By Latifah Muhammad (hiphopwired)
Chris Rock is under fire for a tweet he sent out in celebration of 4th of July, which he dubbed a holiday for “white people.” Rock posted the (historically accurate) message for his more than 850,000 followers Wednesday (July 4). “Happy white peoples independence day [sic] the slaves weren’t free but I’m sure they enjoyed fireworks,” he wrote.
The post drew laughs from the likes of actor Don Cheadle, but others were not amused. “@chrisrock Slavery existed for 2000yrs before America. We eradicated it in 100yrs. We now have a black POTUS. #GoF—Yourself,” responded Jeff Schreiber, managing editor of the blog, America’s Right. Sensing that he may have overstepped his boundaries, Schreiber explained his tweet. “I’m not saying we’re blameless for that horrid practice, but for @chrisrock to indict the US as he did is inappropriate at best,” he added, before deleting the comment.
The comedian never responded to the critics, likely because he doesn’t have to. For one, it’s his opinion, and for another his sentiments were shared by the late Frederick Douglass, who penned a letter to President Franklin Pierce on Independence Day in 1852. “With little experience and with less learning, I have been able to throw my thoughts hastily and imperfectly together; and trusting to your patient and generous indulgence, I will proceed to lay them before you,” Douglass wrote. “This, for the purpose of this celebration, is the 4th of July. It is the birthday of your National Independence, and of your political freedom.
He went on to explain how Black people mark the holiday. “What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelly to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy—a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices, more shocking and bloody, than are the people of these United States, at this very hour.”
So there you have it, perhaps people should understand the history behind Rock’s tweet before jumping to conclusions.