‘The Yankees take social, racial, and cultural insensitivities very seriously…’
(Lionel Parrott, Liberty Headlines) The New York Yankees have taken a “courageous” stand against racism by dropping a recording of Kate Smith’s “God Bless America” in the seventh inning.
And the Philadelphia Flyers have taken even bolder action … removing a statue of Smith from outside their arena!
Perhaps no vocalist was more identified with a professional sports team than Smith was with the Flyers, when her rendition of “God Bless America” was enthusiastically embraced by fans and she became a celebrated icon after she was well past the prime of her career.
The New York Daily News reported the Yankees were ditching the song after learning of the “potential racism” of Smith, who recorded the song in 1939.
Smith, whose fame peaked during World War II, once recorded a song “Pickaninny Heaven” about “colored children” who dream about a paradise full of giant watermelons. The video for the song also contained racist imagery.
Another of Smith’s songs was “That’s Why Darkies Were Born,” which is also racist. It contains the lyric: “Someone had to pick the cotton … That’s why darkies were born.”
The Daily News says the Yankees are currently investigating these claims.
“The Yankees have been made aware of a recording that had been previously unknown to us and decided to immediately and carefully review this new information,” said a Yankees spokesman. “The Yankees take social, racial, and cultural insensitivities very seriously.”
While the spokesman added that no definite conclusions had been made, they wanted to err on the side of “sensitivity.”
Some are willing to forgive Smith for some of her racial transgressions, noting that the 1930s were a different time. In addition, “That’s Why Darkies Were Born” was considered tongue-in-cheek and was recorded with a black artist.
In contrast to the Yankees, the Philadelphia Flyers aren’t taking any chances.
On Sunday, when most Americans were celebrating Easter, the team announced they had removed a statue of the singer from outside their arena, apparently to prevent any fans from seeing the statue and getting racist ideas in the future.
“While Kate Smith’s performance of ‘God Bless America’ cannot be erased from its place in Flyers history, that rendition will no longer be featured in our game presentations,” the team said in a statement.
“And to ensure the sentiments stirred this week are no longer echoed, earlier today we completed the removal of the Kate Smith statue from its former location outside of our arena.”
The news is yet another example of a massive corporation bowing to social justice politics.
And for Major League Baseball (MLB), it’s not the first time.
Last year they announced they were dropping “Chief Wahoo,” the mascot for the Cleveland Indians, because some found it offensive to Native Americans.