It was finals week. I was just days away from completing my sophomore year of college. As I was cleaning my room, I couldn’t help but look one last time at the pink obituary lying on my dresser. It had been lying there for almost two months, and there was a sense of freedom associated with school being over that gave me the space to finally reflect on my grandma’s death. So I read her obituary and scanned the pictures in it again as if I didn’t know who my grandmother was. Maybe I didn’t.
My grandma died in March. I didn’t cry about her because that’s not how I choose to express my grief. I didn’t become filled with some unresolved anger due to us not having a closer relationship. Actually, I couldn’t properly grieve about her at all because stress from school was too overwhelming for me to focus on losing my grandma. It wasn’t until a month after the funeral (during the last week of school) that I started to heavily reflect on my grandma’s life and legacy. And an integral part of her life and a lasting memory of mine that I’m still pondering is her battle with mental illness. During our last phone call, she was in a manic state when her caretaker’s son informed me that she was about to take her medication.
Since I’ve been alive, my grandma had bipolar disorder. I never knew my grandma before she became mentally ill, but it was by simply reading her obituary that I discovered she had an accomplished life that seemed to not be overtaken by mental illness. LaDonna Davis graduated summa cum laude from high school, went to college to study business and worked her way up to becoming the youngest manager in the history of First Federal Bank’s loan department in Detroit. She was also active in her church community. I was impressed by what I read. In fact, I learned more about LaDonna Davis, the woman, through an obituary than I did knowing her as my grandmother, which is sad, to say the least. I guess I never fathomed her life outside the boundaries of mental illness.
As I glossed over her achievements, I didn’t see any paragraph about her mental illness. No one even mentioned it during the funeral. This surprised me because her mental illness was a significant aspect of our relationship, but I later realized that maybe her illness wasn’t a factor in her relationship with others. As a child, I knew that there was something wrong with her. However, “something’s wrong with grandma” never translated to her being bipolar. No one voluntarily told me. I guess you don’t just voluntarily tell a child that a family member has been mentally ill. I guess it’s something that’s not talked about in many black families. I guess you don’t just talk about someone’s failing mental health to a sanctuary full of family, friends and strangers. No. And I guess you don’t do that in a space that warmfully embraces the practice of recommending prayer over therapy.
As I glossed over her achievements, I kept wondering how did those achievements translate to mental illness. How did making the dean’s list and having a successful banking career end up in a life that was scarred by bipolar disorder? Did she get it after she had my father? Before? All of those questions raced in mind as I tried to pinpoint the moment she became mentally ill. Then I had an epiphany— being successful and seemingly having it “all together” and being mentally ill aren’t mutually exclusive. My grandmother could have made the Dean’s List and graduated with high honors while battling her mental health. It’s likely that she could’ve been dealing with it as a child and never received proper treatment.
It’s also likely that the church couldn’t help her. Throughout her life, LaDonna Davis was a member of several churches, even serving as a Sunday school teacher at one of them. She was a diligent servant in Detroit’s African Methodist Episcopal (AME) community. She could’ve been mentally suffering while being active in the church.She could’ve been suffering silently because mental illness is typically dismissed as “a sign to go to God and pray” in black churches. And maybe her illness was something that couldn’t be fixed by only God. Maybe God couldn’t fix it at all. Considering these things, I’d imagine my grandmother being frustrated that a mental illness was starting to consume her life.
Maybe that’s why her heart gave up and stopped beating—— because she was simply tired of being in a battle in which victory wasn’t imminent.
And maybe that’s why I couldn’t cry about her death—— because the desire for freedom when fighting a mental battle without a subtle victory is a feeling that’s too familiar for me.
I don’t know how long I’ve battled with depression. I do know that my teenage years have been engrossed by it. Thanks to High School Musical (1,2 and 3), I thought my teenage experience would be fun and carefree. Instead, it was filled with a lot of pain. In college, it became worse. I started isolating myself from people and settings that would likely make me happy because I thought people would eventually find out that I wasn’t “ok” on the inside. I still do it.
I often feel empty and alone because I’m not enjoying the “best years of my life” as I thought I would. I felt uncomfortable at the only college party that I’ve been to (I basically just sat there and acted as if I was on my phone the entire time). I rarely hang out with people, and I don’t have a close group of friends that I would even hang out with. When I see photos of my peers enjoying college with their friends, I instantly want to cry because I desperately wanted those things to happen for me. I always envisioned myself of having a close circle of friends that mirrored something like “Girlfriends” or my auntie’s crew of best friends. And I thought it would happen once I got to college. Instead, my depression exacerbated itself to the point in which I became used to being alone even though I wasn’t satisfied with it.
