Yesterday while folks were enjoying their hamburgers, hot dogs, and fruit salad on Independence Day, comedian Chris Rock was busy angering some white folks with a little Fourth of July humor.

Rock always pushes the racial envelope and America’s birthday was no different. Instead of sending a mundane “Happy Fourth of July!” tweet, Rock had something else in store.

“Happy white peoples independence day the slaves weren’t free but I’m sure they enjoyed fireworks,” the comedian tweeted.

While his tweet made the rounds on the black Twitterverse, getting cyber daps from many, predictably, some white folks weren’t too happy with his joke.

MSNBC has a nice round up of Rock’s haters:

Jeff Schreiber, managing editor of libertarian-conservative blog America’s Right, tweeted “Slavery existed for 2000yrs before America. We eradicated it in 100yrs. We now have a black POTUS. ‪#Go (expletive) Yourself.” Schreiber later followed up with, “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.”

While some chimed in and were offended by Rock’s “unpatriotic” comment, several people of color understood his stance.

On more than a few occasions I’ve had conversations with friends about whether or not it’s even right for black folks to celebrate America’s founding, which wouldn’t have happened at all if it weren’t for the free and forced labor of enslaved black folks.

Either way, in the span of 140 characters Chris Rock was able to both push buttons and cause folks to think twice about what it means to be American.

Do you feel ambivalent about celebrating the Fourth of July? 

  • http://gravatar.com/motrenaissance motrenaissance

    Thank You Chris Rock

  • http://twitter.com/Clnmike Tonton Michel

    “Slavery existed for 2000yrs before America. We eradicated it in 100yrs. We now have a black POTUS. ‪#Go (expletive) Yourself.”

    (•_•)

    ( •_•)>⌐■-■

    (⌐■_■)

  • http://www.myblackfriendsays.com myblackfriendsays

    No, I don’t feel ambivalent about celebrating the 4th of July.

  • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com African Mami

    Val….your opine would be is urgently need in this post. Looking forward to it.

  • Nuck If You Buck

    White people went from, “We’re really sorry about that, but can we please pretend it didn’t happen?” to “It wasn’t OUR fault you were slaves.” 0_o I can’t decide which way of thinking is worse…hmmm…both. Yes, I say both are worse.

  • Kenzy

    he stated a fact!!! nothing is wrong with that …i smell white guilt as to why some are up in arms

  • Shabazz The Great

    I also posted this on HuffPo…
    1776 + 1863 + 100 years of Jim Crowe = What the he## would someone Black be “celebrating”?

  • CurlySue

    I’m white and this Tweet doesn’t bunch up my panties in the least. I don’t think criticizing a dark time in a nation’s history means you’re unpatriotic. That’s one of the freedoms we’re allowed as citizens. You can realize your country isn’t and was never perfect and still appreciate it.

  • Honest

    Thank you Chris Rock. You just said what I was thinking. And right on CurlySue, appreciate your comment.

  • Child, Please

    Soooo, y’all celebrate Juneteenth, then? And I take it no one enjoyed them a good backyard barbeque yesterday? I really don’t understand where this animosity toward Fourth of July is coming from; I haven’t heard it in years past and want to know why this has just now come about. Either way, I wish I could have properly celebrated the Fourth with fam and a good slab of ribs!

  • YB

    He told the truth. What’s there to be mad about? I’m going to save his tweet and use it as my wallpaper for the rest of July. :)

  • Mr. Man

    @Child Please

    If you couldn’t do the BBQ with the fam on the fourth then make arragements to properly enjoy your fam on the 6th, the 7th, the 8th…

    Actually all the national holidays are suspect, after some research you’ll be side-eyeing all of them…..

  • http://gravatar.com/nolakiss16 binks

    When you touch on the true, people tend to be mad…hmmm a few people’s privilege is showing…. but no the fourth of July isn’t big within my family

  • http://eviehuxtable.wordpress.com Evie Huxtable

    It’s truth. Frederick Douglass even spoke about it in his amazing speech “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” back in 1852. It kills me that it’s oh so progressive for whites to run around protesting Columbus Day and Thanksgiving because it’s celebrating the oppression of Native Americans, but a black person says something similar about the Fourth of July and the pitchforks come out.

