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Race baiting in anthem controversy is despicable

By Scott Tibbs, February 22, 2011

Last month, a controversy erupted over a high school girl's performance of the national anthem. The controversy quickly became overblown to the point of absurdity.

The teenager delivered a perfectly fine rendition of the national anthem and she's obviously a very talented young lady. She didn't embellish the tune any more than Jessica Simpson, Faith Hill or any number of artists who have put their own spin on the tune. Those who are bent out of shape about it need to chill out and relax.

But what was far more offensive, and far more destructive to this community, the school system and the nation was the despicable, shameful race-baiting done by demagogues on the issue. This is not an issue of racism or discrimination, it is an issue of people who are too tightly wound about the "right" way to sing a song.

Does anyone really believe that the administration of Bloomington North High School is actively trying to suppress the girl's black heritage? Those who actually believe this are either stupid or paranoid, and maybe both.

But many who have been screeching "racism" did not actually believe it at all. It was yet another opportunity to stir up racial tensions in order to gain political advantage. That is just plain sick. When people play the race card so shamelessly, it makes us all a little more cynical, and it destroys that person's credibility to charge racism when real racism exists. Race-baiting on this issue only serves to empower racists.

We have a terrible history regarding race in this nation, and many racial sins. Fabricating racism where there is simply artistic difference does a great disservice to MCCSC, the Bloomington community and our nation.