I tried seeking a therapist through my school’s CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services) program twice. In scheduling my appointment, I was met with a man whose inability to pronounce my name accurately for 15 minutes overshadowed him making arrangements for my appointment. When he finally got around to making the appointment, I was discouraged by having to wait two months before meeting with a therapist. My busy schedule with school and work ultimately made me forget about the appointment, and a $15 fee was immediately billed to my account again.
That was the last time I sought therapy through my school. Although my school boasted about their psychological services, my experience certainly didn’t match what they were saying. It was in that moment that I realized college wasn’t the place for me to focus on my mental health. The standards set by some teacher that are often hard to attain makes it difficult for students to focus on things other than school. At least that’s what it felt like when my grandmother died. I had two projects and an in-class writing assignment that interfered with my chances of attending the funeral. Honestly, I was going to skip it because travelling to another state for a funeral felt like entirely too much for me to do, considering my workload. College doesn’t just give you a week off from school for bereavement. Missing a week of classes ultimately means risking your grades. But I knew that I couldn’t miss my grandmother’s funeral, and I knew that not attending meant more than just keeping my grades and being able to work on projects. It meant that I couldn’t be in Detroit to emotionally support my dad, auntie or great-grandma. Thus, without any sleep, I took the earliest flight to Detroit and returned the same day.
I know that sounds ridiculous, but school obligations would only allow me to miss one day. That was it. In retrospect, though, I wish I had more time to be with my family and grieve (or simply just think) about my grandma’s death.
As I prepared to move out of my apartment, I looked at that pink obituary on the dresser again. I scanned it for ten minutes and thought about how my grandma transcended her mental illness. I thought how maybe her mental illness actually didn’t define her. I thought about her strength. I thought about the many ways in which I saw myself in her. I thought about how she never neglected our relationship, although I could never hold a phone conversation with her due to her illness. I also thought about how I almost neglected her when she needed me because I was too busy with school. In almost neglecting her, I neglected myself by not giving me the space to properly think about my feelings,which is a trend that I’ve practiced since I’ve been in high school. I’ve finally realized its pernicious effects.
LaDonna Davis was only 63-years-old when she died, and I couldn’t help but think about the stress from her mental illness and other health issues that led to her death. It’s something that reminded me of how weathering, a condition in which physical and emotional stress tears on the bodies of marginalized communities, impacts black women. It makes them more susceptible to chronic diseases and makes them age earlier than their white counterparts. I think that was a factor in my grandma’s death. I don’t want that to be a factor in mine.
I threw the obituary away. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to deal with my grandma’s death. It was because I knew that the best way for me to honor my grandma’s legacy would be to confront my mental health with at least half as much of the strength that she had when battling her mental illness. And I can’t do that by just reminiscing on pictures in an obituary; I have to act on it.
Erica Garner's death reminded me that I'm not ready for my twenties.
I’ll be 20 years old this year. Twenty. That scares me. It’s not merely because of my fear of adulthood, but it’s more concentrated on the fear of approaching black womanhood. Initially, I imagined that I would spend my twenties “Living Single”-ing it up—thriving in melanated magic in a Brooklyn brownstone with my black friends, having a bombass journalism career, living my life to a Frank Ocean playlist. I pictured myself as an independent and level-headed character like Khadijah James (Queen Latifah), who was mainly doing all three of those things (Frank Ocean could be replaced with Sade or any other prolific 90’s R&B artist during that time). Or, I could be “Insecure”-ing it up— being a mix of Molly and Issa while having love interests in a regular rotation, basing by experiences off of SZA’s “Ctrl” and living in a black middle class neighborhood in Los Angeles. I still fantasize about living in both of those realities.
Last year, however, I realized that there are ugly realities associated with black womanhood that I’m not ready to face. It’s more than just the regular-degular things that come with being an adult like bills, employment, and more bills. My fear stems from maternal mortality, domestic abuse, sexual assault, and other issues that plague black women at alarming rates.
