Faculty and student leaders at the UA School of Social Work are 1 ½ years into a concealed multi-departmental campaign to remove “Dixie” and gendered language from the fight song.
An audio recording obtained by Capstone Free Press reveals details of the plan to alter the lyrics of “Yea, Alabama!” to reflect the diversity, equity and inclusion measures the university has prioritized in recent years.
The lyrics the group finds controversial are in the second and penultimate lines. In the second line, they propose changing “Every ‘Bama man’s behind you” to “Every ‘Bama fan’s behind you.” In the fourteenth line, they propose changing “You’re Dixie’s football pride” to “You’re ‘Bama’s football pride” or “You’re the South’s football pride.”
“Yea, Alabama!” has been the UA football fight song for almost 100 years and remains in its original form. It was written about the 1925 football season in which the Tide’s unprecedented successes catapulted the program to national football greatness.
“Our fight song…reminds us of our unfortunate past,” says the narrator of an unreleased promotional video played during the recording. “‘Dixie’ no longer represents the values of our university.”
The video continued, “Since the initial use of the word ‘Dixie’ as a racial term, it has continued to reinforce harmful stereotypes of Black Americans.”
The video next quotes David Sansing, a former professor at the University of Mississippi, who compared the game of football to a battle on a battlefield.
“Implying that football is symbolic of the battlefield, added with the racial connotations of the word ‘Dixie,’ makes the line ‘You’re Dixie’s football pride’ in our fight song convey many negative implications about our university,” the narrator asserts.
The video says ‘Dixie’ is disrespectful to the majority-Black football team and undermines the effort to infuse the campus with more DEI initiatives. It concludes by questioning what UA’s primary slogan “Where Legends Are Made” really means if the university is comfortable with being remembered as a place of “strict adherence to harmful traditions.”
The change from “man’s” to “fan’s” is not addressed in the video. Later in the audio recording, a speaker says the change is just another way to make the song more inclusive.
Representatives of the University of Alabama did not comment by the time of publication.
According to the recording, the plans have been kept under wraps to avoid unwanted media attention that might derail them.
At least one student group and one faculty group are also involved in the project.
A favorite song at UA football games, “Dixieland Delight” by the country band Alabama, was taken out of stadium rotation in 2015–not for the original lyrics, but for vulgar lyrics students added. Three years, multiple petitions, and countless student and fan complaints later, the tradition was revived.