First off, the Star Spangled Banner was a poem that was written by Francis Scott Key. A poem, not a song. The poem didn’t become the “National Anthem” until 1931. That’s 117 years AFTER it was written in 1814. 117 years later. I really want to stress that point of 117 years for one purpose. That means that America had 117 to pick a National Anthem to represent the values and beliefs we try to portray to the rest of the world. But what does this country do instead? The same thing it does time and time again. The United States picks a song wrapped in anger, murder, racism, and slavery. What am I talking about? I’m glad you asked.
As I mentioned before, The Star Spangled Banner was written by Francis Scott Key. A lawyer in Maryland. He was an avid racist and came from a long line of slave owners. He himself owned people. His family got rich off the hands, feet, and backs of my African ancestors. When he was Attorney General, Francis savagely went after and prosecuted abolitionist and sent men to prison for writing and speaking out against slavery.
During a battle in in 1814, Francis was captured and held on a British Ship as a prisoner of war. He sat in his room looking out while the British kicked the Americans tales at Fort McHenry. It was at this time Key penned the poem which was originally titled The Defense of Fort McHenry. Put yourself in the mindset of someone who is now a POW. You think the words they’re writing are of love, beauty, or whatever else you think of when you hear it? Chances are very very slim that Francis was in a “happy place” when he started writing. So an angry, slave-owning, white supremacist writes a poem and what does the “Greatest Country In The World” do? Accept it as it’s national anthem. Par for the course in this great land. Since the United States of America has real problem with White-Washing history, let’s go the the third stanza of poem/song.
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.
What Key is doing with these lines is celebrating the murder of slaves and Africans who were fighting alongside the British Troops. Francis had been captured a few weeks earlier by an elite African American Fighters called The Corp of Colonial Marines. They released Key but he was captured again at Fort McHenry. In this fit of rage and resentment is when he wrote the poem. He was pissed that the British Army was hiring Africans in America and he was doubly pissed that these African units were kicking butt in battle. I’ve said it time and time again. Only in the United States of America do you see this celebration and idolization of people who are morally bankrupt. Most white people try to justify this crap all the time. “It’s how it was back in the day”, “It was normal for the times”, and other idiotic reasonings. You can never explain to me how someone who owned people, who beat people, who raped people, and who lynched/killed people is a good or moral person. No matter the times.
I understand if you feel a certain way about the National Anthem. It’s fine if you feel all patriotic. It’s great if it gives you goosebumps when you hear it. It’s beautiful if you even get emotional and shed a tear or two when it’s played. But this is what you need to understand…Because you see these American symbols one way, does not mean I have to see it that way. When I hear that song I hear pain. I hear ignorance. I hear a celebration of the murder and enslavement of my ancestors. I hear a country that could’ve picked a million other songs but chose this. But you want to know what I hear above all when the National Anthem is played? I hear a DISS TRACK. Yes, the song that you fake patriots and champions of equality love so dearly is nothing more than a diss song to black people in this country. Oh and let’s not forget the last line of the song. “O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.” This damn sure didn’t apply to my (African) people. The words Free and Black/African are a complete antithesis of one another. Go ahead and say something about the timeframe in which it was written again. I’ll just remind you that in 1931 when the song was made the National Anthem…Blacks weren’t free then either.
So you can have your song and all these other symbols of tragedy for members of the population. Stand all day long with your hand over your hearts and those tears in your eyes. Just leave me alone when you see me sitting or kneeling right next to you while it’s played. Of all the songs we could have to represent this nation…we get this one.