A great message for Shannon Watts to push

From Shannon Watts’ Twitter:

Good ‘ol intersectional Shannon.  That’s what America needs more of, being told that our National Anthem is not radical enough or filled with self flagellating social justice.

From NPR:

Till Victory Is Won: The Staying Power Of ‘Lift Every Voice And Sing’

On the other hand, the song that theoretically should link all Americans together, “The Star Spangled Banner,” falls short of that goal according to Shana Redmond.

“The National Anthem, ‘The Star Spangled Banner,’ was missing something — was missing a radical history of inclusion, was missing an investment in radical visions of the future of equality, of parity,” she says. “‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’ became a counterpoint to those types of absences and elisions.”

The National Anthem is the Star Spangled Banner.  That is the first part of the poem Defence of Fort M’Henry by Francis Scott Key, set to music.  The poem was written in 1814 by Key as he watched the British shell the American fort.

Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

There is nothing about race or radical visions in this.  This is the story of early America.  A fledgling nation being attacked by a global super power, the British Empire, and defending itself and persevering.

This is a song of pride in an underdog nation, and the symbolism of the flag of the United State flying under relentless bombardment.

The beauty of our National Anthem is that it doesn’t draw on religious or ethnic unity, it is pride in the fortitude and resilience of America as symbolized by our flag.

“Lift Every Voice and Sing” was first performed in 1900, at a segregated school in Jacksonville, Fla., by a group of 500 children celebrating the anniversary of the birth of President Lincoln. The first verse opens with a command to optimism, praise and freedom:

Lift every voice and sing
Till earth and Heaven ring
Ring with the harmonies of liberty

The second verse reminds us to never forget the suffering and obstacles of the past:

Stony the road we trod
Bitter the chastening rod
Felt in the days when hope unborn had died

Pardon me, but that is a shitty National Anthem if it forces us to reflect on past injustices and oppression.  I don’t want to be made to feel guilty about slavery before a baseball game.

“Lift Every Voice and Sing” faded from popularity towards the end of the civil rights movement in favor of songs like “We Shall Overcome.” Askew says the song’s recognition as a black national anthem is actually one of the reasons it has moved in and out of favor.

“There were many African-Americans who were in conflict with that idea,” Askew says. “They were saying, ‘Well, if we have marched, and we have attained what we hope to be equality, we can’t have a black anthem. We need an anthem that links us all together.”

I agree.  Having a “black National Anthem” is very close to the idea of American ethno-nationalism and ethno-separatism.  The National Anthem is for white people, Lift Every Voice is for Black people, etc. and the result is that America balkanizes as each race has a different anthem.

No wonder this song is being brought back.  The Social Justice crowd wants ethno-separatism.  We see this in the call for POC only dorms and graduations.

A few years ago La Raza tried this with Nuestro Himno which was a sort-of translation of the Star Spangled Banner into Spanis.  The name, Nuestro Himno means “our anthem” separating it from the National Anthem, suggesting that Hispanics are somehow different and in need of their own Anthem that is not the National Anthem.

Shannon Watts pushing this idea that the National Anthem isn’t for black people and not inclusionary is affirming racist Social Justice segregation and ethno-nationalism.

You can’t hate the alt-right and neo-Nazis and support this without being a raging hypocrite. Which is exactly what Shannon Watts is.

4 Replies to “A great message for Shannon Watts to push”

  1. I always ask “if you want to propose a Black xyz, would you object to a White xyz”?
    This test was applied nicely in the recent Sarah Jeong debacle.

  2. On another note (*ahem*), I would like to point out that the tempo of the Star Spangled Banner, once the poem was set to music, was very lively, like a marching tune. Nowadays, literally everybody who sings it at a baseball game or wherever, sings it very slowly, with a lot of a semi-operatic flourishes. NO! It is supposed to be uptempo! Imagine a regiment of militia, swinging along a road with shouldered muskets, belting out the words to the anthem!
    — Not some wannabe Vegas lounge singer who wants to emote every syllable.
    And yet, they all seem to do that.
    It’s disappointing.

    1. The NFL versions are particularly bad, but then again, you’d expect that.
      I don’t think of it as a marching tune, though. Unlike, say, the Battle Hymn of the Republic which clearly is. Or the Marseillaise — a nice rabble rousing song, that one. “Get your weapons, citizens! Let us march!”

      1. My favorite has always been the real words for Dixie:

        “Southerns,hear your country call you, up less worse than death befall you…”

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