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Our View: Alma Mater, another chance for change?

By Herald Editorial Staff
On January 30, 2014

From the fight songs and chants at athletic events to the scarlet and black colors that adorn the walls of every building on campus, A-State is a very unified community. Even through change we are able to stick together as a school and help progress forward with evolving times.

However, one of the lyrics in A-State’s Alma Mater reads, “with praise by daughter and noble son.”

While at first glance this may seem like nothing to worry about, a deeper look reveals this statement is a perpetuation of an old mindset, and perhaps it is time for an update.

The Alma Mater is a part of our school that is supposed to unite the A-State community. At the time it was written A-State had mostly male students.

More importantly, it was written in a time when women were thought to need less education than men. Women were also much less likely to gain an inheritance from their families. Therefore, it makes sense only sons are supposed to be noble.

The lyrics of our own Alma Mater reflect a time of gender inequality and allowing them to go unnoticed is bringing a flawed mindset of the past into the present.

Of course, there is a definite possibility the only reason the lyrics don’t include “noble daughters” is simply because it didn’t fit in the song.

However, more important than fitting words into rhymes is the power that words have to shape our reality.

The effect of words has been magnified on a national, as well as local, level.

For example, Florida tried to make a law banning the use of gambling through electronic devices. However, the wording of the statute was so broad it gave way to the possibility of all computers being illegal.

The Supreme Court also hears cases that have been appealed based only upon the wording of the constitution. State and local governments spend a considerable amount of time on wording ordinances.

Our own Faculty Senate and Student Government Association has been known to take months simply debating the wording of an amendment.

A-State has already taken measures to bring equality to the present. Most notably, our change of mascot in 2008 prevented the racial stereotyping of Native Americans.

More importantly, it shaped a new mindset of tolerance for all people.

At the time, critics of the mascot change argued the history and tradition of the Indian were more important. But when history reflects a time of discrimination that we realize is now wrong, there should be very little resistance to the change.

Perhaps today it is time to take a look at other parts of our traditions. We can still keep our Alma Mater, but shift our lyrics to reflect current times in the same way we have already done with the school song.

Doing so would not only help us be more progressive with current times, but also help to shape a new reality of equality for everyone.

“Our View” is written by the editorial staff. The opinions are not necessarily reflective of the student body, faculty or administration at A-State.

 

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