Will Conservatives Ever Stop Taking the ‘Black National Anthem’ Bait?

AP Photo/Orlin Wagner

Conservatives, the left loves portraying you as mindless reactionary racists. But sometimes, we make it far too easy for them. The right-wing furor over the performing of “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” which is also nicknamed “The Black National Anthem” during football games and Fourth of July celebrations is yet another way the left manages to get conservatives to fall into the same traps over and over again.

If I happened to be a leftist operative whose mission is to make conservatives look like racists, I’d exploit the hell out of the Black National Anthem. It wouldn’t be hard. Indeed, I’d only have to use the song to virtue signal at sports events and other venues. In this way, I could pretend to care about the black community while triggering conservative influencers, who would then trigger their audiences.

The reason it would be so easy is that most on the right do not know the history of the song, or even how it came by its “Black National Anthem” moniker. I’d bait high-profile conservatives into claiming that the song is divisive and intended to replace the “Star-Spangled Banner.”

The fact that the number of people who would actually propose using “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” to replace the current anthem is lower than my shoe size wouldn’t matter. When people don’t know the facts, stirring up outrage is easy regardless of political affiliation.

The tendency of too many Americans on both sides to react in a visceral fashion to something the media claims is offensive can easily be used to manipulate. Indeed, the left has managed to get conservatives to revile an iconic song written to honor President Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican to occupy the White House and the one we brag about when it comes to freeing the slaves.

Since many of our reactions are not rooted more in the idea that we have to react to the left at every moment than in the notion that we should examine each issue on our own makes us more susceptible to this type of manipulation. It is this tendency to react instead of doing the research that has allowed the left to get us to behave in a way that allows them to tell the American public: “See! I told you they were racists!”

The truth is that there is no overarching movement to make “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” the actual national anthem. The song has absolutely nothing to do with black Americans forming a separate country or whatever other nonsense many of your pundits have told you.

As I stated in my previous piece on this subject:

An understanding of the history of the song reveals that it has nothing to do with segregation or bigotry. In fact, it is a piece of music that illustrates the struggle that black Americans were facing shortly after the Reconstruction era. The song also highlights the struggle of a nation to live up to the values upon which it was founded.  It is an integral part of black history, which means it is a part of American history.

Moreover, the reason the song was given the “Black National Anthem” moniker in 1919 is because at that time in our history, black Americans were treated as a separate people by the government and society. This song became and integral part of African Americans’ fight for equality and against mandatory segregation.

The nickname does not indicate a desire for a separate black American nation, it is a symbol of the struggle to promote unity among all Americans. Like I said previously, taking out the moniker “would be akin to rewriting ‘The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn’ and removing the ‘N’ word because it is offensive.”

The hymn is an integral part of American history, and if you look at the lyrics, there is nothing left-wing about it. It is a plea to God to provide the strength to persevere in the face of adversity and persecution. It’s a universal message, which is why even white churches have sung the hymn.

Conservatives, we can – and should – called out the left for their blatant pandering. Yes, we should point out that these people would rather use the song to pretend they care about black people in lieu of actually doing something to address the issues many black Americans face.

But we can do that without promoting a false and disparaging narrative about the song itself or its history. It’s not difficult. The left gives us plenty of ammo on the regular and if we are to combat the narratives they love to push, we must do so effectively, without falling into their traps. Why not beat them at their own game rather than stubbornly allowing them to manipulate us?