Confederate memory, like southern history (and indeed all of American history) is complicated. And that complexity comes through even in the figure of a seemingly innocuous black bear. We aren't just dealing with a mean animal that can potentially intimidate opponents or that little kiddies will enjoy at football events; but something that is meant to represent the essence of Ole Miss, as an entity that is bound up with the traditions of locality and state.
The lore surrounding the black bear is deeply tied up with the South's complex racial past; it is by no means a figure uncomplicated by race. While this racial association is not visibly written on the figure of the black bear - it is there, embedded in the stories which give the symbol its life. And in an ironic twist it even manages a backhanded paw swipe at those who would dethrone the Confederate symbolism of Ole Miss.
from the Manhole Music Tea Room blog