God Bless America? No, Please Don’t!

We live in a world that is almost too stupid for words. Here is the latest: the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Flyers have stopped playing Kate Smith’s iconic recording of “God Bless America.” Why? Because Smith recorded a couple of other songs, during the 1930s, that some liberals now consider objectionable. The Washington Post takes this idiocy seriously:

The voice of singer Kate Smith is rapidly disappearing from the world of professional sports. The New York Yankees reportedly confirmed Thursday that they were no longer playing Smith’s version of “God Bless America” during the seventh inning of home games, after the team learned of a Depression-era song she’d recorded that raised questions of possible racism. The Philadelphia Flyers followed suit Friday, distancing themselves from Smith by taking her famed rendition of “God Bless America” out of their playlist and covering a bronze statue of the singer near their arena as they investigate the matter.

Years ago, Kate Smith’s “God Bless America” was the Flyers’ good luck charm. Hence the statue of her, which has been weirdly covered:

The Yankees have been playing Smith’s “God Bless America” since 2001, but no longer. What’s the problem? Smith recorded a song in 1931 called “That’s Why Darkies Were Born.” Is that a racist song? Apparently not, since the Communist black activist Paul Robeson also recorded it. Here are the lyrics:

Someone had to pick the cotton
Someone had to plant the corn,
Someone had to slave and be able to sing
That’s why darkies were born.
Someone had to laugh at trouble
Though he was tired and worn,
Had to be contented with any old thing
That’s why darkies were born.

How racist can you get?

The whole controversy is, obviously, idiotic. Even if it were true that Kate Smith recorded a “racist” song by the standards of 80 years later–the other “questionable” song was part of a 1933 movie–that is an absurd reason to ban “God Bless America.” Who cares what other songs Smith sang?

The real objection, I think, is not to Kate Smith. It is to both God and America. Any time liberals can suppress references to either or both, they try to do so.

Notice: All comments are subject to moderation. Our comments are intended to be a forum for civil discourse bearing on the subject under discussion. Commenters who stray beyond the bounds of civility or employ what we deem gratuitous vulgarity in a comment — including, but not limited to, “s***,” “f***,” “a*******,” or one of their many variants — will be banned without further notice in the sole discretion of the site moderator.