This forum is reserved for the discussion of a possible name change for the Dixie Zone.
Given the current environment in our country; it has been suggested that the name "Dixie" is out dated and inappropriate for these times.
A proposal has been put forth by one of the Dixie Zone LMSC's calling for a discussion about changing the Zone name.
This issue has been escalated to the USMS Diversity Committee for review.
Many of you have probably received the email from USMS President Peter Guadagni stating:
The question the Board and eventually LMSC Development Committee and the House of Delegates will consider is whether the name â€˜Dixieâ€ creates a barrier and prevents USMS from being the type of inclusive community we seek to be.
We, as a zone should get in front of this discussion and be a part of it.
Please use this forum to indicate your preferences:
1) Should the name "Dixie Zone" be changed?
2) Possible alternative names the Zone?
Dixie Zone Chair
I absolutely agree with most of what Conner Bailey said above; he stated it perfectly. I would like to add, however, that Connor wasn't entirely correct when he stated that, "The word "Dixie" is associated with sentiments that are perceived as hostile by African Americans." The word "Dixie" is also perceived as hostile by me, and I am white. Dixie is synonymous with slavery, and it is also synonymous with the Confederates who were traitors.
To be honest, I was appalled when I moved here and joined USMS, and learned that the name of our zone was called, "Dixie Zone." My first question to my husband was, "Why don't they call it the "Southeast Zone" instead? If I found (and still find) the word "Dixie" offensive, I can only imagine how it must feel for other members (ar potential members) of USMS who are ashamed of what the Confederates fought for in the Civil War.
Regarding options for a new name, in addition to "Southeast Zone," I really like Anna Lea's and Britta's ideas!
When the topic was brought up last Sunday in our Georgia Masters meeting, I sat back and thought of my son Brandon. When we had our meeting and the name change was brought up, I decided to ask 3 people, whom I respect with what the they thought of when they Heard the word "Dixie". One was my oldest friend of now almost 50 years whom I grew up in Chicago and still lives there. The 2nd was a woman whom I teach with now. Almost 50, born, raised, educated in the Cobb County School system. I teach with her in my school. I asked them both to respond to one word..."Dixie" and what did that word bring to mind. They both had very similar comments. The Confederacy and the Confederate Flag.
The 3rd person I asked. Sadly, I wish I had done him better and spoken sooner. My son Brandon is 21 and he is a black man. I asked what he thought and he had a very short response...."call it the Southern Zone Dad". I can't add to that
The goal of our or any sport is to be inclusive, supportive, and non-judgmental. We strive to be an accepting group but when you have been subjected to a life of discrimination, hostility, or profiling...how can we ask Black Americans to be a part organization that accepts all when the name of our group has not always been that way. I echo Connor...a unpleasant symbol and term of the past and as Brandon's father...has to go
Mark L. Rogers
I could not find better words than Conner for this.
While I am far away from having Southern routes, I support a name change to ensure USMS is welcoming to and inclusive of everyone. This is an easy change to make.
A few ideas I had for a new name:
- hurricane zone (I see a trend here)
- sunshine zone
- citrus zone
The below correspondence is from USMS President Peter Guadagni to current Dixie Zone Chair Ed Saltzman:
From: Peter Guadagni
Sent: Tuesday, June 16, 2020 1:38 AM
Subject: New name for Dixie Zone
The Board voted to recommend the name of the Dixie Zone be changed during its regular Board meeting tonight. The plan is to approve the formal proposal for submission to the LMSC Development Committee at the summer Board meeting on July 11. The Board would like to give the Dixie Zone the opportunity to choose a new name.
Ultimately, the House of Delegates will determine whether the name should be changed. Even if the Zone would prefer the name not be changed, I think it would be a good idea for the Zone to select an alternative name. My preference is that the new name be geographical in nature to avoid confusion and contention. If the Zone selects a name being used by a current LMSC (i.e. Southeastern), it would be helpful if a new name could be suggested for the LMSC. You might want to follow the example used in the Northwest, where there is a Northwest Zone and an Inland Northwest LMSC. The choice, however, is yours.
It would be very helpful if you could get a recommendation for a new Zone name and possibly a new LMSC name to me by July 6. This would enable me to include it in our Board meeting materials.
Let me know if you have any questions.
Thanks you for your service,
President | U.S. Masters Swimming
:applaud: Thank you, Anna Lea, for posting this! And, thank you to Peter and the USMS Board of Directors for doing the right thing. This is great news!
Britta, you bring up a good point, now that I have read Peter's letter. "Southeast" is probably too similar to "Southeastern" to meet the guidelines.
Since the deadline is July 6, our next Georgia Masters conference call is cutting it close for discussing any new name ideas. Perhaps an e-mail to the rest of the board should go out about Peter's letter?
First, my thoughts on this topic-The term 'Dixie' is a geographical one, referring to the area below the Mason-Dixon line, which was created in the mid-1760s, prior to the Revolutionary War. For those that want a name change for our zone because it reminds them of the Confederacy- then you should also want a name change for the Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina LMSCs, since they were all states of the Confederacy. Certainly, the Colony Zone should be renamed, since so many of those who fought in the Revolutionary War were slaveowners, including George Washington.That being said, I appreciate Conner Bailey's comments about this topic. I admit that it is a very personal one for me, because I am a descendant of Confederate soldiers, and I am proud of my heritage. My ancestors fought bravely in the War between the States. They were not fighting for slavery- the vast majority of soldiers were not slaveowners, just poor farmers. They were fighting for states' rights, and against the huge tariffs being imposed on exported crops by the federal government. My father was a battlefield re-enactor: my oldest brother and I spent most of our childhood accompanying him to the various battlefields throughout the South. I do take offense to comments that all Confederates were traitors- their land was invaded and plundered, and they were defending their land and their families. Those accusations are unwarranted and not right.I certainly consider our organization to be an inclusive one. I am sorry for the negative connotation that this term seems to have. Since it does appear that most are in favor of a name change, my proposal would be:Southern Atlantic or South Atlantic- sort of like Southern Pacific is for the West Coast?I like the other suggestions as well, but do think it should be a geographic term (much as I like Hurricane and Sunshine!).Respectfully,Lisa Watson Georgia LMSC
To make things as easy as possible so only the zone name, web site, and other details have to be changed and a burden is not placed on LMSCs within the zone, I suggest that the names Southern and Southeastern NOT be used in order to save those LMSCs the burden of also making lots of changes.