By Danzil Monk
(This article was originally published in 2016)
Once again the act of peaceful protest by an African American against America’s history of disrespect and injustice towards African Americans has sparked and outcry of mostly White protest and a plethora of knee-jerk comments and rants that hold little to no intellectual value. San Francisco 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand during the singing of the Star Spangled Banner-National Anthem is the focus of the latest debate. It is the buzz over the Internet, social media and news and was the opening topic of the ESPN His & Her TV show on Aug. 30, 2016.
The phenomena of many irrational White objections and rants on such issues is one that would make for a useful research project by an honest Caucasian whose area of expertise is in research. It would surely produce some much needed psychological analysis of the “Caucasian in denial’s” mentality concerning the established guilt of White leaders of our nation throughout our nation’s history. 
Any Caucasian who habitually shifts the focus from the issue of White injustice towards Blacks in our Country, to black guilt for daring to address it or speak out against it, (or to Will Cain’s foolishly argued, “not give sufficient details of the complaint”), or to some other guilt of Blacks that does not and cannot justify the evils that White American leadership has perpetrated against the Black population of America throughout our history, and still does, needs to be psychoanalyzed, intellectually scrutinized and verbally rebuked.
The show opens with the comments of three White athletes, John Isner, Drew Brees and Jim Harbaugh, all of whom foolishly objected to Colin’s “method” of protest as if they had a right to decide what nonviolent “method” a Black person should use to make their point. This is an example of the irrational audacity “some” Whites suffer from.
Neither of these White men expressed any knowledge of the history of the Anthem or why they felt Colin’s action was disrespectful based on that history. Yet all of them were offended by his refusal to stand, considering the act disrespectful towards our Country, our Flag and our Veterans who died or suffered defending our Nation. But it never seems to dawn on such people that not standing would also show respect for those Black Americans who fought and died or suffered abused by American Whites while seeking freedom and justice for their people. The poor intellectual vision many Whites, (certainly not all), seem to have on this matter is daunting and needs to be fully investigated, mass publicized and strongly rebuked by people of all ethnicities.
But the worst offender was fill-in Co-host Mr. Will Cain, a White male, who irrationally argued against his Co-host Miss Kate Fagan’s rational observations on the matter. Yet not once in the entire show did Mr. Cain indicate that he had any knowledge about the history of the anthem. I will not repeat any more of his comments here but I encourage you to watch the show via the link provided here and see for yourself how adamantly and shamelessly he rejects logic. ESPN His & Her TV show on Aug. 30, 2016.
As for Colin, granted, Colin himself may well have misunderstood, been misinformed about or even been ignorant of the history of the Anthem, most people are, but he had every right to act in the manner he did on his convictions about this nation’s failure to live up to their obligation to treat Black people with respect.
The issue was not simply the anthem, but America and it’s unacceptably harsh relationship with Black Americans. And any Caucasian who fails to respect that truth needs to be corrected. Mr. Will Cain is unfortunately typical of many White’s denial and disrespect towards the issue as can be seen by tuning into just about any White news media. I found it difficult to listen to Mr. Cain’s attempt to sound intelligent.
But to be fair, and balanced, it must be acknowledge that some Blacks are just as guilty of speaking out of line and off point.
Many Blacks are just as guilty of misinformation and denial
One would think that with all of the misrepresentation, misinformation and out right disrespect that Blacks have suffered at the hands of Whites who had and have little or no respect for honesty, or even balance on the issue of White injustices to Blacks, that Blacks, endeavoring to address the issues, would be careful to maintain a level of integrity that would by example teach Whites who suffer from a lack of intellectual integrity when it comes to this matter. But in far too many cases, this is not the reality.
Far too often, there are “some” Black thinkers, writers, reporters, bloggers, newscasters etc. who are just as eager to “stick it to White people”, as some Whites are to stick it to us, by twisting, exaggerating or even fabricating some of the facts in an attempt to force Whites to face the guilt of their history.
This is a tragedy, because each time it is done and can be accurately established, it distracts from the issue and helps to hinder resolution.