  • http://gravatar.com/testmftest testmftest

    I’m a white girl. I don’t take offense – he just said something that was true. Its not like he’s the first person to say it (Frederick Douglass, anyone?). We need to stop pretending that our country wasn’t riddled with contradiction from the moment it was founded – a nation of slaveholders clamoring for freedom. Some of them saw the contradiction and turned against slavery. Most didn’t. Some blacks and whites had loving relationships. Most didn’t. Its complicated and ugly, but its at the core of our founding, and I don’t see the point of sweeping it under the rug.

  • http://www.iriseben.com Iris Eben

    @Evie. So true.

  • Bee

    Go on head and speak that truth, Chris. Nothing wrong with that.

  • Rastaman

    Truth is a mofo!!

  • Child, Please

    Mr. Man, your suggestion wasn’t necessary as you don’t quite know my life. I would like to know from those that seem to not give a damn about a Holiday that’s been around for quite sometime why they don’t celebrate the one that does celebrate black dependence. (Funny how that part of my comment was overlooked). We don’t enjoy the holidays we have, but are quick to diss the ones that exclude us.Again, why not celebrate Juneteenth?Do people not know what that is? It’s no different than complaining about Black History Month being short as opposed to educating people or yourself on your own history. I’m sure Chris Rock was a barbeque his damn self!

  • http://gravatar.com/earthbeauty earthbeauty

    SIGH. Whenever our Nation takes the time, pauses, and we ALL together LOOK at this Era, aka The Birth Of Racism, we wont have an issue like this. We need another “Roots” moment. Get historians and professors and go state by united states how African-Americans and Euro-Americans existed-leaving nothing uncovered-and purge ourselves.
    How in the f@%k can a white person be invoked into anger-or even guilt about a Slavery remark, joking or otherwise??? If we could go through the purge that I just mentioned, all negative emotions and feelings would dissipate and be replaced by compassion. For ourselves and each other.
    Good for Chris. This is simply a cry for Consciousness. That we can not and are unwilling to do. But we eventually will. Oh, we will!

  • http://www.facebook.com/valentine.joseph.33 Valentine Joseph

    THIS

  • SilverFox13

    If you look at what he said, “slaves weren’t free”, is a true statement. The weren’t free. They were probably cooking and serving the food for the white fokks celebration.

    Blacks weren’t truly free until the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and still suffer some forms of discrimination , although illegal and covert, to this day. So any white folks that take offense to what Chris Rock said are “Guilt Trippin” about something their ancestors did….IMHO.

  • stellaxo

    completely agree..
    funny, i saw a post on tumblr that reminded me a little too much of the reactions to rock’s statement

    http://kissmytumblrsass.tumblr.com/post/26249757958/dyungin-damn-this-is-so-true-and-powerful

    i guess sometimes people are too prideful to admit certain things.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ronnie.brown Ronnie Brown

    We?

  • NCR

    Yes He’s right. But hell if not going to celebrate The fourth of July because black weren’t free I might as well not celebrate the day the emancipation proclamation was signed because according to this logic WOMEN weren’t seen as equal and weren’t able to vote until some 45 years later.

    It’s just a holiday. Mr. Man is right, most holidays are suspect anyways.

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  • Marisa

    Well its not like he’s lying lol, lets be real during that time all the authors of the Declaration of Independence and all Man are created equal jive most had slaves and dont get me started on Jefferson. They used blacks to help win that war against the British and what became of blacks right back to the fields and some more slaves were brought over.Thats a fact that cant be disputed and I dont care if it was 200 years ago and we got Barack Obama and Michelle Obama as President and First Lady, alot of what went on racism wise has been passed down generation to generation. Sure its illegal to hang us from trees and burn crosses on our lawns, and make us use different facilities but,all that says is that the racist tactics had to change to fit the times. The older I get the more I pull away from the Fourth of July,I grew up with it in the south being this huge thing but,come on as black people thats a big elephant in the room. This holiday didnt change the circumstances for blacks, and Thanksgiving is another one

  • Fuchsia

    I don’t celebrate Independence Day. I celebrate fireworks. It just happens to fall on the same day. I would have been one of the slaves that enjoyed every last firework regardless of what the white folks were celebrating. That’s why Chris Rock’s tweet was so hilarious!

