Is the National Anthem racist?

Is the National Anthem racist?
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So this guy is a football player – I’m
told. I’m not a sports guy. And he’s been making a lot of headlines by refusing to
stand during the National Anthem. In interviews he said the protest is to
take a stand against police brutality. Is he right? Is he wrong? We’re not getting
into that. But a few days into that controversy an article started getting
passed around on Facebook that sparked a separate controversy over whether the

Star-Spangled Banner is racist. The article, written by Josh Schwartz for the
Intercept.com points specifically to this line: “No refuge could save the
hireling and slave from the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave.” Now if
you’re saying to yourself, ‘I’ve heard the National Anthem before and I don’t
remember there being a bit about slaves,’ that’s because what we think of is the
National Anthem is actually only the first verse of the National Anthem the
National Anthem is actually four verses long based on a poem written by Francis
Scott Key called the Star-Spangled Banner. The rest of the poem is largely
about the American flag flying over a fort after a battle, and using that image
as a symbol for the resilience of the United States of America. So why does the
poem stop to take a hard left turn and do a quick touchdown dance around the
idea of running down in murdering slaves? For some context we’ll have to explain a
little bit about what was happening at the time. The poem the Star-Spangled
Banner was written during the War of 1812, or his most history classes
billed it, the Revolutionary War part Two: This Time the Reasons are Murkier. The
U.S. said it was started because Britain kept harassing their ships and trying to
impose trade restrictions. Britain says it was started because the U.S. wanted
to make a land grab for their colonies in what is now Canada either way in July
of 1812 the U.S. declared war and Britain was not prepared for this. While
they had some troops to defend their colonies in North America, the bulk of
their force was spread halfway across the world engaged in a battle with this
guy. Since that wasn’t going away for a few years, Britain bolstered their North
American force by basically teaming up with anyone who had a beef against the U.S. That includes militias from their northern colonies, Native American, or
even using impressment which is basically capturing Americans and
forcing them to fight for the crown. And British forces quickly realized another
group of Americans that might have a pretty good reason to want to defect –
Slaves. So as British ships raided U.S. towns they basically put out the word
that any slave that made it into British hands would be free men. And they kept
their word. Thousands of slaves escaped and were resettled in
British territories and a few hundred even agreed to join the fight
against the US. By 1814 things were going relatively well for Britain. British
forces managed to get all the way to Washington and burn the White House to
the ground but when they made their big push for Baltimore there was a hiccup.
The British fleet attempted to barrage Fort McHenry and the fort held. That bought the
people of Baltimore enough time to set up defenses for the British attack.
Francis Scott Key bore witness to the battle. He was being held on a British
ship negotiating for the release of American prisoners. Once he was released
he wrote the Star-Spangled Banner based on what he’d seen during the battle. The
bit about the hirelings and slaves was sort of talking smack about how the
people who teamed up with the enemy got beat down. So there’s almost certainly a
racist component but only going to jab about how you beat someone down for
having the audacity to not wanting to be owned by you certainly isn’t great.
Unfortunately if you put even a shallow amount of research into early American history
you’re going to find a lot of people who are racist, because back then most people
were crazy racist. Francis Scott Key, the author of the poem, was also a prosecutor
who tried to get a guy hanged for having in his possession a pamphlet that said
maybe enslaving human beings isn’t the best thing in the world. I’m sure I’m not
the first person to tell you this but the authors of the Constitution were
mostly slave owners. I mean the guy who wrote the Pledge of Allegiance also
wrote a little piece about the dangers of mixing with quote, ‘the inferior
races.’ These guys were alive in the slave-owning United States. That’s the
culture you’re pulling from. So there’s your answer. Is a National Anthem racist?
The poem it was based on does have a racist component to it because
everything back then did. Kind of a down note to end on. I’m Jonathan Sobolewski for AL.com.

100 thoughts on “Is the National Anthem racist?

  1. I thought America was supposed to be the land of the free.
    If you're free surely you can have your own opinions on things.
    I'm sorry but some Americans seem brain washed like as if you criticise your own country it's in patriotic.
    It's nothing to do with how patriotic you are it's to do with right and wrong.
    Once again it's the racists trying to divide by saying Colin is unpatriotic

  2. The stupidity going around is killing my brain cells. People tell me that "oh well white people own slaves and that makes ALL Whites racist". Guess what, what about the Islamic slave trade where thousands maybe more of WHITE PEOPLE were enslaved. It was much more harsh and lasted way longer. Not to mention, us white men (well not this generation but yknow the ones back then) were the first to end slavery. Give me a fucking break.

