Is It Time to Derail the P. C. (Politically Correct) Train?
So, Kate Smith is now politically incorrect?
Today I read an article which details how the Philadelphia Flyer hockey organization is removing their statue of Kate Smith, songstress of the all-time great song "God Bless America" due to her having recorded a song almost ninety (90) years ago entitled "That's Why Darkies Were Born".
A song which has been at the heart of America since it was recorded and released in 1939, has been played at sports arenas across the nation countless times, has been performed by Ms. Smith live innumerable times at gatherings which range from a few hundred to literally thousands live and millions on media now will no longer be played at the Flyers games nor the New York Yankees games due to her having recorded another, entirely different song which some people think reflected thoughts which were acceptable, if not proper in the era she lived and worked in decades ago and others see as a satirical song protesting racism. By the way, Kate wasn't the only person to record this song. Who else, you ask? Try Paul Robeson on for size. He recorded it at the same time as Kate, in 1931. Incidentally, Paul was a highly educated man with degrees from multiple colleges who was a voice for his race at a time when it was not popular to be as well as being a superb singer. Do you really believe he would sing a song such as this if he believed it was racist? Doubtful at best. For what its worth I still love his version of "Ol' Man River" from Showboat best.
The Politically Correct movement is reaching across the years to eliminate any possible hurt feelings to those who might be offended by these words and is erasing a great singer's work due to being guilty by association. Where will it end?
Am I wrong to compare this movement to the book burning movement which took place in the not too distant past?
Where do we go from here?
In the not too distant past noted chef and T.V. personality Paula Dean was lambasted for supposedly using a derogatory term some thirty years ago. Jimmy the Greek was fired from his job as a sportscaster several decades ago for comparing and explaining his thoughts on why the African American athlete was superior to the Caucasian athlete. Now we are going back to a time so long ago that there is virtually no person alive today who might actually remember the events when they took place, and we are presenting them to the current world in the here and now, intent on holding someone accountable for something which did not exist when they lived.
If people are willing to go back to the early part of the previous century and attempt to hold others accountable for something which was not accountable at the time, where will this accounting lead to next?
Will we step back a couple of decades from there and go after people in power at the end of the 19th century for the way they attempted to eliminate the Native American? After all, the U.S. Government attempted to perform genocide on an entire people just as Hitler attempted to do before and during WWII, and it is but a tick of time on the clock of American history to make the leap from the early 1930's back to the 1870's. Why are the American Indians not issuing a cry to these atrocities, and why is the media not fanning the flames of these crimes against humanity? And from there back only a decade to famed emancipator Abraham Lincoln and his attempt to eradicate the Native Americans in the southwest portion of the country by using methods people today would declare as barbaric, cruel and heartless as he directed his military, through Brig. Gen. James H. Carleton to Col. Christopher "Kit" Carson (yes, THAT Kit Carson) to use a scorched earth method of starving the Navajo people by killing their livestock, burning their fields and destroying their food stores which resulted in a large percentage of the tribe being killed and starved to death in the winter of 1863/4. Where are the people who demand justice for these people? Why is the Lincoln Memorial not being demonstrated at and torn down for his actions? After all, those actions would not be tolerated in today's world, right?
By the way, this is the same method utilized by Sherman on his March to the Sea which divided and began the destruction of the South during the Civil War. If Confederate statues are being torn down due to their offensiveness to today's America, how can Sherman be considered a hero for his brutality to the southern people? Not everyone owned slaves during this time frame yet Sherman knew no mercy as he killed, murdered, burned and pillaged his way across Georgia. After all, they were people too.
- Navajos Will Never Forget the 1864 Scorched-Earth Campaign | HistoryNet
Soldiers destroyed the peach orchards in Canyon de Chelly. The epicenter of Navajo culture is Canyon de Chelly (pronounced “shay”), a historical and
As we move backwards in time we come to Andrew Jackson, famed President and Indian fighter who decreed that the Five Civilized Tribes, which included the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek and Seminole, would lose their lands and be forced to leave. These people had a government, owned and operated stores, had a written language, and had signed treaties with the American government yet none of this mattered when Jackson made his decision to drive them from their land. Why did this occur? Much the same as would take place post Civil War in South Dakota, gold had been found on Cherokee land and the settlers wanted this as well as the rich tillable earth to be used for their cotton. This resulted in the infamous Trails of Tears and the death of a large percentage of these people. How is he still a hero to this nation and why does he remain on the $20 bill? Eliminate him from our history as well as he actually caused the death of a people!
And if we are going to that time, it is but a hop skip and jump from then backwards in time to the end of the 18th century and Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and their ilk, to the framing of the country and the Declaration of Independence and its obvious intention of declaring the black people as slaves and therefore not worthy of inclusion in the statement "All men are created equal". Are we going to eliminate all statues and works of these supposedly "great" men as they obviously believed that what they were doing was justified in their time, at that moment in the country even if what we know and believe today tells us that they were obvious bigots and racially biased men who intentionally degraded the African slaves in the country? If we hold others accountable equally then by all means we should! After all, Kate merely sang a song; Washington assisted in the enslavement a people.
