The California NAACP wants to get rid of The Star-Spangled Banner as our national anthem, calling it “racist” and “anti-black.”
Alice Huffman, the California NAACP’s president stated, “This song is wrong; it shouldn’t have been there, we didn’t have it ’til 1931, so it won’t kill us if it goes away.” Huffman said that the protests against the anthem started by former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick were launched with an intention that later got transformed; she stated, “The message got distorted, the real intentions got overlooked, it became something that’s dividing us, and I’m looking for something to bring us back together.”
Huffman said the protests against the anthem triggered her to examine all the lyrics of the anthem, including the stanzas not usually sung. She referred to the third stanza, commenting, “It’s racist; it doesn’t represent our community, it’s anti-black.”
The third stanza’s lyrics are as follows:
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Huffman noted that some people interpret that the lyrics celebrate the deaths of black American slaves who fought on the British side of the War of 1812 in order to gain their freedom.
Huffman protested, “This is not about the flag. We love the flag. This is about a song that should never have been the national anthem. This country is a country that has shared values, and the more we respect each other, the better off we’ll be as a country.”
Last week, the organization circulated two resolutions that passed at its state conference in October: one urged Congress to rescind “one of the most racist, pro-slavery, anti-black songs in the American lexicon” as the national anthem, and another stated the organization’s support of Kaepernick.
Huffman said, “We owe a lot of it to Kaepernick. I think all this controversy about the knee will go away once the song is removed.”
The California NAACP also wants Congress to censure President Donald Trump for his call to fire NFL players who did not stand for the anthem.
Francis Scott Key, who wrote the lyrics to The Star-Spangled Banner, had a mixed record on racial issues, but he is also the same man who donated his legal services to some African-Americans who were fighting for their freedom.