Did the Flyers and Yankees jump the gun on Kate Smith?
It looks to be yet another case of a knee jerk reaction to what seemed like a horrible occurrence. Once it came to light last week that Kate Smith recorded songs back in the 1930's that were racist, the NY Yankees and Philadelphia Flyers both took immediate action to remove her likeness from their arena and delete her rendition of 'God Bless America' from their playlist. Through some careful thought and easy research, information has come to light that Kate was a pioneer in working with and helping black entertainers of the day. One of the songs in question was actually a parody and a mocking of white supremacy and was also recorded by our own Paul Robeson, a pioneering African American civil rights leader.
Just like in the Covington Kentucky High School kids that got misrepresented in the media in D.C., and the Jussie Smollett fake racial attack back in January, this seems to be another hasty rush to judgement before the facts were in. At the slightest hint of misbehavior when it comes to race, the mob jump in to judge and organizations fall all over them selves to create distance from the controversy. When the dust settles and the facts come out, in some cases the damage is already done.
Can the Flyers reverse their decision and put the statue of Kate Smith back up in front on their building? Will they hold a press conference and lay out the facts to defend this woman's honor? Not likely. What's the upside for them? Go out on a limb for a woman who's been dead for over 30 years, who nobody really cares much about and risk still having a stigma of racism for those hardliners who didn't bother reading the rest of the story? Not likely. Cowards? Maybe. But that's how things work in business in 2019.
The silver lining for those who care about truth, justice and someone's reputation, is that no less than two towns in New Jersey and one minor league baseball team in our state have offered to take Kate's statue and continue to play her song. The mayor of Wildwood has offered to take the statue and the mayor of Toms River has voiced his support for the iconic performer.
Her rendition of God Bless America has stirred the emotions of patriotic Americans since WWII and at countless civic events and sporting events for three quarters of a century. Many people have wondered, why after all these years did this controversy pop up now. Did someone have it in for Kate Smith all these years? Or did someone who so hates the idea of 'God' celebrated in such a grand way in public events try to torpedo the whole thing and get rid of that song once and for all? Hmmm...I wonder.
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