For many Americans, the song “God Bless America” stirs strong feelings of patriotism.
This was especially the case after the horrific attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City on September 11, 2001.
According to Phillip Klein of the Washington Examiner, one way New Yorkers tried to restore normalcy to their lives after this tragic day in American history was to turn to their beloved baseball teams.
It was at this time that the Yankees began playing “God Bless America” at their games.
Regularly, the team played Kate Smith’s iconic 1939 recording of the tune.
Now, due to overreaching political correctness, the Yankees have suddenly quit playing Smith’s version.
The decision came after they discovered the singer recorded two songs containing racist lyrics in the 1930s. One of the songs, “Pickaninny Heaven,” was included in a 1933 film.
At the time, pickaninny was a known racially charged term.
The other tune, “That’s Why Darkies Were Born,” was written and recorded as a satire for racism by African American civil rights activist Paul Robeson.
In addition to the Yankees, the Philadelphia Flyers hockey team also banned Smith from being played at games. In fact, they even took things a drastic step further.
The team removed a statue of the late singer that was located outside of their arena.
Regarding the Smith debacle, David Marcus of The Federalist made an important observation.
When Smith recorded these two questionable songs, the Yankees, and the rest of Major League Baseball, prohibited worthy African American athletes from playing on their team.
Klein said, “But there’s something beyond hypocrisy. It’s the increasingly broad standards that the contemporary outrage culture is trying to establish.”
Klein maintained that Smith isn’t the first artist to be reevaluated based on modern standards of what is thought to be offensive.
However, he contended, “what’s different in this case is the transitive nature of the offense.
That is, Smith herself did not write any of the songs in question, nor are the racist lyrics the ones being celebrated. Instead, her entire 60-year singing career is being called into question on the basis of two songs she recorded in the 1930s.”
To make matters worse, before these lyrics were called into question, Smith was in no way considered a racist.
Actually, she was heralded for being a civil rights activist. According to Bill Spadea of New Jersey 101.5, Smith raised hundreds of millions of dollars for American troops and won the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Regarding the singer, Spadea remarked that “all historical evidence points to her having the courage to push back against a segregationist and discriminatory culture in the 1930’s.”
If people in the Untied States don’t fight back against out-of-bounds political correctness, they are putting everything held sacred at risk.
Klein revealed, “Charles Dickens is one of my favorite authors, but as somebody Jewish, whenever I read him I have to grapple with the fact that Oliver Twist features Fagin, arguably the most anti-Semitic character in the history of literature.”
He went on to say, “In case there was any doubt about his background, Dickens refers to Fagin as ‘the Jew’ literally hundreds of times throughout the novel.”
Klein aptly argued, “By the Kate Smith standard, we should not only be wary of Oliver Twist, but we should call all other works of Dickens into question — Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities, David Copperfield — and while you’re at it, you can cancel all performances of A Christmas Carol.”
For his part, Marcus contended, “If we must lose Smith — if her statues must be taken down, if her songs must be silenced — then how do we justify allowing modern players, including black players, to wear the uniform of a team that denied black Americans agency and Person-hood?
Any fair treatment of this situation would require that the Yankee pinstripes be retired right along side Smith.”
It’s certainly true that the two Smith songs in question have racist undertones.
But, it can’t be simply glossed over that one of those tunes was purposefully written satire penned by an African American man.
Klein correctly stated, “But as our standards evolve on race, gender, religion, ethnicity, and sexuality, we should think carefully of how broadly we want to apply those standards to artists who came before us. Otherwise, we risk erasing the past.”