One of my favorite baseball traditions is the seventh-inning stretch and the singing of “God Bless America.” The tradition of singing “God Bless America”
began after 9/11. The Washington Times reported yesterday that the New York Yankees will no longer play the recording of Kate Smith singing the song. Now I will admit that having lived in Massachusetts for thirty-five years, I really don’t care what the Yankees do, but this is just political correctness run amok.
The article reports:
Not because anyone has complained that the song is racist, but because Smith recorded other racially insensitive standards from and during the Jim Crow era.
The Yankees pulled Smith’s “God Bless America” from the rotation at the start of the season, but the New York Daily News reported the reason Thursday — “the Yankees were made aware of Smith’s history of potential racism.”
So can’t they get anyone else to record the song?
The article states:
“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,” a club spokesman said. “The Yankees take social, racial and cultural insensitivities very seriously. And while no final conclusions have been made, we are erring on the side of sensitivity.”
This is another example of judging history by the standards of today. There were a lot of things that have happened in the past that were not noteworthy at the time that are being taken out of context in hindsight. In order to truly evaluate history, you need to immerse yourself in the culture of the time you are studying. Insensitivity is not a crime–insensitivity in the past was not even considered insensitivity because there weren’t so many people running around being professional victims.
Keep the song. Let someone else sing it if you have to. Don’t end an American tradition because of political correctness.