Professor Gerald Horne, Chair of History and African-American studies at the University of Houston, has claimed that because Americans continue to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and sing the National Anthem, the country as a whole must therefore be in denial of its “racist history.”
Speaking to The Real News Network, Horne argued that the Pledge was instituted as a form of “glue” to help bind “disparate elements” in the “artificially-constructed, former slaveholder’s republic” together, after the turmoil of the Civil War in the mid-19th Century. When it was formerly adopted by the Federal government in 1942, during the Second World War, the issue of national unity was once again in play, noted Horne.
He went on to say that “a substantial percentage of the citizenry, particularly those of African descent, were subjected to routine atrocities, and it was felt that they would not necessarily be enthusiastic about shedding their blood and making the ultimate sacrifice for this so-called Republic.” Therefore, the Pledge of Allegiance was introduced into public schools as a form of indoctrination.
Horne also took issue with the lyrics to the Star-Spangled Banner as well. In the third stanza of the anthem, Francis Scott-Key, the author of the poem that was eventually set to music and adopted as the National Anthem, Horne suggested that Scott-Key “denounces the black population of the United States.”
The third stanza is critical of slaves who sided with the British in the War of 1812, “reprimanding, reproving, and denouncing black people for not standing alongside the star-spangled banner, but instead aligning, as the black population tended to do, with the real and imagined enemies of the United States of America.”
However, Scott-Key only attacked those who were traitors to the fledgling nation and did not attack all blacks – Horne seems to have forgotten that African-Americans fought on the side of the USA during the War of 1812 as well. During the Battle of Lake Erie, around 25% of the American naval personnel were in fact black, with Commodore Isaac Chauncey having remarked that “many of them are among the best of my men.”
Horne finished off by arguing that there needs to be “resistance” to the “nationalistic indoctrination” seen in America today, and that there is a complete “denial” that “this so-called Republic was primarily based upon enslaving black people … rather than acknowledge that brutal and bitter reality … we get this happy talk, and we get this insistence upon saluting the flag and singing the Star-Spangled Banner.”
A report from the College Fix in regards to Horne’s comments included this short response: “to claim that Americans do not recognize the sins of the country’s past (and present) in our schools, colleges, and other institutions, borders on the delusional.”
Jack Hadfield is a student at the University of Warwick and a regular contributor to Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter here: @ToryBastard_.