The NAACP has called for the US to scrap the “racist National Anthem” because “It’s racist. It doesn’t represent our community. It’s anti-black people.” Actually, Alice Hasson, it's a song. It can only “be” racist in the ears of those who listen to it.
If however, it doesn't represent black people, she is arguing that people should be represented. Well if the anthem is “a white song” then surely the majority white people in America also deserve to be represented. Don't they?
The call ostensibly comes from the lines:
“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.”
Hasson believes this refers to black slaves trying to break to freedom and that these lines glorify their deaths. Just a couple of points.
- This is completely open to interpretation. No scholars can definitively state that this is what the lines mean. It is”in the ear of the beholder.”
- Where does it mention that the slaves are black? I see no reference to their skin color. If it was, in fact, about what she infers, couldn't it have equally been about the Irish slaves?
Historical revisionism is wrong. Destroying artifacts of history is wrong. Why does she think we have memorials in the first place?
If you have ever visited the Holocaust museum in Washington DC, there is a powerful monument of a twisted and distorted Swastika. It is there to remind us of the past, “lest we forget.”
So even if the anthem does represent what she says, isn't it better that it stays in place as a reminder of how far we have come as a nation, and a reminder that we take seriously s we never forget?