Yankees, Flyers dump Kate Smith's 'God Bless America' because she was a racist or something

The New York Yankees baseball team played a 1939 recording of Kate Smith's stirring rendition of Irving Berlin's "God Bless America" for 18 years during the 7th-inning stretch.  Similarly, the Philadelphia Flyers hockey club played Smith's paean to America before important games.  The song was a fan favorite and really got the stadiums rocking when it was played.

But Kate Smith lived in America before history began — a time before the civil rights movement changed America.  For racialists, American history began in the 1950s.  The time before that was the Dark Ages, and any history that happened needs to be disappeared down the rabbit hole.

The Yankees and Flyers were made aware (it's unclear by whom) that Kate Smith recorded some songs that no one would argue are not offensive and racist.  That is apparently enough to deep-six her rendition of "God Bless America" and erase Smith from history.

New York Post:

For 18 years, Yankee Stadium regularly used Kate Smith's 1939 recording of "God Bless America" in the middle of the seventh inning.  But they ditched it altogether this season, replacing Smith's rendition with different versions of the song.  Why?  As the Daily News learned, the Yankees were made aware of Smith's history of potential racism.

Smith was a famous singer before and during WWII who recorded the offensive jingle, "Pickaninny Heaven," which she directed at "colored children" who should fantasize about an amazing place with "great big watermelons," among other treats.  She shot a video for that song that takes place in an orphanage for black children, and much of the imagery is startlingly racist.  She also recorded, "That's Why Darkies Were Born," which included the lyrics, "Someone had to pick the cotton. ... That's why darkies were born."

Smith, who died in 1986, endorsed the "Mammy Doll" in 1939, which was based on a racist caricature of a black woman in the same vein as Aunt Jemima.  

The Flyers not only dropped the song, but dropped a black cloth over a statue of Kate Smith outside the arena where the hockey team plays.  The statue, dedicated to Smith in 1987, was an expression of just how much Flyers fans — and players — owed to Smith's rendition of the song.  It was as iconic a "fight song" for them as any in America. 

Are the songs racist?  Nauseatingly so.  But we live in an age where there is zero effort to judge a public figure on the totality of his life and not cherry pick faults and foibles that would — shockingly — make them more human.

Kate Smith raised huge amounts of money during World War II selling war bonds.  Does doing more than almost anyone else to defeat fascism count?  She traveled half a million miles in her lifetime to entertain and cheer up U.S. servicemen and women.  Do those good deeds even matter? 

To the racialist, no.  When you look at the entire world through the prism of race — and only race — you can pick and choose transgressions and sins from an American past where racism was casually and obscenely expressed.  It was a time when stereotypes were standard in popular culture. 

Kate Smith lived in this America.  She was a product of her surroundings.  There may have been some more enlightened folk who resisted the cultural stereotypes, but they were nearly invisible.  For Smith, I'm sure she saw herself as a tolerant person who didn't "hate" anyone.  Being in show business, she probably prided herself on having black friends.  But the times she lived in, her own personal beliefs, don't matter because she sang some songs with racist lyrics.

The racialist judges people from our history based on their attitudes — and ignorance — about race.  There is nothing to place on the scales when judging their lives other than how they viewed minorities.  Of course, this is moronic and myopic.  It is making stick figures of people from our past.

But that's the point, isn't it?  It is to diminish our national icons and American heroes that the racialists do this.  For those who respond like Pavlov's dog to the racist stimuli that could take an icon like Kate Smith and throw mud on her, the Yankees and Flyers are cowering.

Meanwhile, the racialists carve another notch in their belts as Kate Smith is laid low.

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