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.