Ted Cruz slams Colin Kaepernick for selectively quoting Frederick Douglass' historic July 4 address to denounce police brutality
Former NFL player Colin Kaepernick was slammed by many social media users after he used certain portions of Frederick Douglass' famous Fourth of July address on Twitter to denounce police brutality and racism in the United States. Many critics pointed out he had not included some sections of the speech, where Douglass spoke of hope for the future and his love of his country. Douglass, a pioneering abolitionist, and civil rights activist, was born into slavery.
Kaepernick, on Thursday, shared a video, where parts of Douglass' lengthy 1852 speech were orated over a montage of slavery depictions and videos of police shooting unarmed African American citizens. Along with the video, the former San Francisco 49ers player tweeted: "What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? This Fourth of July is yours, not mine...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."
Kaepernick was the first National Football League (NFL) player to take a knee during the national anthem as a protest against racism and police brutality. The player began his protest three years ago when he was with the San Francisco 49ers at the time and stirred national controversy.
He had done so in an effort to protest rampant police brutality in the country. Other players took his cue and joined the protest in the 2016 season, while many others have continued the protest till now. Kaepernick's movement drew heavy criticism from President Donald Trump, who even called for the owners of the NFL teams to fire the players who were participating in it.
Multiple users took to Twitter to criticize Kaepernick, slamming him for omitting the majority of the text as others accused him of comparing himself to Douglass and attempting to rewrite history. The criticism came days after Nike pulled its new sneakers featuring Betsy Ross flags after Kaepernick called them "offensive" because of the flag's link to an era of slavery.
"Why not finish this from Frederick Douglass... in other words he understood the future was full of hope, growth and change. Which we have done," one Twitter user wrote. "'You yourself have profited from this great nation. If you think you can make a better life elsewhere, please, stop race baiting and leave!"
Texas Senator Ted Cruz was among the first to criticize Kaepernick, writing: "You quote a mighty and historic speech by the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass, but, without context, many modern readers will misunderstand. Two critical points: (1) This speech was given in 1852, before the Civil War, when the abomination of slavery still existed. Thanks to Douglass and so many other heroes, we ended that grotesque evil and have made enormous strides to protecting the civil rights of everybody."
He added, "(2) Douglass was not anti-American; he was, rightly and passionately, anti-slavery. Indeed, he concluded the speech as follows: 'Allow me to say, in conclusion, notwithstanding the dark picture I have this day presented, of the state of the nation, I do not despair of this country. There are forces in operation, which must inevitably, work the downfall of slavery. ‘The arm of the Lord is not shortened,’ and the doom of slavery is certain. I, therefore, leave off where I began, with hope. While drawing encouragement from ‘the Declaration of Independence,’ the great principles it contains, and the genius of American Institutions, my spirit is also cheered by the obvious tendencies of the age.'"