The crimes against Black people in America are vast. Aside from the atrocious way our ancestors were brought into this country, one of the worst things to ever happen post-slavery is the way in which we have been conditioned to love and honor a country that has never loved or considered us. Still, there’s no debating the upside to being American. As many struggle to digest our complicated past and fight to secure a fairer future, it’s high time that we shed some of these brainwashed patriotic ideologies, especially celebrating the Fourth of July.
Granted, it may not feel like it’s that deep. For a lot of people, the fourth is nothing more than a day off of work or the official time to hold the infamous summer “cookout.” In the Black community, celebrating the fourth has arguably never been about America’s Independence instead repurposing the day as a time for rest, relaxation, and watching fireworks. Overall, the idea of celebrating the history of this country and commemorating its so-called founding fathers is absurd, especially when the legal and customary enslavement of Africans is one of the founding practices this country was built upon. The promise to pursue life, liberty, and happiness was never considered for people of color who were viewed as nothing more than property. In Frederick Douglass’s 1852 speech, “What To the Slave Is The Fourth of July?” he raises concerns that mirror exactly what we are witnessing in 2020. When police brutality and a system of injustice plagues this country, what business do we have celebrating?
Ultimately, do whatever you want with the day; that’s the beauty of being American. We are free to protest and criticize this country for its failures and strive to make it better. No matter how you choose to enjoy your day off, hopefully, you can eat good, rest or volunteer your time to a worthy cause.