my childhood until moving out of the state in my early 20s. My children are witnessing more hate here in Mississippi than in their birth state of Georgia. It’s time for us to leave this state for good and never look back. And to think of sending my child to Ole Miss to major in medicine makes me sick.

  3. It’s OK for the president and his wife to be racists, but is “disrespectful” “selfish” and “hateful” to protest this? You, Mr Reily, are a PC clown.

  4. R.G. Cook and the like are prime examples of the childish mentality I have witnessed since moving to this State. I invite R.G. to cite examples of racist behavior by our President.

    Like Cynthia, I am re-thinking my move to this State and my daughters enrollment at the University.

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