Kente cloths worn by Democrats during a photo op last week have been verified as worn by African slave traders by a USA Today fact-checker.
A group of elected officials led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) presented their “Justice in Policing Act” on June 8th, patronizing black voters by taking a knee and wearing what one activist called “African garb” to honor the death of George Floyd.
The condescending move was widely criticized.
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One such critic, according to USA Today, was Facebook user Dave Brandon.
“Yesterday the Democrats wore kente scarfs and knelt down for their photo op,” Brandon posted. “So check this out, Kente cloth was worn by the Ashanti. It’s made of silk so the affluent wore it. The Ashanti were also known as slave owners and traders. Huh?”
Congressional Democrats take a knee as they observe a nearly nine minute moment of silence for George Floyd at Emancipation Hall at the U.S. Capitol. https://t.co/JnqDlzMFDq pic.twitter.com/8CBdgtLUjz
— ABC News (@ABC) June 8, 2020
Rep. Karen Bass, chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, explained to those not in the know that the Kente cloth is a symbol of heritage.
“The significance of the Kente cloth is our African heritage,” said Bass. “And for those of you without that heritage, we’re acting in solidarity. That is the significance of the Kente cloth – our origins and respecting our pasts.”
USA Today, using Brandon’s post as a platform, decided to dive a little deeper into the origins of the cloth.
“Kente cloth comes from the Asante, or Ashanti, peoples of Ghana and Ewe peoples of Ghana and Togo,” they reported, adding that the cloth was presented as a gift to “Asantehene Osei Tutu, the Asante kingdom’s first leader.”
Tutu introduced his subjects “to the gold and slave trades along the West African coast,” and the Asante “supplied British and Dutch traders with slaves in exchange for firearms” with some being “brought across the Atlantic whiles others stayed in Africa to work in gold fields.”
USA Today does note that the “Kente cloth has historical significance beyond slave traders.”
Kente scarves worn by Democrats were historically worn by rich African slave owners and traders. Oh dear. https://t.co/8wopYVxlPN
— Rita Panahi (@RitaPanahi) June 17, 2020
How bad is it that Democrats couldn’t even pull off a cultural appropriation photo op without screwing up the symbolism this badly?
Political activist Candace Owens ripped the lawmakers for making a mockery of very serious concerns in the black community.
“I have to say – I thought there was at least one or two things that the Democrats wouldn’t stoop to for the black vote, but there is apparently nothing,” Owens chastised.
“Dressing in African garb and getting on their knees for a photo op because it’s Monday, [and] only 4 months to November,” she scoffed.
USA Today reports that the Kente cloth does indeed have ties to the slave trade, but notes modern use has taken on a different meaning.
“Although kente cloth does have ties to slavery, it is more widely recognized as a modern symbol of pride in African American culture and pride in cultural ties to West Africa,” they write.
Can you even imagine what the reaction would be if President Trump tried to show solidarity with the black community by walking out to the Rose Garden in a Kente cloth?
Cross-posted with Mental Recession
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