When Kate Smith was a young, aspiring singer, she made a mistake, common in her time: she sang and recorded two songs with lyrics that today are understandably regarded as racially insensitive and offensive. She did not write the songs and she didn’t continue to sing them thereafter. Many other singers, including African-American legend, Paul Robeson, sang one of these songs as well. Back in the day, many lyrics reflected racial insensitivity. . . . .
So, I call for a restoration of Smith’s statute in Philadelphia and for bringing back the tradition of playing her “God Bless America.” Everyone hearing that song or seeing that statute, will now remember that her history is flawed by the songs she sang many years ago. So it was right to call her out for it, but it is now also right to apply a single standard to her conduct. And under that standard, the statute gets restored and her rendition of “God Bless America” gets played.