Why the Star Spangled Banner is offensive

by Devin Francois

 

I remember in elementary school when every morning, we were told to stand for the National Anthem. As children, we never asked why we did that, nor did we care much to know but would eventually learn that we stood as a sign of respect and nationalism for our country – the United States. Every day we did this in ignorance and benighted to the actual meaning behind the words we recited with such false confidence. Elementary school was years ago, and at that time, not many children would have thought that someday there would be someone disobeying the ‘rules’ of standing for America’s theme song.

On August 26, 2016 the number seven (7) awed the crowd not by his astonishing athletic abilities, but by an extraordinary decision to kneel as the stadium stood for the National Anthem. Colin Kaepernick has explained that his reason is to protest racial injustice and police brutality in the United states. He refused to show pride for a country that oppresses black people and other people of color. He explained that by using the NFL as his platform gives him an opportunity to take a stand for people who don’t have such a voice. “I can’t stand for what it represents,” he explained, “When there is significant change, and I feel like that flag represents what it’s supposed to, then I’ll stand.”

“Would you ask a European Jew to stand for the singing of a Nazi national anthem? If a European Jew doesn’t stand for Hitler’s anthem, no black person should have to stand for the National Anthem sang in the United States,” says psychologist Dr. Umar Johnson. Dr. Johnson is a Certified School Psychologist who lectures throughout the country, and is what many people consider a black activist.

Francis Scott Key, author of the Star Spangled Banner once famously said that black folks were “…a distinct inferior race of people.” What many people don’t know is that the national anthem of America contains lyrics beyond the few regularly sang across the country. These arcane lyrics further Key’s opinion towards people of color.

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