Students at Capital High School (CHS) in Charleston, West Virginia, have been regularly forced to stand during the playing of a song known as “The Black National Anthem.”
The song, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” was played in the morning right after the American national anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance, and students were forced to stand for all three. While the law currently states that no child can be compelled to stand for any kind of pledge, controversy only arose at CHS after two students and a parent complained about having to stand for the “Black National Anthem” (BNA).
To make matters worse, Clinton Giles, the black principal of CHS who made the requirement, allegedly ridiculed a child for his refusal to stand during the BNA. As the Daily Mail (the link to the original article is no longer valid) wrote:
Kim Bailey is the mother of one student who chose not to stand. She said the song is considered the “African-American National Anthem” and it was disrespectful to make students stand for it.
Her son chose not to stand and was sent to the office several times because of his decision, she said. She also said Giles made statements over the loudspeaker about the situation that “ostracized” her son.
Because of the complaints, Giles had initially eliminated the playing of all three works, the national anthem, the pledge, and the BNA. After discussion with school-system officials, however, he changed the policy yet again. And this is where news reports seem to conflict (which may explain the inactive Daily Mail link). Standing will now be optional, but there is some question as to whether only the pledge and national anthem have been reinstated or the BNA as well. If the latter, it is a further outrage. After all, where is this “black” nation that should have its own national anthem? Aren’t blacks Americans, too?
What Principal Giles did is another example of how, when liberals can’t eliminate tradition altogether, they want to adulterate it through the inclusion of non-traditional elements. This is the phenomenon that can cause long-displayed Nativity Scenes to be buried amidst a plethora of atheistic and other “holiday” displays, with a perversion of the First Amendment used as a pretext.
And as with the water-muddying holiday displays, Giles’ actions diminished what should have been the focus of reverence. You don’t place any song on the same plane as the pledge and national anthem by playing it right on their heels and forcing students to show it equal respect — not in America, anyway.
The only thing I can say in the principal’s defense is that the BNA doesn’t have any overtly racial lyrics and its last verse has some intensely religious content, which means that Giles at least managed to mix traditionalism in with his political correctness. Nonetheless, if he feels compelled to juxtapose another “national anthem” with our own, I’d suggest to him that he may be in the wrong country.
It’s amazing what we’ll stand for nowadays. Not the national anthem or the pledge, but mis-educators such as Clinton Giles. The problem at Capitol High School isn’t first and foremost its choice of music. It’s the school’s choice of leader.