The University of Florida is finally doing away with something many in the south has found racist for far too long.
The university will discontinue the popular “Gator Bait” cheer at school-sanctioned sporting events, school president Kent Fuchs announced on Thursday.
While Fuchs said he is confident the chant was never meant to be racist, the cheer is being nixed due to the “horrific historic racist imagery” associated with it.
“While I know of no evidence of racism associated with our “Gator Bait” cheer at UF sporting events, there is horrific historic racist imagery associated with the phrase,” Fuchs wrote in a press release. “Accordingly University Athletics and the Gator Band will discontinue the use of the cheer.”
The phrase “gator bait” is potentially linked to historical stories about black children being used as bait for alligator hunters according to Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia at Ferris State University, citing newspaper articles and imagery from the late 1800s and early 20th century.
The move is part of a concerted effort by Florida to address racism and inequality. Right now, if an institution isn’t happy about being associated with any form of radical terms or symbols, now is the time to rewrite that wrong.