Former NFL player Colin Kaepernick decided to spend his Independence Day differently than most Americans by traveling out of the country.
He decided to travel to Ghana to do what appears to be a bunch of photo ops.
From Fox News:
Colin Kaepernick spent the Fourth of July in Ghana, where he traveled to find his “personal independence.”
The free-agent NFL quarterback posted a video on Twitter, asking, “How can we truly celebrate independence on a day that intentionally robbed our ancestors of theirs?”
Kaepernick posted a longer version of the video on Instagram, starting with a quote from Frederick Douglass.
He explained that he felt that he needed to go “home” to Ghana to find out where his ancestors come from…
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.
Here’s the tweet/Instagram post.
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
He then followed up with another tweet tagged with a quote from famed former slave turned abolitionist turned statesman, Frederick Douglass.
— KnowYourRightsCamp (@yourrightscamp) July 4, 2017
For those who of you (who are left in America) who have gotten this far and are saying “Colin who?” Here’s a brief rundown of why people care…
Kaepernick, who started a nationwide trend with his controversial decision to kneel during the pre-game national anthem to protest racial injustice in America, has not been signed by an NFL team since he opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers in March.
Some have suggested that Kaepernick is being “blackballed” by NFL teams because of his decision to kneel during the anthem
There are obvious problems with this publicity stunt. First being his co-opting the words of Douglass (a Republican) for his own cause (which is, what?!?) is pretty inappropriate given its historical context.
When Douglass uttered that statement in 1852 he was 34 years old, he had spent most of his life up to that point as a slave (he escaped the evil institution at the age of 20), and slavery was still well over a decade away from being abolished completely.
None of Kaepernick’s experience as an American justifies applying Douglass’s sentiment to himself. I would go out on a limb and suggest Douglass would probably agree.
Second, while it’s understandable and sympathetic to connect with our roots, the idea that Ghana is “home” is a slap in the face to the country he is a natural born citizen of (the same country that gave him the opportunity to be the celebrity he is today) and the people who really raised him.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to go there on Independence day, but it’s an insult if the trip is used as an opportunity to trash the country of your birth that has given you so much. If he feels Ghana is his true home then he could take his American fame and wealth and go live like a king there.