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On Martin Luther King Jr. Day the Deuce Bigalow star tweeted a message to Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), suggesting he follow in King’s footsteps to not “give in to his anger or his hurt.”
Rep. Lewis. You are a great person. But Dr. King didn’t give in to his anger or his hurt. That is how he accomplished & won Civil Rights.
— Rob Schneider (@RobSchneider) January 16, 2017
Though Schneider’s advice might have been paved with good intentions, explaining King’s philosophy to Lewis, on MLK Day of all days, comes off as tone-deaf and ignorant of Lewis’ career as a civil rights activist. In the ’60s the politician served as a president of the civil rights organization the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and was a freedom rider who helped end desegregation on buses in the South.
Lewis also co-organized and spoke at the March on Washington, when King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech—he’s the last living speaker from the rally, having been 23 at the time.
Clearly, Schneider picked the wrong day—nay, the wrong civil rights leader—nay nay, the wrong living civil rights leader to try and white-splain King’s protest strategies to.
An hour later Schneider tweeted another message, possibly in reply to the criticism, quoting Cory Booker on love and patriotism.
It’s cool, folks: When in doubt of your criticism of a prominent civil rights leader, just quote another black politician to justify your stance.
Sorry, Schneider. Looks like your words of wisdom might be of more use to a distraught Adam Sandler character than the last living speaker from the March on Washington.
Samantha Grasso is a former IRL staff writer for the Daily Dot with a reporting emphasis on immigration. Her work has appeared on Los Angeles Magazine, Death And Taxes, Revelist, Texts From Last Night, Austin Monthly, and she has previously contributed to Texas Monthly.