Univ. of Texas Drum Major Says ‘The Eyes of Texas’ Represents ‘Invisible Form’ of Racism, Refuses to Play Song

Eyes of Texas
Getty Images/Ronald Martinez

Longhorn Band drum major Ally Morales has announced that she will never again play the school song, “The Eyes of Texas,” as criticism of the song grows in Austin.

The University of Texas student has joined those who claim that the song is irredeemably “racist.”

“It’s not ultimately about the song, it’s about ingrained, institutionalized racism that frankly, in invisible form, takes the image of a school song,” Morales said, according to the Dallas Morning News. “Removing our alma mater is the first step to realizing the oppression that the Black students face on campus and off-campus.”

The student went on to say that she has been won over by detractors who say the school’s 117-year-old song is racist, and no longer serves the school.

“If the one thing that unites us all is a song, I feel like we’re missing the real values of the university and the institution that we love so much,” Morales added. “It’s about the community that brings us all together. There can be any reason for that, but ‘The Eyes of Texas’ is no longer synonymous with community.”

Morales also opposed UT President Jay Hartzell’s recent decision to keep the song.

“I think President Hartzell made a very, I don’t want to say uneducated, but out of all the ways to respond to it, that was not the way to do it,” Morales exclaimed. “Coming from a white man that is the president of this University, it’s inappropriate for him to say, ‘Let’s reclaim this song.'”

The school website explains Hartzell’s decision to keep the song and defends the tune saying, “Embracing the song’s meaning today should not stop us from seeing its complicated past, and acknowledging the many ways that people see the song.”

The song’s music was based on the minstrel song, “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad,” which mimicked black railroad workers. The school song’s writer, one-time school chief William Lambdin Prather, took the earlier tune and added the new lyrics that would become, “The Eyes of Texas.” To compound matters, Prather’s song was introduced to the school in 1903 through a minstrel show performed by whites in blackface makeup.

This history has caused woke students to rebel against the more than one-hundred-year-old school song, and, as HookEm.com noted, resistance to the song has been growing, especially among the school’s athletes.

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