Editorial Note: California’s NAACP has launched a marketing campaign to take away “The Star-Spangled Banner” as America’s nationwide anthem as a result of it’s “one of the crucial racist, pro-slavery, anti-black songs within the American lexicon.” The group expressed help for NFL participant Colin Kaepernick, who launched the current motion to kneel for the nationwide anthem earlier than sports activities occasions. The following is a reprint of an August 2016 Daily Signal article about why the music was beloved by former slave and abolitionist Frederick Douglass.

National Football League participant Colin Kaepernick created a stir on Friday when he refused to face for the nationwide anthem firstly of a preseason recreation. The San Francisco 49ers quarterback cited the prevalence of racism and oppression in America as the first causes he sat in the course of the taking part in of the music.

The Bay Area soccer star has been fading over the previous couple of years and he’ll doubtless be doing a whole lot of sitting this season—for the nationwide anthem or in any other case. But Kaepernick’s protest has initiated a nationwide debate over patriotism and respect for the American flag.

“The Star-Spangled Banner” was written by Francis Scott Key in the course of the War of 1812; it was formally adopted because the nationwide anthem in 1931 and has been a staple at sports activities occasions for greater than a century. The music is stuffed with martial and patriotic references, ending with a stanza that makes an ode to America because the “land of the free, and the house of the courageous.”

To the vast majority of Americans, “The Star-Spangled Banner” is a transferring tribute to what the nation represents: freedom, responsibility, bravery, and dedication to the women and men serving within the armed forces. Clearly, Kaepernick—who makes hundreds of thousands of taking part in the sport he loves—has a distinct view of what the over two-century-old music represents.

“I’m not going to face up to take pride in a flag for a rustic that oppresses black folks and folks of colour,” Kaepernick informed the NFL media. “To me, that is larger than soccer and it might be egocentric on my half to look the opposite method. There are our bodies on the street and folks getting paid go away and getting away with homicide.”

Lambasting “The Star-Spangled Banner” isn’t a brand new phenomenon. Liberal teams and commentators have tried to get the tune changed for years, citing racism (Key was a slave proprietor) and the inherent “militarism” of the music.

An op-ed in The Intercept supported Kaepernick’s actions by dredging up a couple of stanzas, since faraway from the fashionable rendition of the anthem, that explicitly point out slavery. Columnist Jon Schwarz wrote that the music “actually celebrates the homicide of African-Americans.”

Hyperbolic reactions to certainly one of America’s oldest patriotic songs fly within the face of what maybe a dwindling variety of Americans perceive. Although the American republic was based with many imperfections and contradictions—such because the establishment of slavery—the timeless ideas laid at its basis have led to extra human prosperity for a greater variety of individuals than any civilization in human historical past.

Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave who performed a essential position within the abolitionist motion within the mid-19th century, had been a frequent critic of American coverage and the existence of the “peculiar establishment.” However, he believed that the dearly held ideas of the Declaration of Independence, and its unequivocal assertion that each one males are “created equal,” would ultimately result in slavery’s dissolution.

Douglass pulled no punches in criticizing slavery as a large contradiction in American life, however he understood the evils of the system could be corrected by embracing the nation’s origins fairly than rejecting them. He inspired black Americans to enroll and struggle for the Union beneath the American flag in the course of the Civil War, performed a vital position in recruitment efforts, and satisfied many former slaves to serve within the army and embrace the United States because the vessel—not the thwarter—of freedom.

“It’s good to know that we stay in a rustic the place sitting down in the course of the anthem received’t land you in jail or worse.” —@RashadJennings

Douglass was recognized to steadily play “The Star-Spangled Banner” on his violin for his grandchildren within the years after the warfare. He stated in an 1871 speech at Arlington National Cemetery that “if the star-spangled banner floats solely over free American residents in each quarter of the land, and our nation has earlier than it an extended and wonderful profession of justice, liberty, and civilization, we’re indebted to the unselfish devotion of the noble military.”

For probably the most half, followers and gamers within the NFL embrace an analogous view of the United States.

Rashad Jennings, a black athlete who performs for the NFL’s New York Giants channeled Douglass in his help for the nationwide anthem and the American flag. He informed the New York Daily News, “It’s good to know that we stay in a rustic the place sitting down in the course of the anthem received’t land you in jail or worse.”

Jennings stated he was proud to face for the music and continued to clarify why he helps the values contained in its verses:

I figure if it was the intention of our Founding Fathers to maintain America a nation of slaves, then it wouldn’t have chosen a music the place all 4 verses finish with ‘the land of the free and the house of the courageous’ as a substitute of ‘land of the free, house of the slave.’

Jennings’ teammates made a degree to stand at consideration for the nationwide anthem throughout a Saturday evening recreation towards the New York Jets.

Gallup polls point out there was a speedy decline of American pleasure of their nation lately—a harmful slide for a multiethnic republic sure collectively by ideas and establishments fairly than nationwide origin.

Kaepernick’s outright assault on what the American flag exemplifies is simply the newest unhappy episode of Americans’ abandonment of the hallmarks of their unity and love of nation. This is why it is vital for Americans who nonetheless imagine in what the nation was based on to face and help the symbols of our lifestyle.

The publish California NAACP Calls ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ ‘Racist.’ Here’s Why Frederick Douglass Loved It. appeared first on The Daily Signal.

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