  3. The poem Francis Scott Key wrote is called 'The Defense of Fort McHenry" not the Star Spangled Banner. When Slaves came to America with the colonists, they were considered indentured servants, meaning they worked and became free and owned land, that was because the colonies (owned by Britain) didn't have slave laws. Then that changed. In 1777 Vermont was the first to free slaves (not Britain). Britain told their commanders not to take too many salves because if word got out to other places their slaves might revolt. If the British won, all the African Americans would become slaves, even those already free. I n 1812 there were already free African Americans. Additionally, if the Founding Fathers released their slaves, those people wouldn't be free. This video is misleading. Wonder why Colin Kaepernick wants everyone to believe that the Africans Americans fought for Americans freedom and were called heroes by Americans? Is he racists? 
    http://www.pbs.org/wned/war-of-1812/essays/black-soldier-and-sailors-war/ http://www.pbs.org/opb/historydetectives/feature/indentured-servants-in-the-us
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_of_1812
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Scott_Key
    https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-slavery/chronology-who-banned-slavery-when-idUSL1561464920070322

  4. Land of the free if you're white and home of the people who can't fight so use drones to murder people from thousands of miles away

  5. Love how you didn't really answer the question but instead say "Does it have racist components? Yes. But everything did back then." THAT DOES NOT MAKE IT OK or negate from the fact that IT INDEED IS RACIST. So your answer should have been "Yes it is racist, but just about everything was".

  6. Thos black ppl cant be mad at us bc it was not r fault it was the ppl in the 1700s and half of black ppl when they here the word slave the first thing that pops up in their head is black people getting beat it was not just black people there was white people that were slaves to it wasn't just America it was other countries to like England Russia

  7. No. I think you are wrong. Hirelings and slaves are much more generic and have nothing to do with race. The notion in the poem has to do with impressment. The British Navy (who were the force being met) were either hirelings or impressed men (slaves). The idea is that the British were not free men. American slaves (blacks) who fought for the British would have been seen in that context. What modern left racist bias fails to understand is that there were many black slaves fighting for the US. This isn't because they were stupid but they were part of a culture that had indenture for whites (and indians are a whole nother story). They had families, wives and children and considered themselves black, somewhat christian, virginian or marylander or whatever, but American. Blacks were no less opposed to the tyranny of foreign royalty than whites and as slavery was, at that time, being abolished in the North they had good reason to support the American idea. The facts about beliefs at the time that you point out are true, but they unfortunately play into a modern propaganda narrative that does a disservice to truth.

  8. I am a Kenyan but I would like to ask every American to listen or read the 3rd stanza of the American National Anthem before commenting… No black person should stand when the American National Anthem is sang….

  9. Racism is a made up term for people who have unhealthy instincts and their opinions to be seen as normal. If you think it’s bad now just wait until America turns into a third world Brazil.

  10. It is not , these Blacks have to accept history !!! They dont like it they can pack their bags and go back from where roots are from and leave this country!!!!

  11. Before watching this or any other video about the Star Spangled Banner, I've always changed the wording to be truthfully accurate. The correct wording is 'For the land of the Unfree, and the home of the Slaves,' After all America is built because of slavery and oppression, just look at what has happened to all of the Native American tribes alone throughout history!

  12. No it’s NOT racist you can for real kiss my fat black ass if you think it’s racist. Ur buggin if you think it’s racist you fuckin loser

  13. Awesome conclusion.
    We really should follow what our Founding Fathers said, and not falter based on what they did.
    Everything they have said, has led to Women Voting, People of Color Voting, and many more expanded Rights.
    But the current trend to denigrate the Founding Fathers is a dangerous slope that could erase all Rights.

  14. If everything back then had a racist component then why are you down playing truth and fact. This video you worked so hard on is basically saying yes the star spangled banner is racist but who cares you black people. Might as well say being racist towards blacks is OK.

  15. Idk what black people have to do with the national anthem? I will never serve a white man or Satanist for that matter, my knee only bows to Yahweh.

  16. Honestly, I don't know what we as a country can really do to apologize for The National Anthem. My guess is that someone of high power could cut that part out, and apologize for how it was wrong, but I don't know. Basically, it was the time, and we've evolved from that way of thinking.

  17. The Star Spangled Banner is offensive to most Black people whom are aware of its "context" and the author's general views towards Black people. Do white people understand why Christopher Columbus is so offensive to native American Indians ? The SSB has been rejected by blacks from since it was made the official national anthem in the 1930s. The renown Black sports star Jackie Robinson hated the anthem among many other famous black figures in the mid 1900s. They all understood what it meant back then which has remained unchanged. Call it the Black Archives. The Corps of Colonial Marines whom were African American ex-slaves are heroes . They were "BRAVE" to escape from their oppressors in order to fight against them for their "FREEDOM" by joining the side of the British (the enemy of my enemy is my friend). Saying they were traitors or "switched sides" is preposterous. There were never on the "Slave America" side in the first place as for centuries they have been seeking opportunities and means to "escape". Keep in mind Black people didn't migrate to America, they were imported ie kidnapped and imprisoned. The SBB directly referenced these ex-slaves (CCM) and rejoiced in their deaths when their cause was fighting for their "FREEDOM". What many white people do not get is the 1812 – 1814 war was caused by the Slave Trade Abolition act of 1807 that abolished slave trading (importing and exporting) and America wanted to "preserve" importing slave trading which lead to British ships attacking American ships cause they were violating international law. All this is what gave birth to the Star Spangled Banner and this is what some white people are defending . The American side was fighting to preserve slavery in the cause of freedom and the other side was fighting to abolish slavery to gain freedom. There is no patriotism in wrong, wrong is wrong.