    I pity those with no imagination. I’m sure white people that don’t think about what it was like to be in their ancestors shoes would never get a joke like that. As we accept our truth and remain thankful for the things that have changed we are truly the free ones now, just as the angry and guilt ridden are slaves to their very own shameful past.

  • YouFancyhuh?

    Before stepping out of the box, and moving abroad, I too felt the US was a sham in how they treated their people of African descent. But, living in South Korea has forever changed my opinion of my country. There are certain freedoms that we have in today’s world, that others will not have the liberty to enjoy. Don’t forget the past, but please don’t poison the future.

  • jamesfrmphilly

    white people are incapable of feeling guilt….

  • MsZMC

    Americans act as if you are SUPPOSED to be patriotic.. I just cant. This country has done so many horrible things to others in the pursuit of personal gain, I cannot just wave my flag and yell about how proud I am to be American.

    As far as the 4th of July, Thanksgiving, and other “holidays” that really were not intended for people of color, I dont feel very patriotic in why Im celebrating them, but I do attend festivities. I haven’t quite figured that out yet…. Its really hard to break tradition, especially considering they were celebrated for so long before I was educated on what those holidays really stood for.

  • Apple

    Curly sue you white?? I never knew!

  • http://clutchmagonline John

    ?White guilt?? I don’t think so. Every nationality, race, and gender has been discriminated against. Blacks aren’t the only ones. But the rest of us look to the future and not to the past. It’s over and the perpetrators and victims are all gone. As should the animosity.

  • http://clutchmagonline John

    Why should one feel guilt for something that isn’t my fault? Do you feel guilt for black crimes?

  • Janubie

    Yes I do celebrate Juneteenth :-)

  • Scarlett Ohara

    But where was the apprecaition?

  • Scarlett Ohara

    Soooo, people NEVER pissed about a lie?

  • Scarlett Ohara

    Marissa, do you not have anything to be thankful for? That must be extremely difficult for you. And if you didn’t live in the United States, with both the good and bad, your life would be much different. I am just curious, where in the world would you find a perfect nation that would allow you the freedoms you enjoy here?

  • Scarlett Ohara

    “White Folks” are just tired of having The United States bashed by those like Chris Rock that enjoy the freedoms and opportunities, and wealth that come from being an American citizen!

  • Scarlett Ohara

    Well thne….NO ONE can be patriotic, EVER, if we apply your logic. Look at the Africans that sold their brothers and sisters into slavery, (and still do today!) and the Germans, and the Egyptians, and the Irish and the Chinese and Japanese. EVERY culture has a history of slavery and/or evil-doing. So we should just all skulk around with our heads down and be ashamed of the entire human race?

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  • Jenn

    All the victims are gone. Riiiiight, you know sharecropping was legal until the 1960′s right? The practice of having someone work your land for *nothing* and entrenching the family in debt bondage until there was no way out? And this is blatant labor exploitation. We’re not even talking about your casual everyday racism that still chains people of color.

  • Bunni

    So, the same white America that laughed when Chris Rock said whites would not trade places with with him (meaning being Black) are now ready to crucify him for telling the truth? We were not free when the Declaration of Independance was signed, and for those in denial about race relations in this country, tell that to the families of Trayvon Martin, Yusef Hawkins, Michael Griffith, Amadou, Diallo, Emmet Till and the four little girls killed in that church bombing. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg!

  • I love everybody but am sick of being blamed for being white

    You can’t blame every white person for slavery….. I would estimate about 10% of the current white population even has a blood relation to an early American slave owner. I am a fourth generation German- Polish American, no slave owners in my family and my grandfather came here to escape the Holocaust. Yet I am still sneered at on daily basis for being white…..who is really being racist?

  • Shelly

    He didn’t blame anyone for anything…all he said is that this holiday isn’t for us. He has always been my favorite comedian.

  • Jess

    @I love everybody but am sick of being blamed for being white

    blah blah blah blah, yadda yadda yadda yadda

  • http://Yahoo.com Donald Greaves

    Personally i like Chris Rock, he is amusing and a successful actor
    He can’t help it he was born Black.
    You must realize the amount of stress black celebrities have to live with just to prove they haven’t sold out to the man.
    So yeah he has to put on a good front to impress the homies,
    cause you know how they are,
    turn on him like a pack of Rodney King fans.
    No honor among Thieves or Blacks.
    Peace Out.