Consider Erica Garner. Out of all the deaths related to white supremacy that have been amplified by the Black Lives Matter Movement, Erica Garner’s death hit me the most. Her death was the culmination of my realization that living in black girl magic is too often confronted with hardships that contribute to the erasure of a black woman’s existence. It wasn’t just the stress of her witnessing her father being placed in a chokehold by the police which prompted him to scream “I Can’t Breathe” that contributed to that realization. It wasn’t the narrative of black women sacrificing themselves for black liberation movements that wasn’t a stranger to Erica Garner. It wasn’t her surviving intimate partner violence while pregnant. It wasn’t even her suffering major complications post-pregnancy that later resulted in her death. Instead, it was a combination of all those things that increased my fear of approaching my twenties. Thus, Erica Garner found herself at the intersection of many avenues of structural racism that ultimately inhibit black women the most, and that is something that I’m not ready to encounter.
When I was younger, I always dreamed of having a lot of kids (six was the maximum). Being the only child hasn’t been easy, and I wanted to ensure that my children would never lack having a big family. At 16, I reduced that number in half partially because I’ve realized that I don’t like children past the age of four and mainly because they’re just too expensive. Now, my thoughts on motherhood have drastically changed to me being content without having any children. While those aforementioned reasons still remain true, I’ve become aware of the startling maternal mortality rate for black women that has discouraged any thought that I’ve had on having a child.
Last fall, I read in Essence Magazine about the death Kyira Dixon Johnson. At age 37, she was accomplished and travelled across the world. She was also the daughter-in-law of the Hon. Glenda Hatchett who had her own television series. Last year, Johnson was pregnant with her second child and was scheduled for a C-section in the top-tier hospital of Cedars-Sinai. It was the same hospital where Beyonce would give birth to twins nearly a year later. According to the article, Johnson was also in perfect health which is why it was a huge shock to her family that she hemorrhaged to death. However, it was a situation that could have been avoided if she received the proper care.
How could highly-rated hospital be dangerously inattentive to the care of a patient, especially one who knows their own body? I asked that same question after reading Vogue’s interview with Serena Williams, in which she detailed some complications of her pregnancy. The tennis star, and arguably the greatest athlete of our generation, had to plead with physicians to care for her pulmonary embolism that was making her short of breath the day after giving birth.
I also read the scathing report by ProPublica that detailed how structural racism impacts black motherhood. According to the report, black mothers die at more than triple the rate than white mothers and are still at an startling advantage when considering factors like poverty and low educational attainment. But nothing stunted my pregnancy dreams than this statistic that explains everything—black women are 243 percent more likely to die from childbirth or pregnancy-related issues than white women.
Being raised in the black church and in a family that’s predominantly Christian, marriage was always the goal. Most of my childhood and teenage years were spent (are often still spent) listening to messages about how my virginity would lead me to the prize of marriage in which I would experience a limitless amount of love and happiness from a husband who found me worthy of being a wife. I believed it. So, in every relationship that I was in, I entered it with marriage as the goal. Yes, before the age of 16, I seriously thought I would happen to meet my soulmate. Some people do. However, I’ve realized the pernicious effects that mindset can have on a young girl.
Those sermons that I consistently heard throughout my upbringing failed to mention that women don’t need men to reach their happiness. Although those messages didn’t explicitly say the contrary, it certainly implied it by associating my happiness to how I’m perceived by men and God. At 19, I’ve finally understood I am not defined by what goes inside of me and how many men I decide to be with. My identity is controlled on my own terms.
Thus, when Ciara posted a video on social media of John Gray preaching those same toxic messages that I grew up on, I became frustrated by the constant oppression that women face within the four walls of the sanctuary. However, the sad part about the entire situation was the many women who still amplify their support of it. Black women are the backbones of the black church. They are the nurses board, choir directors, and Bible Study teachers. Black women are also among the most religious demographics in the nation. They give their lives to churches that don’t thoroughly support them, and most black women seem to be content with that. The only reason why preachers like John Gray continuously sell these “singleness sermons” is because the target market—black women— isn’t in jeopardy, and it’s perhaps the greatest finesse of all-time.