  18. Of course it's racist. Anything that doesn't kiss their black asses is racist. Maybe if they modified it to a Rap version he might not only stand but he might even dance. You have to remember that they also consider peanut butter sandwiches and the sun to be racist.

  19. All that verse meant was he was just speaking the truth hirelings and slaves were used to potentially bring down the new nation at that time. That does not make the song racist. Sorry.

  20. The truth is that this conversation will NEVER end until this country acknowledges its terrible past and present treatment of black people.

  21. The hireling and slave part was directed about sailors impressed into military service by the British. People forget that the "old english" was not to be taken straightforward.

  22. I've read all the verses to the National Anthem, I think when they use the word slave, they mean: Being a slave to England…

  23. The fact that it mentions both the hireling and the slave demonstrates that it's not racist. People who were presumably white and people who were presumably black were treated with the same homicidal taunt.

  24. how free can America be if the people that started it were all slave owners? Every nation is about the wealthy and powerful enslaving the poor in some way. The US is no exception, unless you're a fool.

  25. It is a shame that this was started by a spoiled brat, son of a black sperm donor who disappeared , and cracked out white woman, who gave him away to a California couple, and who was raised by the same self hating liberal white people who taught him to hate this country.

  26. Maybe that’s why they only sing the first verse. No one really knows the rest. Maybe they don’t sing the rest because they rest isn’t relevant.
    I don’t know why everyone’s all of sudden wanting to change everything and go against the anthem and flag. If you don’t want to to stand for the flag or listen to the national anthem and respect this country then you should go to a different country.

  27. Kaepernick, not his real name, as if he actually knows who his sperm doner was, this person is, like obama, a person who hates his white half

  28. To express favor or disfavor toward any human being based on race alone, is racist in itself. What's right is right, and what's wrong is wrong regardless of your race, nationality, or outlook! To provide benefits or allowances to some while denying others based on race alone, monetarily or lawfully, is racist in itself. To take away the earned benefits of some in order to reward those who fail to deserve the same benefits due to lacking the effort to maintain said equality, esp. based on race alone, is extremely racist in itself. In fact, you must otherwise call such discrimination slavery.

    Okay. If the anthem represents the flag, and the flag represents America as a Whole Nation. And, If the military and police are obligated by oath to defend the freedoms that this symbol represents, to protect and serve every citizen based on laws that are meant to protect Every Law abiding citizen from violent forces foreign or domestic, regardless of race or nationality, Then How can YOUR refusal to acknowledge a symbol that is meant to REPRESENT said rights in America also serve to support your cause, Unless you are against said cause? Or in other words, Contrary to it? ✔

    This isn't the Confederate states, Is it? Of course, in order to succeed as a Nation, we must all leave any past history of hatred behind, concerning anything that our relatives had anything to do with in the past!! Why? Because, If we were to measure the guilt of any one related to us past or present based on any family tree or by race, religion, or continent alone who ever did anything wrong throughout time, Then we are all guilty and in debt!!!

    But the future is now!! I think it's time for humanity to come full-circle, combine our strengths, and support each other under the True God. And Who is this God? God is Love!!! And Jesus is the Way, The Truth, and the Life Eternal. Or, Would you rather I Lied? And what is the path to peace, Really? I can tell you now. The answer is so simple : Agreement.

    Because there is No other cause for War or Conflict than Disagreement!! And there is No greater cause for disagreement than a lack of concern or love for others combined with so many selfishly resolved sentiments among those so hatefully absorbed and self-centered by a LUST for self to prosper by oppressing others…

    Prove me wrong?

    You can not.

  29. It is not racist at all. Key was simply saying that anyone who fights on the side of the British isn't safe. He mentions hirelings in the same sentence as slaves. As if to say that they are equally not going to find refuge. Let's also not forget the even lesser known fifth stanza. That was unofficially added during the Civil war. And written by Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. "When our land is illumined with liberty's smile. If a foe from within strike a blow at her glory. Down down with the traitor that dares to defile. The flag of her stars and the page of her story. By the millions unchained who our birthright have gained. We will keep her bright blazon forever unstained. While the land of the free is the home of the brave". That doesn't sound very racist to me at all.

