There were reposts circulating on Friday on TMZ about how Winn-Dixie was considering changing its name, which somehow seemed credible because it was just last weekend that the Dixie Chicks changed their name to The Chicks - the word "dixie," with its implication of a Deep South history inextricably linked to slavery. The word - and the history - are seen as increasingly problematic, even toxic, at a time when racism and social justice are of growing concern throughout the country. It was emblematic of this raised consciousness that the Mississippi legislature voted over the weekend to end the use of a state flag that includes in it the battle flag of the Confederate States of America.
But Winn-Dixie isn't going there. At least not yet.
In an email to the Jacksonville Daily Record, Joe Caldwell, a spokesman for Winn-Dixie's owner, Southeastern Grocers, said, “While we have no immediate plans to rename this banner, we have always been and will continue to be responsive to the needs and concerns expressed by the communities we serve … At Southeastern Grocers we’re committed to cultivating an inclusive culture and community that promotes belonging, inclusion and diversity. As such, we stand against racism and support the Black Lives Matter movement across our country."
- KC's View:
In other words, not exactly a robust "never."
I don't blame them. Businesses and business leaders are being compelled to wrestle with decisions and cultural implications that might have been unthinkable just a few years ago … or even just a few months ago.
Timing is everything … and the timing of Southeaster Grocer's decision to retire its Bi-Lo banner, selling off a number of those stores and put the majority of its effort into building the Winn-Dixie brand, may be have been less than ideal. But decisions can be revisited, and indeed may be if Southeastern Grocers calculates that it is a mistake to stick with the Winn-Dixie name.
I have no idea how this will play out.
It is worth pointing out that USA Today reports that "New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner Gayle Benson announced Friday the name of a fabled New Orleans beer will change. It will no longer be called Dixie Beer — and all Dixie branded products will be changed. Benson said that it has become clear that "our nation and community are currently engaged in critical conversations about racism and systemic social issues that have caused immeasurable pain and oppression of our black and brown communities," and thus compelled her to make the change.
The way things have been happening lately, I'm half convinced that one of these days I'm going to get a news alert on my iPhone informing me that hell has frozen over.