This current realization of having agency over my own happiness included the my newly found agency over my body. With the agency that I’ve tried to have over my body, I can’t help but notice the menacing glares from men who examine it as if it’s theirs. I’ve been receiving these stares for a while, and I’m still not used to it. No, hiding my ass and thighs won’t do the trick because somehow, men find a way to take control of my body. Furthermore, why should I have to hide parts of my body to tame a man’s bad behavior? That’s the very reason why the #MeToo movement exists today. However, while the #MeToo movement has benefited wealthy white actresses, it hasn’t quite served justice for the many girls in the black community who’ve had to experience sexual assault at a young age. Because of racism, black girls have learned to carry their pain without any recognition because we know the damaging effects that white supremacy has on our men. R.Kelly is a perfect example of this, but, in this case, there has been decades of evidence against him targeting young black girls for his toxic behavior. However, he still gets to sell out stadiums and featured on songs. The #MeToo movement certainly showed whose pain matters and who gets to be a victim.
Realizing these things at 19 years old has been a telling experience of how much I’ve grown, and I’m ready to explore more issues in my twenties. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t say how discouraging all of these things are. How am I supposed to make my own happily ever after when there are many obstacles that prevent black women from having one? Erica Garner was only 27 years old when she died and didn’t get to experience a remnant of a happily ever after. I can’t help but attempt to tie her life with mine because she’s only eight years older than me. What does this mean for me, at 19? Will I get to live my happily ever after? Will I be able to have children? Will I be able to find love without the problematic messages tied to it? More, importantly, will I be able to have my dreams fully realized without the burden of white supremacy sabotaging them?
As much as self-care has entered the mainstream conversation amongst black women as an essential act, it’s still a hard task. I actively search for self-care routines on social media (shoutout to that 21Ninety newsletter that hits my inbox every morning) in an attempt to prove to myself that I am really trying to take better care of myself. However, I realized that I can’t take time to care for myself without loving the person whom I’m caring for.
There are times when I feel so alone that I'm minimized into this caricature that is undeserving of love. For years, I’ve brainwashed myself into believing that it’s totally fine for someone to neglect me as long as they show an ounce or even the slightest glimpse of love or support. I would be too busy trying to give others the love that I wasn’t giving to myself just to have it not reciprocated in the end. And, I was ok with that. I learned to be ok with that. I taught myself that it was ok to be disrespected as long that person shows (or has shown) that they love you. I taught myself that I wasn’t worth the respect and acknowledgement that I deserved. Simply, I was taught to unlove myself by showering others with the love I wasn’t giving myself.
Yesterday was my breaking point. I’m writing this at 3 A.M. because I’m finally done with the lethargic task of loving others for the expense of myself. I’ve cried, been overwhelmed, second-guessed my worth, and spent over $200 at the grocery store within the past eight hours because of my foolishness in allowing people to blatantly disrespect me. I hate how I finally realized it now after years of being indirectly slapped in the face by people whose hits travelled beyond my external.
I’ve lost a valuable relationship. In fact, now I’m not sure if it was that valuable. Nevertheless, when she and her mother came into my life, I was ecstatic that I could finally have a friend who had the same ambitions as me after years of feeling lonely. Her energy was so magnetic that I was so sure that we would be the best of friends. Because we had the same goals, we decided to go into business together in an attempt to reach our ultimate goal that we knew was going to be monumental in the city of Chicago. However, it seemed like our business goals would be focal point of our conversations during the rare occasion that we did talk to each other. In fact, she was more of a business partner than she was a friend. Most of the time, we didn’t talk at all. Unread texts seemed to become more than just an “Oh, I forgot”, but I dismissed it and made excuses because I knew that deep down inside there was no malicious intent involved.
Thus, when her mom basically did the same thing to me by not acknowledging me as apart of her team for her business, I dismissed that too as an oversight from a very busy woman who had too much going on to acknowledge lil ole’ me. Even after the first time it happened, I was still on board to do whatever she needed me to do for the next event, knowingly leading myself to be unacknowledged again. Welp, it happened again, and I was still ready for the next event, up until yesterday.
Prior to yesterday, though, I received a call from the mom. I thought the call would be an explanation of why I wasn’t included in her acknowledgements and recognition for my work during the event, but it was for something totally different. It was about the issues I am having with my mom (another post for a different day). She lectured me on what I was doing wrong and urged that I should do better. Although I listened to her wisdom, she caught me off guard a bit because this is her first time calling me…..like ever. I found it weird that our first phone conversation would be about how “terrible” I am as a daughter. She’s never called to see how I was doing before or to simply talk to me although she claimed I’m like a “daughter” to her. Still, my “yes, you’re right” after the advice she gave proved I was willing to overlook that in order comply with what she was telling me.
