Monday, August 10, 2020

Prominent Leftist Professor Misrepresents Frederick Douglass’ Speech, Leaving Out Key Lines and Ignoring Context

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In order to paint American history as wholly evil, leftist academics are often forced to rewrite history to further their own narratives.

On Saturday, Independence Day, that’s exactly what Ibram X. Kendi did.

Kendi, a far-left academic, the founding director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research and the best-selling author of “How To Be an Antiracist,” shared an “abridged” version of one of abolitionist Frederick Douglass’ most famous speeches: “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?”

As it turns out, Kendi’s “abridged” version of the speech made some pretty shocking omissions.

Namely, he left out most of Douglass’ praise for the Founding Fathers.

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Kendi tried to use the sentiments of a free black man talking about slavery in 1852, over ten years before President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, to help describe the turmoil that America is going through today:

Kendi’s “abridged version of the speech” was criticized by many other Twitter users, including Dr. James Lindsay, a mathematician and political commentator:


“The gall of this fraud to compare this nation in 2020 to how it was in 1852 and to use it to compare his own wayward and cynical mission to that of the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass. They do fancy themselves highly, these Critical crusaders, don’t they?” Lindsay wrote, referring to critical race theory, the academic school of thought pushed by Kendi that has played a major role in heightening current racial tensions.

At a time when proponents of the “systemic racism” narrative such as Kendi seem to be hypercritical of the Founding Fathers, it was noticeable that Kendi left out several lines that Douglass had spoken in praise of them.

“The signers of the Declaration of Independence were brave men. They were great men too — great enough to give fame to a great age. It does not often happen to a nation to raise, at one time, such a number of truly great men,” Douglass said.

“The point from which I am compelled to view them is not, certainly, the most favorable; and yet I cannot contemplate their great deeds with less than admiration. They were statesmen, patriots and heroes, and for the good they did, and the principles they contended for, I will unite with you to honor their memory.”

While Kendi did note in his thread that Douglass said he was “not wanting in respect” for the Founding Fathers, his omission of the majority of Douglass’ praise for them is far from surprising.

On May 4, Kendi showed his distaste for the Founding Fathers in an article for The Atlantic titled: “We’re Still Living and Dying in the Slaveholders’ Republic.”

“Narcissism has cursed America long before Donald Trump, long before the red hats, long before the white sheets, long before the gray coats, long before the slaveholding founding fathers of the Confederate States of America and the United States of America,” Kendi wrote.

While the ongoing protests across the country rage on in the name of the Black Lives Matter movement, many of the Founding Fathers have had their statues toppled.

Instead of desiring to build upon the legacy of the men who founded this country, many on the left now want to tear it down.

Maybe if more protesters and rioters on the left had read the words of Frederick Douglass, one of the most prominent black thinkers of all time, then perhaps they would change their collective tune.

“They were statesmen, patriots and heroes, and for the good they did, and the principles they contended for, I will unite with you to honor their memory,” Douglass said in 1852.

They’re words that today’s American left would do well to remember.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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