A Letter To Black Athletes: Stand For The National Anthem, or Sit When You Hear A Crude Rap Song

By Cory Alexander Haywood    October 27, 2017
Dear black people, what has rap music done for you lately?
Do you feel empowered or encouraged when you hear it? Do these songs represent your world? Or do they glorify the world around you – one crippled by the evils of gun violence, drug abuse and blatant misogyny? Aren’t you more than these things?

I need help understanding how Colin Kaepernick can justify kneeling during the national anthem, yet he proudly endorses a brand created by a man who was once charged with domestic abuse, and who was part of a rap group that encouraged hatred for police (Dr. Dre). 

I need help understanding the logic behind refusing to stand for an anthem representing your home country. 

I also need help grasping the rationale behind someone who denounces the “star spangled banner,” but can’t see the hypocrisy in going to a night club and singing along to crude rap songs.  

Yes, I’m aware of the vague references to slavery embedded in our nation’s anthem. However, I’m equally aware of the references to murder, prostitution and dope-dealing embedded in most rap songs of this era. 

I’m also aware of the psychological impact of rap music – that overexposure triggers portions of your brain that cause violent and disruptive behavior. 

I’m aware of the effect that rap music imposes on a young girl’s subconscious when the lyrics of a song tell her that she’s worth nothing more than a one night stand. 

I’m aware of how dumb I feel after exposing myself to a full three minutes of broken English and crude ideologies.   

I’m aware that rap music often promotes harsh violence, misogyny, and criminal behavior. 

So what’s the difference (I must know)? Why do black people condemn the national anthem, but gather and party to music that promotes the genocide of their own people? That’s utterly stupid.

As a black man, should I be less offended by the violent, misogynistic undertones of rap music? What makes the crudity of this genre permissible, while America’s national anthem sparks controversy every time it’s played? Does that make sense at all?

Considering the outbreak of terrorist attacks that have occurred overseas recently, I’m relieved to be a citizen the US. 

This country provides a sense of security and protection that other nations can’t. I don’t wake up in the morning worried about a missile being dropped on my home. 

I don’t have to be concerned about the women in my family being stoned to death by a group of orthodox Muslims.

I can walk into my local grocery store and buy food, while thousands of people in third world communities aren’t even sure where their next meal will come from.     

That’s why I stand for the national anthem – because I’d rather be a US citizen than a resident of North Korea. 

I once asked an ex-girlfriend why she doesn’t stand for the anthem. She responded, “Because America treats black people like second class citizens.”

While I concentrated to keep my eyes from glazing over, she turned up her car radio and flipped on Pandora.

“Bitch, shake the monkey,” blasted from the speakers. She danced gleefully. I watched in disbelief, wanting desperately to jump out of the car.

Against my better judgment, I asked: “What makes this song any LESS offensive than the national anthem? You are a woman – and he’s [the rapper] marginalizing your gender. That doesn’t bother you?”

 “He’s not speaking directly to me,” she rebutted. “I just like melody.”

I briefly thought about lecturing her on the hypocrisy of downplaying rap music’s vulgarity while upselling the indecency of America’s only anthem. 

But I just sat and watched the other cars roll past, choking back vomit. 

Her words still reverberate in the walls of my mind. But she’s not alone – apparently idiocy is becoming a black thing.  

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