Don't confuse Johnson's poetry with the 1619 project
The start of the professional football season will spark a new chapter in the controversy over the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner, which began with former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s famous kneel. As the season draws close, the league has announced an idea that it hopes will allay the tension. Prior to each team’s home openers, the League will authorize the playing, prior to the Star-Spangled Banner, of what’s long been known as the Black National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”
NPR has reported that the song “will be played beginning Sept. 10, with the nationally televised Kansas City Chiefs vs. Houston Texans game. It will also play during the full slate of Sunday afternoon games, Sunday Night Football and the two ESPN Monday night games.”
Singing two anthems raises some reason for concern. One can fear that the inclusion of the two anthems translates into one anthem for whites, another for blacks, signaling an ongoing divide between the races, a national-anthem version of separate but equal. Burgess Owens, a former NFL player and Republican congressional candidate in Utah, captured those concerns in a tweet in July: “Why does it feel like the country is trying to segregate again sometimes?” he asked.
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