American Independence Day for the non-White: To Be or Not To Be?

by S.A. Prince

There has risen within the American people a disrespect for the 4th of July. I was once among their ranks not that long ago. My ancestors were slaves. American Independence had nothing to do with us. I was angry and livid with those who could hold American Independence in high esteem.

Indeed we were slaves and the war for independence was not fought on our behalf. How had I not previously realized such a painful truth?

First, my parents never thought my siblings and I to think black vs. white. We were taught black history, but never were we taught to view our white contemporaries with content. My parents taught understanding, not condemnation. Kudos to them. We should all strive to be such parents.

Secondly, the aforementioned fact will never be admitted to, or addressed through the public school system. And why would it be? Another fact that won’t ever be admitted to by the government as they have an image to maintain, the genocide of the indigenous Indian. The government and its ivory pillars must do all it can to separate themselves from the stain that comes with its past transgressions.

Regardless of all I have mentioned, the many adequate reasons that blacks, indigenous Indians, and other groups harbor contempt for the government, we must find a way to see beyond it and forgive. July 4th is the Independence Day, and those who curse it, curse their own existence. They are in fact holding in contempt the very life of prosperity and decadence that they now enjoy. You are an American citizen.

We judge the men (typically the Founding Fathers) and the state of affairs at that time. Because those men do not fit our subjective agendas which hinge on our perceptions we judge them, those men who fell short of perfection as if the men now have somehow achieved it. We judge men who enslaved one race and exterminated another while our contemporary decadence has made this entire globe our heel.

How convenient it is to judge?! And while it is true, specifically of my black brethren that we do not own any ports, nor are we the agents behind imports, exports or trade, while that is true, it is also true that we like many other Americans condone and are implicit of those who are. We all bathe together in guilt, though some bathe in silence. Then we have the audacity to point the righteous finger of condemnation at American Independence and say, “That is not my Independence Day. My people were slaves.”

In 1787 a Philadelphia resident once asked Founding Father Benjamin Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got? A Republic or a Monarch?” Without hesitation Franklin replied, “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

Independence Day is not a day for merely celebration, but also for reflection. Those that show it angst by holding onto the bitterness of past generations, though their claim is sound and has legitimacy, fall short of understanding its true meaning. The 4th of July is a symbol, not only for America but for the entire world, even for those that suffer under the boot of our “diplomacy.” It is a challenge, a petitioning to those who would see the light, asking of them two questions.

What is freedom, and can you keep it?

Reflect on the 4th. Reflect on the symbol. It is your duty as a citizen of this country. Have we kept the Republic?


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