Colin Kaepernick commemorated the 4th of July by indulging in the history of the land he calls “home.”
You know, Ghana.
The world’s most famous unemployed quarterback tweeted a one minute long video on Tuesday, which featured Kaepernick on a trip to Cape Coast Castle in Ghana, a place which once served as a major center of activity in the slave trade.
How can we truly celebrate independence on a day that intentionally robbed our ancestors of theirs? To find my independence I went home. pic.twitter.com/hniYGJeLxG
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) July 4, 2017
Kaepernick also sent out a post on Instagram:
“What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence?” – Frederick Douglass. In a quest to find my personal independence, I had to find out where my ancestors came from. I set out tracing my African ancestral roots, and it lead me to Ghana. Upon finding out this information, I wanted to visit the sites responsible for myself (and many other Black folks in the African Diaspora) for being forced into the hells of the middle passage. I wanted to see a fraction of what they saw before reaching the point of no return. I spent time with the/my Ghanaian people, from visiting the local hospital in Keta and the village of Atito, to eating banku in the homes of local friends, and paying my respects to Kwame Nkrumah’s Memorial Park. I felt their love, and truly I hope that they felt mine in return.
If any doubt remained over whether Colin Kaepernick cares whether he plays in the NFL again, these posts should put those doubts to rest. What these posts also reveal is Kaepernick’s breathtaking lack of historical knowledge. Slavery did not begin on the 4th of July, as Kaepernick implies here by referring to it as a day that “intentionally robbed” his ancestors of freedom.
The first African slaves arrived in what was to be America in 1619, no less than 150 years before Thomas Jefferson penned our rebuke to British tyranny. In fact, if you mark the beginning of slavery under the United States from the signing of the Declaration of Independence up through the signing of the 13th Amendment, which formally abolished it, slavery lasted 89 years under the Stars & Stripes. Significantly less than the 150 some-odd years that it existed under the Union Jack.
But to the point, the United States inherited the problem of slavery. It did not create the problem of slavery. Therefore, it cannot be said that the 4th is a day that intentionally or unintentionally robbed Africans and slaves of their independence.
A free black man was still a free black man on July 5th 1776, and a slave was still a slave.
Moreover, Kaepernick should be celebrating the 4th of July. The Civil War ended slavery in this country. If it wasn’t for American independence, and a union between slave states and non-slave states, then there never would have been a Civil War.
Sure, the English had aggressively tried to end slavery throughout their empire in the early 19th Century, and presumably would have attempted that here. However, how many Antietam’s, Bull Run’s, and Gettysburg’s do you think the English public would have endured before calling it quits?
My guess is not too many.
The tremendous irony in all this, or, at least one of the tremendous ironies in all this. Remains that Kaepernick traveled to a region that serves as the heart of modern day slavery. West Africa, specifically the Ivory Coast and Benin, are among the worst offenders when it comes to the practice of modern slavery. Both of those countries border Ghana, where Kaepernick traveled to denounce the United States, a country that ended slavery over 150 years ago after the most violent war in our nation’s history.
If Kaepernick’s goal was attacking the institution of slavery, and not at shaming the country that has given him everything, how much good could he have done as a wealthy, free black man, denouncing forced servitude right next door to the beating heart of the modern day slave movement?
Essentially, Kaepernick is experiencing the activist “awakening” period that most college underclassmen experience, after they’ve been duped by campus activists with bad ideas and historically inaccurate information. He’s just doing it at the age of 29 with an audience of millions.
And everything is dumber because of it.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter: @themightygwinn