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Former San Francisco 49ers Player Colin Kaepernick, apparently still riding the endorphin-high triggered by his beating up on a pair of sneakers, has now gone after the whole of American independence.
In a now-infamous tweet, Kaepernick quoted Frederick Douglass’ “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” speech, pairing it with a video showing scenes of slavery, civil-rights era abuses, and apparent police brutality against African Americans. A voice-over features the narration of James Earl Jones reading a portion of the Douglass speech. The video makes the poisonous accusation that American independence does not include black Americans. Kaerpernick posted it on the Fourth of July.
Whether - Jones - Approves - Use - Reading
Whether or not Jones approves of the use of his reading, I don’t know—he recorded it for another context. What is apparently clear is that Kaepernick neither appreciates nor exemplifies the incredible character of Frederick Douglass.
Douglass was an American patriot who very much loved this country. Like all good lovers, Douglass hated those evils that harmed the object of his love—including not simply those evils that pose external harm to the beloved, but those evils with which the beloved is complicit. Regarding America, Douglass rightly hated the continued reality of slavery. Kaepernick recognizes this. His tweet captures this in his use of Douglass’ speech:
Fellow - Citizens - Upon - Today - Independence
Fellow citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here today? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us?
The video’s narration captures even more:
Pale - Anniversary - Independence - Distance - Blessings
I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice,...
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