MTP Panelist Stephen Henderson Claims National Anthem Is 'White Supremacist'

Sunday's Meet the Press on NBC showed the latest in a troubling trend toward the terms "white supremacist" or "white supremacy" being overused and misused to the point that one may be unsure what to call actual white supremacists who really do advocate racist attitudes and favor discrimination to artificially benefit whites.

During a panel discussion of President Donald Trump condemning black athletes like Colin Kaepernick who have refused to stand during the national anthem at public games, panel member Stephen Henderson -- editorial page editor for the Detroit Free Press -- actually argued that the national anthem is "white supremacist" as he defended those who refuse to show the respect of standing.

Right-leaning panel member Rich Lowry of the National Review argued that it was inappropriate to show disrespect for the American flag or the national anthem to draw attention to a race-related political issue because neither symbol is "white supremacist." 

After Lowry recalled that President Donald Trump "is not randomly attacking these players. He is attacking them because they're kneeling during the national anthem. And the national anthem is not a white supremacist symbol," Henderson jumped in to inject: "Some of the words of the national anthem are white supremacist."

After the National Review editor asked, "You think the national anthem is racist?" Henderson persisted: "I think this is a country whose history is racist, whose history is steeped in white supremacy, and the anthem reflects that in its very words ... (inaudible)"

Lowry defended America: "It's also a nation with very important ideals that have worn down those injustices over time and created a more just society. And people have died under that flag for those ideals."

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After the conservative panelist complained that kneeling during the anthem was "disrespecting the flag," Henderson continued to defend Kaepernick's behavior: "So to take a knee and respectfully sit there -- I mean, he's not turning his back on the flag. He's not burning it -- he's not dragging it through the dirt. What's disrespectful about what he's doing?"

This throwing around of the words "white supremacist" comes on the heels of MSNBC's Jason Johnson accusing Toys R Us of promoting "white supremacy" and, on PBS's Tavis Smiley show, racism expert Tim Wise seeming to suggest that most whites -- even liberal whites -- promote "white supremacy."

Below is a transcript of the relevant exchange from the Sunday, September 24, Meet the Press on NBC:

RICH LOWRY, NATIONAL REVIEW: He (Donald Trump) is not randomly attacking these players. He is attacking them because they're kneeling during the national anthem. And the national anthem is not a white supremacist symbol. And the President has become --

STEPHEN HENDERSON, DETROIT FREE PRESS: Some of the words of the national anthem are white supremacist.

LOWRY: You think the national anthem is racist?

HENDERSON: I think this is a country whose history is racist, whose history is steeped in white supremacy, and the anthem reflects that in its very words ... (inaudible)

LOWRY: It's also a nation with very important ideals that have worn down those injustices over time and created a more just society. And people have died under that flag for those ideals.

HENDERSON: My father and my grandfather are among those who served.

LOWRY: You can have opinions, you know, about policing and whatnot, but don't disrespect the flag of the United States.

HENDERSON: So to take a knee and respectfully sit there -- I mean, he's not turning his back on the flag. He's not burning it -- he's not dragging it through the dirt. What's disrespectful about what he's doing.

LOWRY: You stand --

HENDERSON: Why?

LOWRY: It takes two minutes to pay that respect to our anthem and to our flag and to all the sacrifices they represent.


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