Former vice president of the Philadelphia Flyers Louis Scheinfeld spent his time on CNN this week complaining that white Americans can’t do anything anymore with being called racists.
Scheinfeld made the remark during a Tuesday discussion on “God Bless America” singer Kate Smith, who’s rendition of the song has been nixed by the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Flyers after it was revealed that Smith had recorded other songs with racist and offensive lyrics.
Both the baseball and hockey teams have removed Smith’s “God Bless America” recording from their libraries, ensuring the ditty is no longer played at its sporting events. Her statue outside the Flyers stadium has also been covered.
Smith’s family has insisted the late 1930’s singer is was “not a racist” and instead described her as a “loving, gentle, deeply religious soul.”
LZ Granderson, sportswriter for The Los Angeles Times weighed in on the matter.
“I’ve never done any reporting with [Smith’s] family, so I’m not going to say whether or not she was a loving person, or whether she was someone who believed in celebrating all people,” Granderson began. “I’ll simply say that her record is her record, and she opted to record those songs. She opted to perform in blackface.”
“And so I’m sorry that they feel that somehow she’s been wronged, but she’s the one that did those things,” he added.
Chiming in, Scheinfeld argued: “Well, Judy Garland did blackface, Al Jolson did blackface, a lot of people did blackface.”
“Black people didn’t,” Granderson interrupted. “Black people didn’t do blackface.”
Schienfeld begged to differ.
“Oh, yes, they did in fact,” he fired back. “In the Mummers Parade [a traditional Philadelphia Mardi Gras-style parade held on New Year’s Day] this past year a black man did blackface and he was criticized for it.” Multiple local media outlets confirmed the man was never in blackface, however.
“We can’t do anything anymore without being criticized as being racist,” Scheinfeld complained. “Are we all racist?”
Granderson said the point wasn’t to demonize all white people, but pointed out that Black people were forced to perform in blackface.
“Society forced black people to do blackface, or you couldn’t perform things and you couldn’t eat,” he explained. “So, yeah, those were the choices handed to us.”
Granderson continued: “Just because we’re at a different place, doesn’t mean we don’t have the opportunities to go back and correct some of those transgressions. Or at least not celebrate the people who were epicenters of racist behavior back in the day.”
Watch more in the video below.