• Richard Easson

University of Texas Song Wins Cancel Culture Battle

The cancel culture war rages on, seeking to remove or destroy anything that might have even the slightest connection to something that someone deems racist. One of the latest victims of the war, a song sung at University of Texas games, came out victorious from its battle, but not without wounds.

“The Eyes of Texas” is a song usually sung at various sports games at UT and to the tune of “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad.” On Tuesday morning, a commission at the university released a 59-page report indicating that its panel found no “racist intent” in the song’s lyrics.

Many UT athletes have been outspoken against the song of which plenty have included in their list of items for the university to address. UT basketball player Matt Coleman made the most recent comments regarding the song saying, "If the song is racist then it shouldn’t be played, it’s as simple as that.”

“The Eyes of Texas History Committee” was created to address “four charges” related to the tune. One of which was finding the creators’ intent of the song and investigating its history and performance at UT.

Texas Monthly reported that the committee found no connection between the lyrics and anything said or written by Confederate General Robert E. Lee, as originally charged. The belief was that “The Eyes of Texas” could have been connected to Lee who was thought to often say “the eyes of the South are upon you.”

Another concern was that the song possibly debuted in a minstrel show, which was likely performed by student singers wearing blackface.

Those offended also felt the fact the tune was taken from “The Levee Song,” or known to most as “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad,” automatically made the UT alma mater racist.

Days before the committee made its decision, the university’s president, Jay Hartzell, received numerous emails from alumni donors who threatened to stop sending money to the school and boycott games if they didn’t stand up to “cancel culture.”

A tweet following the announcement of the panel’s findings said, "a committee of faculty scholars, students and alumni has completed its work documenting the nearly 120-year history of The Eyes of Texas as part of the university’s commitment to fully own, acknowledge and teach about its school song. We encourage all members of the Longhorn family to see the report and learn more about the history of the Eyes – and through the song, to learn more about the history of the university."

Recommendations made by the school to address the concerns regarding the song include producing a fact-based history of the song, a website to educate those curious about its origins, and "an institute at UT to study and encourage difficult conversations about controversial and challenging topics, including 'The Eyes of Texas'.”