Independence Day

Independence For Who, Exactly?

July 4th, 1776...the day the "Thirteen Colonies" became these United States of America. I can see it now; our red-white-and-blue flag flapping in the young, gunpowder-filled, Pennsylvanian air. Fireworks exploding in the great black sky above the liberated colonists, gathered together in brotherhood and patriotism. Men—northerners and southerners alike—are blasting their rifles and six-shooters to the stars in jubilation. Women—proper and improper—are kissing men in the streets in celebration. Young boys are smiling from ear to ear and young girls are giggling and laughing uncontrollably. Words like “freedom” and “independence” and “liberty” collapse, like a waterfall, from the lips of the youngest of babies to the most wrinkled of the elderly.

Joy, relief, and pride are painted on the faces of all…

Except, of course, for three or four million African people held in bondage…

Forced to watch as the white, slave-owning population celebrates their newfound freedom from a British tyrant. Imagine being shackled at the hands and ankles in cold iron with a whip cracking at your back. Meanwhile, the “slave owners” that shackled and whipped you, clothe themselves in righteousness in the face of a foreign dictator. The audaciousness of the ancestors of the modern-day white person truly knows no bounds.

Simply put: The Fourth of July didn’t mean a damn thing to black slaves in 1776, and it shouldn’t mean a damn thing to black people now. The reason being is that we cannot afford to get it twisted—we’re still slaves, living and dying on the corporate and social plantation, the only difference, though, is we are more educated than ever before. Understand that Independence Day was never meant for the black person to enjoy, just like the Declaration of Independence’s second sentence…

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Considered as mere property, black slaves were not human beings in the eyes of the law of the land, so Jefferson, the principal author of the Declaration, could not have been talking about black people when he penned that sentence. Consequently, it should come as no surprise that before final approval, the Second Continental Congress was cognizant of the incongruity in the original Declaration’s wording. So much so that they altered some of the phrasing therein, as well as deleted about a fourth of the draft, including a passage critical of the slave trade. Obviously, this action was taken to hide their pretense, as many of the Congressmen at the time were slave owners, including Jefferson.

British author and abolitionist Thomas Day (1748-1789) criticized the gross hypocrisy of the white American man, writing in 1766…

"All free men are created equal: If there be an object truly ridiculous in nature, it is an American patriot, signing resolutions of independency with the one hand, and with the other brandishing a whip over his affrighted slaves."

I couldn’t agree more with the above quote.

America’s Independence Day is a big ass slap to the face of every black person that was ever born and raised in this country. Every July of every fucking year, blacks stood in silence…because it wasn’t our day; it was never our day. The only thing more tragic than that, I think, would be a black person born in the month of July—which, I’m sure, is a lot of people, or worse, born on Independence Day itself…yeah, that’s a mind-fuck for real. Now to the blacks who disagree with everything I just said up until now, to you, I simply say, “WAKE THE FUCK UP!” You’re honoring the memory of a not-so-distant past where blacks were truly less than nothing in sense of the word, while every white person around them spoke admirably about freedom from an oppressive force. Famous quotes and phrases like, “No taxation without representation!” and Patrick Henry’s “Give me liberty, or give me death!” echo those righteous indignations.

And yet, black slaves—black people, perhaps the most oppressed human populace in the history of the world (even with respect to Jews and Native Americans), are extended no regard of any kind at a time when liberty and freedom were at the forefront of the white mind unlike ever before. It is quite clear this nation’s “Founding Fathers” and their host of teeth-decayed, wig-wearing, God-fearing, white American racial elitist fellows wanted to claim their national independence AND still amass a fortune on free labor. The selfishness of these people is very much akin to the timeless English proverb, “You can’t have your cake and eat it too,” meaning you can’t expect to retain and preserve your cake for any significant length of time if you eat it; once you eat it, it is gone forever.

