Several NBA teams have played what is known as the “negro national anthem” at games during Black History Month thanks in part to the urging of a retired Howard University professor. Eugene Williams, a 76-year-old retiree in Clinton, Maryland, has made it his goal to get professional and collegiate teams to play “Lift Every Voice and Sing” during February. He has been calling and writing teams for the past six months.The Washington Wizards became the fourth NBA team to play the song at a game, doing so during a timeout midway through the first quarter against the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night.
1 African Americans have a national anthem. It’s called “The Star Spangled Banner,” and is their national anthem because they are Americans.
2. The concept of a separate national anthem for blacks is divisive and offensive. When the song was written, in the midst of the Jim Crow era, that designation was meaningful and inspiring. Now it is destructive.
3. Or is the next step to have separate “national anthems” for all ethnic groups and races that are supposed to be part of a single, united nation and culture? Of course, we’ll also need a woman’s national anthem—“I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar”?—and a gay anthem—“I Am What I Am”? Someone had better write a trans anthem–“I Am What I Wasn’t”? The opening ceremonies before sporting events will take longer than the games themselves, but nobody will be left out, and that’s what matters, right?
4. Speaking of sports, all of Colin Kaepernick’s disciples swore that their “taking a knee” during—what is it, the white National Anthem?—“The Star Spangled Banner” weren’t protesting the anthem or intending disrespect. So we can assume that they would have also knelt during “the negro national anthem,” right? Sure they would.
5. I know, I know, it was “just” for Black History Month. The Ethics Alarms position is that segregated months are still a vestige of segregation, and an impediment to national unity and racial healing.
This episode proves it.