Her daughter, my “best friend”, followed up with an unexpected text yesterday (two days later). She basically said that she couldn’t be friends with me anymore because I’m not “of God” and she was disgusted by the way I was treating my mom. She mentioned that we couldn’t be “best friends” because she couldn’t be associated with someone who’s having problems with her mom. This also blindsided me because our last line of communication was me inviting her to an event and her never getting back to me about her attendance. Our line of communication is usually like that-----me texting her, and she not texting back-----when we’re not talking about our next event. However, it has progressed recently, and I’d hoped our relationship would get better. Nevertheless, I told her how I felt while still (ironically) invalidating my feelings when she explained her reasoning. Then, she abruptly ended the conversation and blocked me from her social media pages. Her mom just unfriended me on Facebook and stopped following me on Instagram.
Prior to this, I never received a phone call or text inquiring how I felt regarding the situation with my mom. It would have been nice to receive a "Hey, sis. Is everything ok?". They were immediately ready to dismiss me once they heard my mom’s complaints. And just like that, I’ve been made to seem like the “bad guy” because I tried to express how I felt. Why did I invalidate my feelings when talking to her? Why did I continue to be in a relationship in which reciprocity or respect for me clearly didn’t exist? Why was I so distraught when they dismissed me from their lives and social media realm?
Because I wanted them to like me, and I failed at doing that. Unfortunately, I’m inherently a people pleaser; I will do whatever it takes to make someone like me, even if that means it costs my self-worth because I’m not used to people taking interest in me. Whenever that tiny spark of interest presents itself, I do anything in my power to keep it. Too often, black girls overwhelm themselves by trying to be everything to everybody else when they do nothing for themselves, and they end up with so much pain because of it. That’s how I felt last night. Among the array of emotions of feeling overwhelmed, betrayed, and utterly disrespected, culpability plagued my mind. I couldn’t sleep last night because I had this guilt that felt all too familiar. Amid the hurt I felt, I managed to continue to make myself the culprit and victimize them. That was just another act of me invalidating my feelings.
I refuse to consistently neglect my feelings. No longer will I allow myself to be a doormat for somebody else’s ego. I can’t continue to sacrifice myself so that others can feel good about themselves. I matter. I am important in this world. My existence warrants some respect, and I’d be damned if I risk losing my confidence again just to garner attention.
While self-care is a necessary work, self-love is even more important. I’m in a new phase of my life, and I can’t allow anyone to get in the way of my quest for happiness and inner peace. Unsurprisingly, I’ve lost a lot of seemingly meaningful relationships along the way. I’ve learned to be ok with that because if people can’t like me in this journey of self-discovery, then they weren’t intended to be in my life at all. They were only a roadblock to happiness.
It's been a week since I attended the 21Ninety's second annual EmpowerHer conference. It was truly a life-changing experience that I will remember for the rest of my life. I remember the day that I bought my ticket, and I thought I wasn't qualified to attend. Thinking to myself, "I'm only a college student; I'm clearly too young; I haven't even accomplished the least of what these other women are doing." I really doubted myself and almost made me believe that I didn't have the credentials to attend. However, I made the right decision in purchasing the ticket because I've learned so much, but, more importantly, I learned that I am a creative (regardless how comfortable I am in saying it) and I have the tools necessary to take myself to the next level.
There were many gems dropped, and I've been reflecting on them throughout the week. Ok, I've actually thoroughly reflected on them only on today. My summer job is very stressful, so it really drains my energy and creativity, so I haven't appropriately set out time to think about everything that was said at the conference. But, because I have this weekend off, I can concentrate deeper on the notes I took.
SELF-CARE IS THE BEST CARE
One of the most important pieces of advice that I learned was the emphasis on self-care. Nearly every speaker spoke about the importance of having a routine simply for yourself. "Living your best life" was the theme of the conference, and you cannot live your best life if you don't start off your day right. I'm really trying to do this. Since I've been out of school, my daily routine has been limited to working out, re-watching "Girlfriends", and a shitty job that has really gotten the best of me (the first two are good aspects of my routine; the job just makes me not want to do those things and more, sometimes). I really dread going, so I just have this gray cloud lingering around me in the morning. However, I realized that if I just got up a bit earlier in order to have this sacred time to myself before going into work, my energy won't be wasted on the tasks at my job.