When I think of how the black slaves must have felt on the first Independence Day in 1776, I ask myself, “Why the fuck are we, as black people, celebrating this nonsense?” I wonder, though, if the situation were reversed, how would white people feel? Would they celebrate Independence Day with blacks, even though their ancestors CONTINUED to be enslaved by them 89 years AFTER the country liberated itself from a foreign power? God, I can already see the colorblind racist comments to this were it a Facebook post…then again, I expect nothing less from the anti-black personality in 2017 and beyond.

What have black people accomplished since this nation started to stand on its two feet? Well, we were newsworthy as fuck in the 60’s and 70’s, with the Civil Rights Movement and Blaxploitation films (although white Hollywood screwed us on those too, of course, but I digress). What else? Black music (and later poetry) has been a therapeutic platform for black people, but more so after we first got lashed with the whip. But it makes sense because we have got that pain and suffering shit down to an absolute science. Centuries of tears in response to beatings, black baby alligator feedings, ‘buck-busting’ (rape of enslaved black men by white men), floggings, burnings, relentless anti-black media and propaganda, hangings, police brutality, President Nixon’s “tough on crime” initiative and President Reagan’s infamous and ongoing “War on Drugs” campaign, the destruction of the black family, failure of black education, FOUR CENTURIES of slavery with a sum of zero in restitution and/or reparations…all that has seeped into the pores of black men, women, and children. It is our subconscious. The rage screams at us at every second, all the time, from the furthest recesses of our minds; when we sleep, eat, innovate, create, destroy, fight, fuck, love, dance, sing, pray, don’t pray, kill, laugh, smile, and when we go home after a routine traffic stop…or don’t.

We accomplished a ton in music, but how could we not, we got that pain and suffering shit down to a science, soul music was extremely prevalent in the 70’s. We had just gotten our asses handed to us after losing three “black kings” the previous decade, so we were all fucked up in the head. Apart from hockey, we produce the most dominant athletes, at every level and in every sport, in the US and abroad.

The fathers of black intellect, social commentary, forethought, and self-empowerment are always taken from us prematurely...

  • Medgar Evers
  • Malcolm X
  • Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Fred Hampton
  • Huey P. Newton
  • Tupac Shakur
  • Christopher Wallace

And, violently so. Every name you see above this sentence now is the name of a legendary person that was ASSASSINATED…MURDERED…and KILLED by white fear, or in Malcolm’s case, black hate.

Nobody in the world has our predicament. So, because something unique was done to us, something equally as unique must be done for us for race relations in this nation to progress forward. Until that debt is paid and paid in FULL, I will never give Independence Day respect it deserves, the white men who ‘founded’ this country didn’t do it for people who look like me so why the hell should I or you?

Obviously, people will claim I am only allowed to “rant” this way because the First Amendment in the US Constitution affords me the right to do so. To that, I say, “OH PLEASE?!”

The First Amendment doesn’t really apply to me or any other black person not really. Look at what happened to Colin Kaepernick for voicing, and PEACEFULLY demonstrating, his outrage over the gross acts of police brutality in 2016.

Now, in 2017, he has, essentially, been “blackballed” as no NFL team will sign him despite being a quality quarterback in a backup capacity. The backlash he received was alarming, to say the least from NFL owners, executives, racist and “coonish” players (former and current), all of which paled in comparison to the vitriol of angry white fans. The sad, but overwhelmingly clear, truth is that black entertainers and athletes are the new, modern-day slaves, as they are not allowed to speak on any social or political issue that takes hold of the nation for any period. The only reason I can say all I just said in this article without fear of a backlash is because no sports franchise, television network, or film studio pays me. What is more to the point is that the white men who wrote the US Constitution in the first place did not EVER, in their natural born lives, foresee another white man emancipating black slaves just 87 years later.

I’m not calling for a national July 4th boycott (that would never work, we’re not loyal and committed enough to each other for that), I’m saying we simply don’t need to celebrate it. It's just another goddamn day. If someone says “Happy Fourth!” to you, simply reply back with, “Happy White America’s Freedom Day!” That outta grab them by their hidden cultural and racial white guilt if they have any.

Dre Joseph
Dre Joseph
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Dre Joseph

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