  • CurlySue

    @scarlett. From what I’ve seen of Rock’s standup, he is an equal opportunity offender. And he’s never come off as someone who hates his country

  • CurlySue

    @Apple: lol indeed I am white. I bring it up in my comments only when pertinent. Nothing is more annoying than every comment starting with “Well this white girl thinks…”

  • Kam

    Sneered on a daily basis for being white, lol?! Well hon you sure don’t want to be black then.

  • Kam

    +1
    Frederick Douglass said it. But that part gets left out of the history lesson.

  • d

    Evie

    They only do that because most of the Native Americans are dead.

  • Ms. Information

    Your America is very different from our America…that is what your hubris won’t let you see…especially as a white woman..please.

  • d

    Scarlett:

    Go back to Tara.

    No one is speaking to you.

  • http://twitter.com/raybozz Raybozz (@raybozz)

    It’s just comedy people. If you don’t think it’s funny then don’t laugh but to be offended??? Please!!!!

  • http://none Running Water

    What made you White? Are you willing to give it back, for what you really are?

  • Tori D.

    How does telling the truth (that Blacks weren’t free when “independence” was declared) equal bashing?

  • Grant

    Racism to you is feeling uncomfortable. Your livelihood and self-worth as deemed by society has never been negatively affected by your race. You benefit from being white because of the logic and socialization behind African slavery in the first place: black people being less than white people. If you can’t understand that you’re either ignorant or stupid.

  • Grant

    Scarlett, you need to take your passive aggressive nonsense elsewhere. When you have a nation, that from its birth has espoused ideals of individual freedom and liberty for all men, including that all men are created equal, while still aiding and promoting the trade of human beings as mere property, you have reason to be suspect. If we as Americans are to hold everyone else to such high standards, why can’t we look at our creation, and historical journey and see how we may not be the ones to call any other country out on their shortcomings until we TRULY make amends for our own.

  • http://[email protected] Leonard Smalls

    Brother Rock, interesting comment; however allow me to add the following:
    (i) you are correct in your assessment
    (ii) we (Coloreds, African-Americans, ect.) have sacrificed enough for this country and need not be apologetic about our views;
    (iii) we need not worry that others groups do not share our views as we do not need nor desire their approval;
    (iv) your people agree with you 110%; and
    (v) Rock on, brother.

    P.S. Just for clarity, I choose not to argue about race, color, and justice with non-group members. I do not need to “win” them to my point of view nor am I interested in forming any lasting alliances with non-group members. Where our interest overlap we can for temporary alliances; however, where they do not overlap we will not compromise our goals. Our struggle has been a long one and we need clarity of thought and clarity of vision in order to succeed going forward.

  • Sha

    He’s a comedian. Like mike epps, kat williams, and eddie murphy he puts things out there to get a ruse out Of people. I don’t think he was trying to start a political debate. It was a joke…

  • Marisa

    Whatever freedom I enjoy was off the backs of blacks who had to fight tooth and nail for freedom that supposedly we all Americans had a right to. Wait a second that July 4th document written by slave owners who maintained slavery for another 90 YEARS. Then there was that lil problem for black people known as Jim Crow. The Civil Rights Act which finally gave blacks rights such as to vote didnt happen til the 60′s. So dont come at me with there is no perfect country. The United States denied rights for so long that there will always be two Americas seen through different eyes. Thats a fact America could have done right by ditching Slavery when they ditched the British. That didnt happen The Man kept that degradation that is felt today. The United States government had to be forced to give rights,so you dont get credit for being forced to do the right thing.People keep downplaying what went on or flat out lying as if blacks immigrated here like the Irish and Italians PUh-lease

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  • omoiwalee

    follydays are for those who beleive in the illusion fantasy and folly of the “american horror show. caucasians people are more pitiful than anybody else because they won’t look at the truth of their evil past and always say forget about those things that happen years ago but on the other hand want the world to celebrate with them their so-called greatness and so-called heroe from the past. so caucasians stop the hollywood bullcrap and acting as if everything is now okay. you have been given hundreds of years headstart and so many special programs yes immigrant caucasians too that it could fill a library one such book “how white folks got so rich” the untold story of american white supremacy will give you a little insight if you really care to be honest and stop having so much false pride i know its hard to tell the whole story on your mommy and daddy but what then still affects everythig today

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