  30. Yes The Star Spangled Banner Is Taken From A Racist Poem. Because America Is The Most Racist Place On Earth. #StarSpangledBannerFromRacistPoem

  31. the anthem isn't racist. stop tearing apart all the good that made America great. stop judging the past based on standards of today. that states what slaves went through not supporting it and it's poetry not suppose to spoon feed you what you believe. I have been explaining this for decades.

  32. 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.

  33. The British were turning against slavery by the time 1812 came along. Was abolished throughout the Empire by 1833. Was never really a thing in Canada (British North America). Pledge of Allegiance came well after the civil war.

  34. The song is racist. Everyone in America here went to the same public "factory" schools and had to stand for it every day, only some people were smart enough to question it. It's getting too late to leave now that the wall will come up to prevent people from leaving.

  35. yes.. yes it was racially charged in some parts.. some parts have been omitted it's like listening to NWA on the radio.. (all the cuss/bad words bleeped out). many state songs are like that too obviously/especially in the south.

  36. Whether The Star Spangled Banner is racist or not, I don't think it's a good National Anthem for the U.S.A.. It should be America the Beautiful . Maybe, Americans will start loving their country again because of a song that describes our country's beauty and blessings… and not about war.

  37. In my school we were taught all the verses of what the original national anthem was and that is why we were taught why we don't accept the rest of the song but only the beginning verse is because of the fact that we do not condone slavery and instead We Stand United.
    If you think about it, in all actuality the national anthem was already edited and Rewritten so that we could only sing the part that we all agree about which is the part that mostly just talks about the flag and the stripes and the Stars.
    So technically the song has been improved already a long time ago when we dismissed the rest of the verses that were not likeable.

  38. The "slaves" were the "native Americans (indigenous)". You said slaves in conjunction with Native Americans as if the slaves came from somewhere else other than America.

    The African American is the European born in Africa who migrated to the United States, Inc. after the native South Africans ran them off.

  39. When I first read the meaning behind this great song I cried, it is very inspiring and beautiful! You should of said what all of it means this isn't what this song is about!
    United We Stand Divided We Fall!
    G-d Bless America! 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸
    THE LAND OF THE FREE!!!

  40. This is a actually done pretty well. But this is wrong. The third verse is talking about a conversation Keyes had with a british commander aboard a ship during the assault on fort mchenry. Which is why the verse starts out "And where is that band who so vauntingly swore." And it was speaking of the british commander saying that the hirings and slaves fighting for America had no refuge. No doubt there were racists back then and still now. But this wasnt racist.

  41. Hello all I'm from Afghanistan, as long as you thing Afghanistan is a poor country corrupted war zoon in the whole world., good thing we dont have racist people which is that make what colour where are you from and what you do as long as you dont do wrong thing, after long time ago what was white people to wards black people in America 1948 as slavery that was make every one hart broking, in this day as my understanding still thier are racist people in this world every where, look at the other day in POLAND  thats small country large population they dont like black mainly and other population. when do you thing will stop this and why still going on?. as long as I understand no mater who you are we all the same human and the same blood in this planet. please teach your children good thing to understand about all this.
    Show less

  42. Racists In Comments Section…
    America Has Been A RACISTS Society For 400 Years… Racists It's Your History…((Own It))…Pay Slavery REPARATIONS.

  43. Everything’s fucking racist nowadays. A bunch of fucking over educatated college kids talking about what’s “racist” and what’s non racist… shit they learned from there socialist bitch teacher .Why don’t people just be glad they aren’t living in a country that forces them into service or real slavery everyone wants a fucking free handout for something that happened years ago … that yes.. a shit ton of people died to abolish. Get off your computer at Starbucks. Finish your latte and stop being such a cunt about everything. ( my personal take on this topic, not directed towards the man that made the video).

  44. I mean like if it's the Korean Anthem is racist because it talks about the Korean people could only support their country but not the whites and the blacks

  45. You gotta admit that Americans have a strange sense of patriotism.

    The National Anthem clearly has a racist remark even though we omit that verse and the guy who wrote it was a top notch racist, and the top of all that, we're singing it on a British drinking song.

    I know we have more talents than that.

  46. I would agree to disagree..
    The part we sing in The National Anthem is not racist, but maybe the full poem was, or at least racist content..

  47. America is not the place u think it is.
    I know because I live in America.
    The only way the slaves can be free was to join Britain or fight for their freedom in the war

  48. Another thing that is getting called racist again. People always find something to pitch a fucking baby fit over!!!

    Grow the fuck up!!!

  49. I don't care if it's so called revised the premsesis of it was racist fuck the anthem and fuck that sucky flag RBG red black green Marcus Garvey gave us Black people our own loving flag that does not promote racism

  50. First sentence….this guy is a football player or so im told….really dude? How ignorant are you? You can look up history but you cant look up whether someone who is famous plays football or not? Stop holding america back dude.

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