The California chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) wants the national anthem to be changed, because “The Star-Spangled Banner” is racist.
The chapter has circulated two petitions in the California State Legislature about the national anthem. The first praises Colin Kaepernick for taking a knee during the national anthem, and the other denounces the song itself as “one of the most racist, pro-slavery, anti-black songs in the American lexicon.”
In particular, the NAACP is pointing to a line in the third verse, which reads: “no refuge could save the hireling and slave/ From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave.”
“This song is wrong; it should have never been there, and just we didn’t have it until 1931, it won’t kill us if it goes away,” California NAACP President Alice Huffman told CBS Sacramento. “It’s racist, it doesn’t represent our community, it’s anti-black people.”
“This is not about the flag. We love the flag,” Huffman said. “This is about a song that should never have been the national anthem.”
While the NAACP has said that the lyrics refer to the killing of slaves and Black people, some scholars believe they refer to the Corps of Colonial Marines, a group of escaped slaves that fought on the side of the British in the War of 1812.