Once again its the 4th of July and millions of Americans, Black, White and everything else in between will be firing up grills roasting chicken, cow and pig meat. I have fond memories of celebrating past 4th of the July’s. I even fondly remember the times when I had to walk through the hood in my Cub Scout uniform and cats would throw fire crackers towards me as I made my way through the Virgos set and Fulton street areas to my Den meeting. (Yeah that’s life living in the ghetto. In order to get to a positive character building activity I had to walk through three blocks of gangsters and drug dealers-but that’s another story.)
I am proud to be an American. Even prouder to be an “AFRICAN” – American (*coff *coff #RayvenSimone) So like many conscious Afro-Americans I am conflicted about celebrating a holiday of a country that has actively enslaved then socio-economically oppressed my people for the past 250 plus yrs of its existence. Yes I’m fully aware of the righteous Whites who have attempted to help right the wrongs and correct the mistakes made during this countries history and this tempers my anger. I sincerely appreciate the fact that we have Anglo-Americans who at the very least try to practice tolerance and understand the sorrow and anger felt by Black America. Despite this we still have systemic racism in this country and it continues to hamstring Black people to the point we self perpetuate our own destruction.
Over the years I’ve used the fact my grand father fought Nazis in World War II, my father served in the U.S Navy, my brother in the U.S Army and my cousin fought in the 1st Iraqi war as reasons to celebrate the 4th of July but now more and more these feel like excuses to me. In these days and times I find my self even more conflicted by the 4th of July because the current state of popular American bigotry throws the past disrespects back in our face. Every time a court rules in favor of a cop that blatantly murdered an unarmed human it grows harder for me to pledge and salute that flag. When I see rabidly angry White people yelling ” Go back to Africa!! ” as if they’ve forgotten not only did they bring us here unwillingly but seem oblivious to the fact they themselves are immigrants, it grows harder to enjoy this holiday called the 4th of July. When I see a blatantly proactive racist so popular he could possibly become our next president it grows harder for me to think of this country as a place I can feel secure in and call home. I mean who would so eagerly take pride in a country that does these things to its people?
The consistent oppression and mistreatment of Blacks at the hands of White America has fueled this hatred and resentment.
This pic brings back a memory of one of my performances when the Rap group Project X and I.J.P (International Jah Posses) burned an American flag on stage -ahh my younger more radical days)
I don’t suffer from any form of #Stockholm’s syndrome so I cant implement the “#Uncle Tom” mentality as a defense mechanism (*coff *coff #BenCarson, *coff #Whoopi *gag #StaceyDash ) so I soberly deal with the painful reality of this countries racist culture and system. It is as if I’m in a dysfunctional toxic relation ship were I’m forced to live and stay with a partner that periodically insults and beats me. Like most victims of domestic abuse I find myself in a love hate relationship with this partner. I’m of course using domestic abuse as a metaphor and like most people trapped in an abusive relationship simply leaving or “Going back to Africa” is not a financial or physical possibility and in our case apparently there is no police man to call for help. So until our “#Moses” comes we must soldier on and do our best to make America a better place for all people to live in(because as we know other ethnic and culture groups have greatly benefited from the rights Blacks have fought & fight for). Today I’m forced to look at the 4th of July the same way I do Christmas. Even though I’m not a traditional Christian thus know Jesus was not born on December 25th I celebrate the winters solstice as a holiday for family and friends to get together and enjoy each others company. Its some what the same for the 4th of July at this point for me. So today I’m going out to hunt down some barbeque like millions of other Americans and sit and reflect on the state of American culture and politics this 4th of July.