An example is the manner in which Some Blacks address the Star Spangled Banner as a “racist” or evil, violent song without even attempting to understand it’s history, other than the negative slant given by those who are more interested in condemning it and its author than accurately understanding it or it’s history.
Some of the offenders are Mr. Shaun King, of the New York Daily News and Black Lives Matter Activist (Aug. 29, 2016), who proclaimed “I will never stand again for ‘the Star Spangled Banner’”, and referred to its author Francis Scott Key as “a terrible human being”.
Yet nowhere in the news article did he attempt to establish intelligent justification for his accusations.
Likewise, Mr. Jason Johnson, the political editor at The ROOT and a professor of political science at Morgan State’s School of Global Journalism and communication, in his July 4, 2016 article “Star-Spangled Bigotry: The Hidden Racist History of the National Anthem” he states:
“It is one of the most racist, pro-slavery, anti-black songs in the American lexicon”.
Concerning Francis S. Key he said:
“He was, like most enlightened men at the time, not against slavery”
“with a few exceptions, was about as pro-slavery, anti-black and anti-abolitionist as you could get at the time”
These are strong accusations that are not substantiated by Mr. Jason in his article and clearly ignore aspects of Mr. Key’s life that would categorically seem to refute such charges.
Mr. Jason assumes that because Lieutenant Key and his troops suffered an embarrassing defeat at the hands of the All Black battalion of Colonial Marines on August 24, 1815 at the Battle of Bladensbug, that Mr. Key was so full of hate towards Blacks that when he saw the American troops withstand the British greatest effort to destroy Fort McHenry in Baltimore on Sept. 13, 1815, he was “inspired” to write the segment of the Star-Spangled Banner that mentions slaves, “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,” as a praise for “all” of their deaths.
Note Mr. Jason’s use of words:
“In other words, Key was saying that the blood of all the former slaves and “hirelings” on the battlefield will wash away the pollution of the British invaders. With Key still bitter that some black soldiers got the best of him a few weeks earlier, “The Star-Spangled Banner” is as much a patriotic song as it is a diss track to black people who had the audacity to fight for their freedom….”
Note that there is no indication that Jason differentiates between the Blacks who fought for the British and those who fought for America. In his mind they all seem to be the same group to Francis S. Key. I think that is illogical and misrepresenting of the facts.
Jason also suggested that the reader should watch a video made by Morehouse students. But the film does little to add light to the dilemma or justify Johnsons take on the Anthem. https://vimeo.com/166881889
Neither the film, or Mr. Jason Johnson, or Mr. Shaun King, or others I have read who reject the anthem and Francis Scott Key, seemed to be interested in being balance. None of them seemed to consider the fact that the mention of slaves in the third stanza of the anthem could not possibly have been a reference to “all” slaves because there were many slaves fighting on the side of America and who were indeed patriots. Therefore, to interpret the reference to slaves as an attack on all slaves, or as Key’s attitude about all slaves is to say the least, misrepresentation.
Additionally, Mr. Key, as a White patriot in that day had every right to feel betrayed by the Black slaves who defected to the British to fight against America, even though he may have ignored their legitimate reasons. Mr. Key was foolish not to acknowledge their just cause for defecting-to gain a freedom that America had not offered them- but as a patriot at war, Mr. Key was not reacting in any unnatural or evil manner. And to say that this made him some kind of ultra evil racist person is unreasonable and in fact irrational.
Mr. Mark Clague’s piece “‘Star Spangled Banner’ critics miss the point” provides a more balanced perspective and seriously attempts to establish the non anti-Black nature of the anthem and Mr. Key. He correctly states:
“related claims about the song and its author as especially racist have been distorted and exaggerated”.
He further correctly interprets that notorious slave section of the anthem:
"The Star-Spangled Banner" in no way glorifies or celebrates slavery. The middle two verses of Key's lyric vilify the British enemy in the War of 1812, what Key refers to in Verse 3 as "hirelings and slaves." This enemy included both whites and blacks, largely British professional soldiers (hirelings) but also the Corps of Colonial Marines (slaves). The Colonial Marines were escaped Black American slaves who joined British forces because of the promise of freedom in return for fighting their former masters.”
