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Chris Rock's 'White People's Day' Tweet Stirs Debate

Chris Rock Sundance Film Festival Headshot - P 2012
Larry Busacca/Getty Images

On July 4, the actor-comedian tweeted: "the slaves weren't free but I'm sure they enjoyed fireworks."

Chris Rock and controversy seem to go hand in hand (see: any comedian who consistently pushes the envelope of political correctness).

So he surely knew he would push a few buttons when he took to Twitter on the Fourth of July to post this tweet: "Happy white peoples independence day the slaves weren't free but I'm sure they enjoyed fireworks."

Cue the social-media backlash: While many Twitter users applauded Rock, others slammed him as unpatriotic.

PHOTOS: Hollywood's Twitter Feuds

"Dear @ChrisRock: Without July 4, 1776, December 6, 1865 wouldn't have happened," wrote one tweeter.

Jeff Schreiber, a libertarian blogger, replied: "Slavery existed for 2000yrs before America. We eradicated it in 100yrs. We now have a black POTUS." (He then dropped the F-bomb.)

Meanwhile, actors Don Cheadle and Zach Braff rallied to Rock's defense.

"Chris Rock was making a joke," Cheadle, who faced criticism from the Twitterverse for retweeting Rock's remark, responded to one such critic.

"If you don't think it's funny. ok. But keep it in perspective," he wrote.

In a statement to the Huffington Post, Elon James White, star of the web show This Week in Blackness, said: "I find this Chris Rock backlash absolutely ridiculous. ... I'm American. I never claim otherwise. I never give the 'we didn't land on Plymouth rock' speech unless [it's] in a really funny way. But part of being American, to me, is that I have to acknowledge all the bullshit that comes with it."

He added: "If more people were like Rock and acknowledged the truth, maybe we'd be in a better place as a nation."

Rock, whose recent film credits include What to Expect When You're Expecting and Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, is the executive producer of the upcoming FX series Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell.