|Shai Warfield-Cross in School Play|
So yeah, when I hear (or get) stories of racism out of Indiana like the following via email and phone-calls from my peeps still there, I'm not really surprised. I mean, I've been long gone as a resident of Indiana, so I assume things may have changed. Hell, Barack Obama won Indiana in 2008, for crying out loud! Surely they're post-racial in Indiana now just like the rest of America, right?
An Indiana school district that told a black teenager to perform "The Star-Spangled Banner" in a "traditional way" after receiving complaints about her performance is drawing questions now about whether the complaints and directive were racially motivated.And this went down in Martinsville, huh? Shoot, I remember back in the day when the old heads used to tell us stories about the signs at the Martinsville city limits. It was a sign that read, "no niggers after dark." As a matter of fact, us black folks were always warned about driving through that city on trips to Indianapolis. I even attended an event there once and was nervous like a whore in church on Sunday morning. Shit, the Klu Klux Klan was once headquartered in Martinsville at one point; that's enough to make a brotha nervous.
Shai Warfield-Cross, 16, has performed the national anthem at sports events at Bloomington High School North over the last year without incident. But school officials said they received complaints about her performance during a game in Martinsville.
Principal Jeff Henderson told The Herald-Times in a statement that people had complained that while the words to the anthem were the same, the tune was unrecognizable. He declined to comment to The Associated Press.
Some who complained after the game in Martinsville - a predominantly white community about 30 miles southwest of Indianapolis - also said they felt the rendition was disrespectful to current and former members of the military, Henderson said.
Warfield-Cross' family says athletics director Jen Hollars told the teen last Friday that she would not be allowed to sing the anthem unless she modified her version and sang in a more traditional way. Hollars declined to comment and referred questions to Henderson, who said school officials told Warfield-Cross the performances should be more "traditional" to ensure the song's tune is recognizable.
"She was not told that she would no longer be allowed to perform," he said. "She was given guidelines that we hoped she would follow. She performed the next night using those guidelines and she sang beautifully."
Aurora Marin, the teen's stepmother, told The Herald-Times that the directive denies Warfield-Cross her "rights of expression and individuality." The family has written a letter to school officials seeking an apology.
"The national anthem is a historical symbol for our country for independence. The irony is that Shai is being denied her right of artistic expression as a result of her natural voice and cultural heritage," they wrote.
"The situation really makes us question the staff and leadership there, and what their representation of diversity is," Marin said. (source)
But I suppose old habits die hard, and though the country is now post-racial, Martinsville is playing catch up to the rest of us. I do have to give them credit though; at least they asked her sing the national anthem in a more "traditional" way instead of the "nigger" way. Yeah, at least they asked instead of lynching her.
Here's 16yr old Shai, singing the "untraditional" version of the national anthem:
Lastly, without knowledge of this story and after being in the other room hearing Shai sing above. My 16yr old daughter started singing the anthem herself, in a most inappropriately Negro fashion - you know, like Whitney Houston? I then walked into her bedroom to tell her that she was disrespecting our troops, and she kinda looked at me funny. Oh well, Shai's school principal has apologized so I guess all is well in post-racial America.