*ESPN anchor Will Cain believes it is pointless to acknowledge or even discuss America’s history of racism, discrimination and oppression.
The comments came during a discussion on ESPN’s “First Take” with panelists Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman about deceased singer Kate Smith, who is best known for her 1930s songs with racist titles and lyrics, among them “That’s Why Darkies Were Born” and “Pickaninny Heaven.”
Smith’s version of “God Bless America” was recently retired by the New York Yankees. Cain suggested that MLB teams should continue to use her recordings regardless of her racist history.
“I’m suggesting it’s an absolute and utter fools errand to go back through history, decades, someone who’s been passed away for 30 years, incidents which occurred eight decades ago and apply modern historical standards to something that can almost reach a century!” Cain shouted, via RawStory.com.
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The Philadelphia Flyers removed a statue of Kate Smith, whose rendition of “God Bless America” was played during home games for decades, over her racist songs from the 1930s https://t.co/nBuE28VQiw pic.twitter.com/goNTcUrpmf
— CNN (@CNN) April 21, 2019
A year after her 1986 death, the Philadelphia Flyers erected a statue to honor the singer, but on Sunday the NHL team announced they had removed the monument after discovering some of her racist songs were “incompatible” with the organization’s values, New York Daily News reports.
“And I’m telling you by your standard, President Obama statues would not stand to todays standard when it comes to gay rights!” Cain tells Smith. “And that to me is asinine!”
“Obama got rid of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’” Kellerman noted.
“Obama was opposed to gay rights and by today’s standards, that would be asinine,” Cain insisted.
“That’s pretty damn easy for you to say,” Smith chimed in. “Because you’re not the offended party. It’s real easy for the person or the group who’s not the offended party to take that position.”
“There will always be an offended party,” Cain fired back.
“Will… you think the threshold is too low,” Kellerman said. “You think that any offended party, if they are outraged enough, can change history. That is not my contention. It is not the point I am here making.”
“What I’m saying is in the 1930s, if someone was putting out racist lyrics — not everyone was racist, not all white people were racist, but many of them were,” he continued. “There were told oftentimes how wrongheaded they were. It’s not as though they weren’t aware of this. They made their choice.”
Kellerman also reminded Cain that “black people were horribly disenfranchised and alienated and marginalized and oppressed.”
Watch the heated conversation via video clip below from ESPN:
— First Take (@FirstTake) April 22, 2019