So the slave reference was indeed clearly a reference solely to the Black slaves who defected to the British, and not “all” Black slaves. Clague further explains:
“For Key, however, the British mercenaries were scoundrels and the Colonial Marines were traitors who threatened to spark a national insurrection.”
This is a reasonable assessment of the statement and does not require a blanket anti-slave interpretation. Note the following:
“…in 1814 Key's lyric honored American soldiers both black and white. "The Star-Spangled Banner" celebrates the heroes who defended Fort McHenry in the face of almost certain defeat against the most powerful gunships of the era. America's soldiers included mainly whites, but also free and escaped blacks. Escaped slave William Williams served in the US infantry at Fort McHenry and was killed by a fragment of a British bomb. Another escaped slave, Charles Ball, writes in his memoirs of being among the American soldiers of the Chesapeake Bay Flotilla who courageously repelled a night attack and saved the city. "The Star-Spangled Banner" thus honors American military heroes, Black and White, without regard to race. In this respect, "The Star-Spangled Banner" is not racist.”
This is important as I suggested earlier, Black slaves were also fighting for America and were just as celebrated in that anthem, even if that was not Mr. Key’s intention, (and there seems to be no evidence to prove it was not), it would still be the fact. And any suggestion that Black slaves who fought on the side of America, are not included in the praise of our soldiers, and are not excluded from the condemnation of Black defectors in the Star Spangled Banner, in my opinion is disrespectful and counter effective in any attempt to call attention to White injustice to Blacks.
Clague’s provision of other rarely mentioned points further demonstrates that Mr. Francis Scott Key may not have been as anti-Black as some would like to make him. Clague continued:
“Key was not an abolitionist, yet he was not an ardent supporter of slavery either and is better understood as one dedicated to ending slavery.
Key freed four of his slaves in 1842. To one, Clem Johnson, Key offered to provide a "home until his death." As a founder and officer of the American Colonization Society (1816--1964), Key viewed slavery as a moral wrong that required a solution.
Rather than abolish slavery, however, the society purchased slaves and offered them passage to Africa.… The group struggled, never receiving government support, and its often troubled African settlement eventually became the independent nation of Liberia in 1847.
Key is complicit to the extent that he was a pragmatist, who, like nearly all of America's founders and early leaders, inexcusably put the prevailing social order ahead of universal human freedom. In the context of his era, however, Francis Scott Key was surprisingly progressive.
During Key's day, Washington was a bustling capitol of a new nation that hosted both a thriving commercial slave market that traded enslaved black people as commodities as well as the largest community of free Blacks in the United States. To serve this community, Key helped establish the Georgetown Lancaster School for freed people of color and even taught there. Over 1,000 Black children were students at the school, and most attended tuition-free.”
If true, this does not seem to me to be a person who hated all Black slaves. And anyone attempting to establish an anti-Black slave perspective of the American National Anthem should at least engage this type of information. Clague further states:
“As detailed in Marc Leepson's recent biography, Key put his skills and reputation as a lawyer at the service of blacks suing for freedom, most notably in an 1825 case of the slave ship Antelope (a precursor of the Amistad). Speaking to the US Supreme Court, Key described the treatment of slaves as "extreme cruelty" and slaves as "unhappy victims." Key said that those aboard the ship "are men, of whom it cannot be affirmed that they have universally and necessarily an owner."
Again, this is not an act of a Black hating-American White patriot, who delighted in the death of all black slaves, especially when Francis Scott Key was known for defending Black slaves in court. Says Clague:
“…Key won the freedom of Harry Quando in 1830 and Joseph Crawford in 1834. Typically, he undertook these cases gratis, without expectation or potential for payment of legal fees. Key even led a fundraising effort to help defend a man, woman and child represented by an abolitionist lawyer.