Zim Ugochukwu, founder of Travel Noire, talked about her personal morning routine. She mentioned how her routine includes reading the Bible (and other books related to it), eliminating distractions (especially social media) and meditating. She discussed how the day will flow easier if you have this time for meditation before going into work.
BE YOURSELF AND THE COINS WILL FOLLOW!
Another gem that I learned was the importance of being true to yourself and brand. Kyra Kyles, the former editor-in-chief Ebony, talked about this during the Black Women in Media Panel (the one that I was obviously the most excited about). She addressed the question of thriving in predominantly white spaces by stating that you simply have to be strong in yourself in order to withstand any degree of oppression within the work environment. From a journalist perspective, she talked about how you need to be strong in yourself regarding your money. With the recent layoffs at Huffington Post, TIME Inc., ESPN and Ebony, freelance has unfortunately become a reality for writers. However, freelance doesn't imply free, and Kyra Kyles expressed that (and was received with a giant "YAAAAAAS" and a couple of snaps from the audience). She said that you don't have to beg for your money. Writers deserve to be compensated (I will definitely reflect on this as I further my career as a writer). Collect them coins.
Lena Waithe, producer (whom I just love watching on "Master of None"), touched on how it's ok if you don't have all the coins. She mentioned that being your talented self will trump money, "If you want to be viral, go be great". I learned that I shouldn't be too concerned about what's in my bank account when creating, especially as a college student. If I just be myself and do the best with what I have, the success will come.
YOU'RE NEVER TOO YOUNG
I think the biggest lesson I learned from this powerful conference is that you're never too young to start your career. Before going to the conference, I really wanted to link up with college students because I knew there weren't going to be a lot of us there. With no responses to my request, I knew that I would probably be the youngest attending the conference. It was a bit intimidating at first because there were so many creators and innovators that I felt I couldn't compare with at all. I know comparison is literally the worst thing to do, but it's hard no to when everyone else is older and more established than you. However, it was refreshing to hear "Wow", "You're on the right path", "Keep goin' girl!" when I told people that I was 18 and just finished my first year of college. I think being the youngest in the room was an advantage because I could soak in all of the wisdom and knowledge from women whom I aspire to be.
Written on July 4, 2016
Initially, I was going to title this post, "Independence for Who?", but then I realized I should go with a more subtle approach.
This is the first time in my life when I realized the significance of the Fourth of July-----there is none. Well, not for blacks, at least. Monday, I did not celebrate the patriotic holiday, and I knew why. I spent the day reading the works of Frederick Douglass, Audre Lorde, Malcolm X, and Assata Shakur. I realized that I spent my entire life celebrating the holiday and not knowing why.
Granted, the holiday represents the birth of this "great" nation and the end of British control. I can respect that. The various taxes and acts enforced by the British proved to be highly ludicrous. The frivolity of those acts and taxes deserved the "No taxation without representation" cry from the colonies. It simply was not fair.
However, it was downright hypocritical for Americans to take pride in that holiday in 1852, when Frederick Douglass gave his acclaimed speech, when they subjugated an entire race for years under hate and the manipulation of Christianity. How can one celebrate and have pride in a national identity when the existence of slavery characterizes that same identity?
That question still holds. It is still downright hypocritical to celebrate Independence Day in this modern age. Independence remains selective. Black males are disproportionately represented in the prisons, while Black females seem to always be neglected and at the bottom of the totem pole. The disparities that black people face today make them among the lowest numbers in all aspects of humanity.
In the 2014 book by Monique Morris titled, Black Stats: African-Americans by the Numbers in the Twenty-First Century, the following demonstrates the disadvantages that blacks face:
- Forty-two percent of black children are educated in high-poverty neighborhoods in contrast to the six percent of white children.
-Black television writers are underrepresented by a factor of 2 to 1.
-Thirty-two percent of juveniles arrested are black youth.
-Most of the nations worst food deserts are disproportionately located in cities with a high percentage of blacks. (Detroit-83 percent).
Does that sound like freedom and independence to you ( not to mention the statistics other minorities)?
In the word of Frederick Douglass, "What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?". Though we are departed from the slave labor of our ancestors, blacks are constantly reminded that they are second-class citizens. We're not free until we all are free.