In recent months, there has been growing controversy surrounding the kinda, sorta, totally racist school song of the University of Texas. A student-led Zoom lecture at the University of Texas at Austin was interrupted when a masked man began loading a gun on camera.
NBC News reports that Alberto Martinez, a history professor who believes his research proves the fight song has racist origins, was giving a lecture titled “Investigating the Eyes of Texas,” when a man wearing a beanie with a bandana covering most of his face appeared on camera loading a tactical shotgun. The event was organized by members of the Texas Orange Jackets, a student organization that hosts a variety of events at UT Austin.
“I think this kind of violence made me realize that this isn’t just an argument between students about a song,” said Irene Ameena, the Orange Jackets’ director of inclusion.
The school’s song, “The Eyes of Texas,” made its debut in 1903 during a minstrel show and is believed to be inspired by Confederate General Robert E. Lee. A university committee reviewed the song’s origins and said they didn’t find it overtly racist, but is that really surprising? When has Texas ever found anything racist? I also love that quantifier. Sure, it might be racist, but it’s not overtly racist.
Oh Texas, never change. Or, actually, please do, because y’all stay annoying the shit out of me.
This incident comes as multiple donors and alumni have expressed continued outrage that students have the audacity to not want to celebrate a song with a racist background. Donors have threatened to pull funding from the school because apparently a racist-ass, century-old song that doesn’t even bop means the world to them. While the school has given students permission to not sing the song, it has decided to keep it as its alma mater.
“It’s certainly frightening to see someone with a tactical shotgun when you’re just talking about a song,” Martinez said. “I guess to many people it’s a symbol of Texas or things they value. But at the same time, we are just talking, so it’s shocking to see anyone wearing a mask and brandishing a weapon in a threatening manner.”
Martinez reported the incident to university police who say they are investigating, but there is no word on what potential consequences the perpetrator could face. The professor added he was told that brandishing a gun could be considered a terroristic threat, but it’s unclear if the event is being investigated at all by state or federal law enforcement.