Both the New York Yankees (MLB) and the Philadelphia Flyers (NHL) have banned the Kate Smith recording of God Bless America. The reason? Back in the 1930s, she sang a different song with allegedly racist lyrics; however, that same song was sung by Paul Robeson, the African-American singer, actor, and political activist. See the WaPo story here.
Here’s a comment from a reader posted on the WaPo website:
I’m not a Flyers fan. I’m certainly not a Yankee fan. I’m not even much of a Kate Smith fan. But, boy, she could belt out “God Bless America.” And I am a fan of her rendition of that song. To call her a racist and insult her memory for a couple things she did almost 90 years ago, in a time way before everything everyone did was checked by the self appointed PC nobility, is totally ridiculous. The Yankees, Flyers, and anyone else who buys into this racism claim should, themselves, be branded as unjust defamers and cowards for their despicable actions.
The irony of condemning Kate Smith now is that the same crazy injustice was directed at Paul Robeson during the Red Scare that blacklisted many very talented people. I thought we had evolved beyond that kind of thinking . . .
(BTW, you may notice a future American president in the clip above.)
Perhaps the Yankees and Flyers will reconsider . . .