Every July 4th families across the nation celebrate freedom by spending time with one another and partaking in bbq’s, apple pie and fireworks.
Fireworks echo the sounds and sparks of cannons that blasted on a battlefield over 200 years ago that paid for our freedom. This year comedian Chris Rock decided to light a firework of his own with his tweet on July 4th.
“Happy White peoples independence day the slaves weren’t free but I’m sure they enjoyed fireworks.”
This tweet was retweeted by 12,832 people to date and has sparked numerous online debates. The responses ranged from people questioning his intelligence, his comedic ability and namely his patriotism. Below are a few twitter responses.
Hi @chrisrock, you bashed July 4th as “White peoples independence day.” Know who gave you yours? Republicans. You’re welcome.
Dear @ChrisRock: Without July 4, 1776, December 6, 1865 wouldn’t have happened.
Dear @ChrisRock: You’re not a slave. You are a “comedian” with a net worth of $70 million. What other country would’ve paid for your jokes?
What makes Chris Rock’s tweet unpatriotic? Not a damn thing! He didn’t say anything that wasn’t true and he wrote it in jest. I can relate to Chris Rock because I’ve also been accused of being unpatriotic. Long before the days of twitter, I got in trouble not for words that I said but for words I didn’t say.
In the fifth grade I stopped saying The Pledge of Allegiance. I remember one of my classmates named Harley (after the motorcycle) being offended by my silence. I wanted to say it but something about it just didn’t ring true for me. Perhaps this was because of the books I had read. When I realized that Black History was narrowed down to a few lessons, I knew I had to study more, so I read every book I could find relating to Black history from our school library. Ask my school librarian Miss Hendrix, I was on it. These books filled me with a sense of pride that was not based on the nation I was from, but rather the people I come from. Around 7th grade I read another book about the Curse of Ham that my progressive friend Remone gave me.
The book chronicled how passages from Genesis have been reinterpreted by Europeans to suggest that Blacks were the Sons of Ham who were cursed with blackened skin through a generational curse.
My experience with racism and the world I was discovering painted a more complicated version of America than the words in the Pledge of Allegiance. During my freshman year in college I read yet another book that painted a bleak view of reality. The book was entitled “No Equal Justice: Race and Class in the American Criminal Justice System.” The book focused on racial profiling and double standards in the justice system, all of which I had already observed. But the statistics were far worse than I imagined. By the time I reached college I learned about the rhetoric and reality of foreign policy and foreign aid. I learned in detail things about America that I didn’t want to know.
- Ousting* democratically elected leaders
- Supporting dictators
- Funding wars with drugs
- Weakening economies through institutions like the IMF and the World Bank.
- And the list goes on…
But let’s leap forward to today- July 12th, 2012. I currently live and work in Seoul, South Korea along with many other expatriates. Some of these expats have no plans to ever return to the U.S. because they don’t feel much of a connection to the U.S.. I’m not one of those people. In fact, I feel more of a sense of connection to America and Americans since moving abroad. I see the ills in the culture, but I still appreciate the benefits. Actually, I believe that whatever modicum of patriotism I have far outweighs that of some flag-waving, gun-toting American cut-out. This is because I see America for what it is, good and bad.Someone who blindly defends America on every front is not patriotic, they are delusional. But maybe I’m wrong about my definition of patriotism. If defending your country even when it is wrong is the meaning of patriotism, then maybe Harley was right. Maybe I’m not patriotic.
What do you think?
What is true patriotism?
What do you think of Chris Rock’s comments?