Mississippi university to rename ‘Dixie Darlings’ dance team

Mississippi

FILE-In this Sept. 5, 2015 file photo, Southern Mississippi Dixie Darlings clap as cheerleaders run past prior to an NCAA college football game against Mississippi State at M.M. Roberts Stadium in Hattiesburg, Miss. The University of Southern Mississippi announced that it is considering renaming its dance team, the “Dixie Darlings.” The marching band has announced that it will select a new name to replace the nickname they’ve had since 1954. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi university says it is considering renaming its dance team, the “Dixie Darlings.”

The Hattiesburg American reported Monday that the University of Southern Mississippi’s marching band has announced that it will select a new name to replace the nickname they’ve had since 1954.

A statement from band leaders says the name change, as well as replacing the song the dancers emerge onto the field with, “Are You From Dixie,” will help maintain “a safe environment for the students.”

Dixie is a nickname for the southern U.S. states that formed the pro-slavery Confederacy. Critics have said the term is racially insensitive.

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