On the other hand, Key also represented slave owners as clients suing in court for the return of their then-legal "property." In Key's professional career, the matter often seemed a legal one. Those illegally enslaved should be freed. Those legally slaves had to be freed by their owners voluntarily or purchased and released from bondage. Any moral objections Key had against slavery were often shamefully set aside at times in his legal practice.”
So while Key was not the most upstanding White patriot in those days, he certainly did not qualify as a terrible Black slave hating person.
Mr. Clague continued:
“Thus, it is remarkable that the fourth verse of "The Star-Spangled Banner" begins with this opening line: "O thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand between their loved home and the war's desolation." When Key used the word "freemen," he used a legal term encompassing any man who was free, that is both blacks and whites. As a lawyer, Key used language precisely.
It is thus my belief that "The Star-Spangled Banner" encompasses all Americans; not only is Key's use of the word "freemen" surprisingly inclusive, but because nation and song have both changed — if imperfectly — since it was written. As our nation's anthem, it can and should be sung by any and all for everyone.”
This is my conclusion as well, and we must all strive to be as accurate as possible when commenting on such matters, and be willing to accept credible correction. There is far too much misinformation being propagated by those who simply follow the lead of their groups thinking, with no concern for truth and accuracy. This is a major tragedy in our society, and it is contributing to the deterioration of our nation. And there are forces among us who have the destruction of our nation as their goal, people who are instigating this deterioration. We should not be a part of that agenda.
What About the claim that the Star Spangled Banner promotes killing
But what about the claim that the Star Spangled Banner glories in killing, because it speak about bombs bursting in air and rocks red glair?
I think that is an unfair analysis of the song that transposes back into the past, current attitudes that were not there.
It also unfairly condemns the justified battle against slavery and other evils that the Americas were fighting against, a battle that they were forced to fight by the British.
Would such people condemn Moses and the children of Israel for the song they sang about the Egyptians being destroyed in the red sea? Exodus 15:1,3-10,12, 20-21.
Besides, “the rockets red glair” and “the bombs bursting in air” were not praise for the killing of their enemies, it was a poetic claim that the lights from the rocks and bombs allowed them to see that the American flag was still there, indicating that they had not been defeated but were still in control of the area.
While no one would deny that those were difficult times of inhumane battles and death, it is hardly fair to condemn America for fighting for their freedom and writing and singing songs about their struggles and victories. But those who are unwilling or too busy to at least make the effort to gather sufficient information on a subject before they publicly expound their convictions about it, are not being wise, and they only contribute to the propagation of misinformation.
There is plenty of injustice and evil that can be justly be talked about and spoken against. But to inaccurately apply evil and wrong to those who do not necessarily deserve it, is unfair to say the least.
Is the Star Spangled Banner and occult symbols on the back of the American legal tender called a dollar bill proof that we were never a Christian nation?
While I am on this subject, I may as well address another unfair accusation that seems to have garnered much support. Although it is clear that our National Anthem is not necessarily a “racist” song as I have attempted to demonstrate, our Christian history as a nation does seem to be plagued by what seems to be cultist imagery on our legal tender bill called the “dollar”.
While non-Christian elements seems to have been a part of our early history, that does not change the fact that many of our founding fathers were indeed Bible believing Christian, who did indeed incorporate the Bible and many biblical principles and teachings into our Constitution and other founding documents. Our history and early culture is clear evidence of the Bible’s influence in our nation.
David Barton does a fine job establishing the Christian heritage of America on his web site thewallbuilders.com.
It is my hope that this article has not offended those of you (Black or White) who have been determined to make White America acknowledge and feel guilty for their history of evil against Black Americans. Since there is plenty of evidence that can be sufficiently substantiated to establish that guilt, there is no need to fabricate lies or spread misinformation.
I would also like to remind you that White prejudice is not the only reality of human evil. But that every ethnicity has been and is guilty of some kind of evil against other ethnicities. If the truth be told, this is a human sin issue and we all have to bear our guilt and repent of it.
 I know that such work has been done by Black thinkers, but I am not aware of an honest White report on the issue, I welcome suggestions.