After looking at these "criminals" it is easy to see just how horrible Kate Smith was for singing that song!
Why stop there?
If we are going to remove all signs of the Founding Fathers due to their shortsightedness of being born in a time where this was acceptable, even if time has shown us that was reprehensible, we have to proceed deeper into the past to correct all wrongs done over the centuries by those in power, those who didn't know any better, and those who were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time and said or did the wrong thing as detailed by those Politically Correct Judges who preside over the World Time Court today, along with the professional and non-biased media who accompany them.
The Pilgrims invaded a country they did not own and took it from the rightful owners. The Spaniards robbed and pillaged Central America. Eliminate all references to them in modern culture such as the names of cities and towns across the continent. Why stop there? Destroy the Colosseum because Christians were tortured and murdered there in Roman times. The possibilities are endless! We can hold civilizations across history accountable for their foibles, their acts of aggression, their attempts to change entire periods to suit their needs, their whims. Why, we could even hold the Atlanteans accountable for not foreseeing the disaster that caused the decline of their way of life, because if they had taken steps to save themselves we would have had centuries of enlightenment rather than centuries of darkness, poverty and despair. We could all be in togas, conversing at a higher plane of understanding and intelligence, not at the barely acceptable levels we find ourselves at presently.
Did I go too far?
Did I lose you there? Yeah, sometimes I ramble on. The point is, as a people we SHOULD be enlightened enough to not hold the past accountable for the current outlook and understanding we have today. Ethics change over time, fads come and go, beliefs and laws adapt as human beings grow and evolve. Civilizations of even a few decades ago would simply not recognize our world today if they were transported forward in time; and can you imagine how a person of today, a Politically Correct enthusiast would fare if transported back a century or two? Oh my!
Science is forever establishing facts, absolutes which are later found to be incorrect or flawed. My chemistry professor once said "The only absolute is there are no absolutes." and he was right. Times change, facts changes, ethics change. Yet it seems that the more we know, the more we try to demand that everyone, not only those in our time but those who came before, be held up to the standards we have today and judged accordingly. People, you just can't do that; you have to be judged according to the ethos and ethics of the time. And for the media to play along, to encourage this behavior is wrong, maybe even criminally wrong. It does nothing to promote well being, it does nothing to encourage tolerance and for people to accept one another and get along; rather it causes harm and harsh feelings for some who least deserve it, and for some who cannot defend themselves.
We cannot erase the past, we cannot hold it accountable to the standards of today, we must accept what was and what took place and learn from it in order to not repeat those mistakes. Philadelphia, if you want to make a statement about Ms. Smith's song choice you are entitled to do so; but to remove her from your memory is wrong. Yankees, if you no longer wish to play her version of "God Bless America" that is your choice, but do so for a reason that has nothing to do with what you perceive as her character flaw; you cannot say for certain that you know why she was singing the song about darkies and that it was causing harm to a portion of the population at the time. Was it racism? Or was it satire? You cannot say for you weren't there.
Some closing thoughts...
I have been upset for years because Disney will not release "Song Of The South" due to a belief that the film will be offensive to some. Hell, I am offended that Disney has the Free Form channel and runs cute innocent children's movies that incorporate what I perceive to be harmful elements during the commercials, commercials which feature their television shows detailing drug use, promiscuous sex among teenagers, encouraging acceptance of homosexuality to children too young to make an informed decision for themselves. Why should a five or six year old be watching "Finding Nemo" and be bombarded with commercials for shows years beyond their comprehension which introduce them to a world they are not ready for? How is that moral?
If we continue down this Politically Correct pathway we are treading upon, where will we find ourselves in the near future? Will "Gone With The Wind" become unacceptable? WIll "Showboat" be deemed inflammatory due to its example of a mixed race woman (then known as mulatto) not being accepted by the people of that time, being shunned despite her obvious talent for singing? Will "Holiday Inn" be completely removed from the film inventory because it contains the song in which Bing Crosby appears in blackface singing about Lincoln setting the darkie free? That scene is already removed from broadcasts today, will America go further and remove the film and Bing Crosby with it? Will Bing Crosby become persona non grata because of a song much as Kate Smith is in danger of becoming? Kate Smith and Bing Crosby are about as American and mainstream as I can think a person could be, yet look at what is taking place.
I liken America and its beliefs and reactions to a rubber band: we stretch ourselves one way and then snap back, sometimes too far the other way. Or perhaps a swing through time where we swing one way, living life blissfully ignorant and making decisions based upon information on hand at that moment in time before something takes place which changes our direction, causing us to react in an opposite manner until something else changes our direction, back and forth back and forth always too far in any one direction.
We have gone too far in the Politically Correct direction, too far down the tracks of this particular train. The time has come to center the swing and not go too far in either direction. Let the past remain in the past and learn from it; do not attempt to force the thoughts of the present onto the realities of the past. What was, was. You cannot change the past. Rather, change the future in a positive way by displaying intelligence, acceptance and humility by honoring the past as you learn its lessons, thus creating a better tomorrow.
Philadelphia, you should be ashamed. Bastion of freedom indeed.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Mr Archer