California NAACP pushes for removal of ‘Star Spangled Banner’ as U.S. national anthem

The California chapter of the NAACP is distributing a resolution to California lawmakers that calls for the removal of the “Star Spangled Banner” as the official national anthem of the United States.
The resolution, which was passed at their October conference, urges Congress to do away with “one of the most racist, pro-slavery, anti-black songs in the American lexicon,” referencing the anthem.
“We owe a lot of it to [Colin] Kaepernick,” California NAACP President Alice Huffman reportedly said. “I think all this controversy about the knee will go away once the song is removed.”
The group argues that some of the lyrics of the 1812 song celebrate the death of black American slaves who fought with the British in the War of 1812 to obtain freedom.
Specifically, it’s the third stanza of the song that’s coming into focus:
“And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country, should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
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.”
“This song is wrong,” chapter president Alice Huffman told CBS station KOVR-TV. “It should never have been there, and just like we didn’t have it until 1931, it won’t kill us if it goes away.”
The Star-Spangled Banner has been America’s anthem since 1931.
Immediately, the proposal garnered a strong reaction.
“Our flag and national anthem unite us as Americans,” Assemblyman Travis Allen, R-Huntington Beach, who is running for governor, said in a statement. “Protesting our flag and national anthem sows division and disrespects the diverse Americans who have proudly fought and died for our country. Real social change can only happen if we work together as Americans first.”
Another resolution passed by the group urges Congress to censure President Trump for calling on owners to fire NFL players who kneel while the anthem is being played before games.
Trump said back in September at rally in Alabama that fans should “leave the stadium” as soon as players begin kneeling, in addition to using the phrase “son of a bitch” to describe players who don’t stand.
“For a week, [that owner would] be the most popular person in this country because that’s a total disrespect of our heritage,” the president argued. “That’s a total disrespect for everything we stand for.”
Kaepernick, 30, became the face of the anthem protests last season when he began sitting for the playing of the Star Spangled Banner to protest perceived racial injustices and police brutality. Later, he transitioned to kneeling.
The quarterback, who said in 2016 that he was “not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” is currently a free agent, but has said if signed, he will again stand.
While the anthem protests have had a polarizing effect on the league throughout this season, the NFL maintains that it’s crafting a solution to address the concerns of the players while not alienating the fan base. However, the league has not been specific on what measures will be taken.
As for what the NAACP wants as a replacement, the group says it must not be “another song that disenfranchises part of the American population.”

Tags assigned to this article:
NFLTravis AllenNAACPDonald TrumpColin Kaepernick

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