It’s the 4th of July, and while it’s a national holiday in America, it’s truly the staple for cookouts, family gatherings, music, food and if you’re lucky, a paid day off from work in Black culture. It’s not uncommon to hear Black people reference “the cookout” or offer admission to this exclusive black rite of passage all year round. As with any colloquialism, the meaning behind an invite to the cookout is commonly known amongst most Black families leaving many to wonder exactly what it entails.
For most, it’s the one major event of the year where you can expect to eat good, be around most of the family, catch up on family gossip, show off your new boo for family approval, brag about accomplishments or get praised for your outfit of the day. By nightfall, if there’s liquor involved, things can tend to take a turn for the worst. Old family arguments begin, buried secrets come to light, and some people rid off their entire families for good. All in all, it’s an experience like no other and yet, why are we so willing to invite people who are not even remotely close to the culture into our sacred spaces?
Each time we hear about a non-Black person doing anything that resembles singing with a lil soul, having enough rhythm to dance or doing right by black people in the news; we automatically use our black card to invite them into our spaces. Ironically, we also whine, complain and call people culture vultures for appropriating our style, slang and way of life.
Make it make sense people. At the end of the day, it’s just a cookout until it’s not. Until we get the police called on us for gathering while Black. At some point, we need to understand that we too deserve exclusivity and don’t have to share access to everything we do. Has there ever been something that Black people have done that allows us to be invited in other cultural spaces or do we have to fight, protest and kick down the doors for admission? It’s always been so easy for us to be open to others and accommodating yet, it’s also one of our greatest downfalls. Everybody ain’t your friend y’all and at the cookout, we really just need to be surrounded by family.