Bombs, Rockets… And Slaves? The Dark History Of The US National Anthem No One Taught You (VIDEO)

Colin Kaepernick Only Touches On Part Of The Problem When It Comes To The American National Anthem

To say that NFL football player Colin Kaepernick has created a bit of a messy firestorm for sitting out the national anthem is an understatement. But, his is a legit form of protest and that’s what America is about. And, he isn’t exactly wrong in his reasoning.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. … There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Fair enough. Kaepernick sees modern injustice, like unarmed black men being killed by the police, and has a problem with it. But, as several news outlets are pointing out today, the national anthem is actually a problematic song in itself.

As Jon Schwarz of The Interceptor states, the anthem has a racist history that shouldn’t be ignored.

“Almost no one seems to be aware that even if the US were a perfect country today, it would be bizarre to expect African-American players to stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Why? Because it literally celebrates the murder of African-Americans.”

Well, indeed. That would be a problem. Actually, that’s a big problem.

Now, the national anthem that most Americans know and love is only really sang with its first verse. But, deeper into the song, on the third verse, lies the issue.

“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.”

With no surprise, the man who wrote the national anthem, Francis Scott Key, was a racist slave owner who was not too keen on abolition. That is a bit of a problem in itself.

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CNN reports that the concerns over racism and injustice in America are not new, and other athletes have taken a stand in the past, including Jackie Robinson.

“I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag. I know that I am a black man in a white world.”

And, Kaepernick doesn’t seem to be alone in the desire to show a silent protest in the form of sitting out the national anthem, with fellow NFL-er Myke Tavarres saying he will follow suit, according to The Atlantic.

“We’ve got an issue in this country in this day and age, and I feel like somebody needs to step up and we all need to step up. We’ve got that right. There’s just a lot going on that people don’t want to talk about, and I feel like us as athletes, we’re looked at as role models.”

Of course, with so many Americans taking great pride in the flag and the national anthem, all of this isn’t going down well with some. But America is also a land of freedom, and freedom to protest is included.

Feature image by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images

 

Chris Hearn is an ageing freelance writer located in wintery Winnipeg. He is a stay-at-home-parent, amateur stand-up comedian, and a guy with a lot of opinions, much to everyone's dismay.