The Kentucky Derby was protested again by woke leftists, not for the treatment of animals (that’s been a PETA thing for some time) or the lack of diversity in horse racing (though lack of diversity in basketball is apparently fine). As they have for a few years now, radical leftists pushed to have the 100-year tradition of playing “My Old Kentucky Road” ended.
Why? Racism, of course. But here’s the thing. Historians generally agree the song was written as condemnation against slave owners. Why would the woke left want to end that? We’ll get to that in a moment. First, here’s the story from The Blaze before the race ran.
The Kentucky Derby is refusing to cave to the woke mob.
Despite pushback from people who claim the state song of Kentucky is racially insensitive, the song will be played prior to the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby at the historic Churchill Downs horse racing track on Saturday.
What are the details?
The Kentucky state song “My Old Kentucky Home” is traditionally played prior to the running of the Kentucky Derby. The University of Louisville marching band plays the song while the more than 160,000 spectators in attendance sing the lyrics.
According to the Kentucky Derby website, the song has been played for the last 100 years. “Although there is no definitive history on the playing of the Stephen Foster ballad as a Derby Day tradition, it is believed to have originated in 1921 for the 47th running,” the website states.
But social justice activists say the song should not be played because of its connection to America’s antebellum past.
In The Blaze article lies the reasoning for the woke left to want to cancel the song despite its history in opposition to slavery. The old lyrics to the song were “racially insensitive.” Keep in mind, the current lyrics, which have been used since they were first sung at the Derby 100 years ago, do not use the word “darkies” that were part of the original lyrics. The left wants the song canceled over words that aren’t even sung anymore.
According to Newsweek:
“My Old Kentucky Home” is controversial because the meaning behind it and its composer’s intentions are contested, as well as its original title and lyrics, and the contexts in which it has been performed, including at minstrel shows, while some people consider the song to be a powerful condemnation of slavery.
Smithsonian Magazine described the song as “a condemnation of Kentucky’s enslavers who sold husbands away from their wives and mothers away from their children,” and as “the lament of an enslaved person who has been forcibly separated from his family and his painful longing to return to the cabin with his wife and children.”
The magazine reports that abolitionist luminary Frederick Douglass, who had been enslaved, wrote in My Bondage and My Freedom, that the song “awakens sympathies for the slave, in which antislavery principles take root, grow, and flourish.”
However, others have pointed out the context in which it was performed—as a minstrel song, and consider Kentucky’s state song to be racist.
Ahead of the Kentucky Derby last year, Emily Bingham, a Louisville-born historian who was writing a book on the history of the minstrel song, told WPFL that the song was: “written by a white man about a Black person being sold down river from Kentucky to the deep south to be sung by white men pretending to be black men on stages for white audiences.
Bingham added: “It is true that he was writing in the, in the midst of the bestseller success of my Uncle Tom’s Cabin, the anti-slavery novel by Harriet Beecher Stowe, and it is true that his original version of the song was about Uncle Tom and not my old Kentucky home… but he was producing music for the blackface minstrel stage.”
So, since the song, which was written as a criticism of the slave trade, was sung by White people wearing blackface in the past, the song must be removed, according to the radical left. Their reasoning actually makes sense to them because things that hurt their sensitive heads are much more important than rational thought or logic. Meanwhile, in neighboring Virginia, Ralph “Blackface” Northam is still Governor.
Never accuse the woke left of making sense. They don’t make sense and that doesn’t bother them.
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