DO BLACK PEOPLE ACTUALLY HAVE A 4TH OF JULY? NO, THEY DO NOT (604 hits)
By Dr. Boyce Watkins
July 2, 2011
When I think about the fourth of July, my mind is motionless. I donít get happy, sad, angry or thoughtful. As a 40-year old man, I canít even get excited about the fireworks anymore. The holiday means as much to me as the birthday of my biological father who abandoned me at birth. In fact, I donít even know what day he was born.
The fourth of July has quite a bit of meaning for our nation at large, of course, given that it was the day on which the Declaration of Independence was signed. Black people were still slaves on that day, which highlights the core of persistent American hypocrisy as it relates to race. All the while, one has to respect the courage shown by Americans of all ethnic backgrounds who fought against the tyranny of the British to create the powerful nation in which we live today. If we actually had the courage to live up to the ideals of those who gave their lives for freedom, weíd be a much better country because of it.
For African Americans, we donít quite have a true fourth of July. This is not only because the original fourth of July took place while we were still slaves, but because we have not yet earned our independence. Of course, we obtained some semblance of freedom in 1865, after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation; but being free is far from being truly independent. Despite the fact that slavery ended long ago, the descendants of our historical oppressors still control nearly every dimension of our lives:
1) Large corporations like Viacom and Time Warner control major black media outlets like BET and Essence, giving them the right to shape our collective point of view. We depend on these companies to tell us what to think.
2) Most African Americans are controlled by corporate jobs that mute their ability to speak out or stand up on issues of social justice. We depend on companies owned by others in order to feed our children.
3) Black childrenís minds are obliterated at an early age by media giants who mass market hip-hop music that sells black boys a recipe for self-destruction by the time they reach kindergarten. Capitalist and shareholder-created monstrosities like Lil Wayne teach them how to kill themselves and each other by the time they become teenagers.
4) Our children have their futures thrown into the trash by school systems that put even the most brilliant black boys in special education at a rate that is five times greater than white kids.
5) The NCAA still earns over a billion dollars per year on the backs of black families, leaving many single black mothers in poverty. In fact, athlete compensation has been criminalized, while mostly white coaches and administrators sign multi-million dollar contracts without playing in any of these sporting events.
6) Black unemployment is nearly double that of white Americans, with no politician in Washington expressing any interest in alleviating the suffering with targeted policy. We depend on politicians and a Democratic Party that fills our minds empty rhetoric, while not respecting us enough to deliver on campaign promises.
The most glaring sign of our lack of independence is the prison industrial complex, which has served to decimate the black family in America. Black men are disproportionately incarcerated and used as slave labor to make expensive corporate products. In fact, the 13th Amendment, which allegedly abolishes slavery, actually includes a clause stating that slavery is still legal if the government can label you as a felon.
So, part of my ambivalence toward the fourth of July doesnít rest on hating others or carrying the crippling burden of acidic anger. It comes from the fact that I know that my people are at least 100 years away from gaining their independence. Consider me to be a pessimist, but when I look at the world around me, I see very little freedom for black people.
Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition. For more information, please visit http://BoyceWatkins.com.
Are you blaming a legal holiday for your choice to feel sorry for your self rather then trying to use your limitless powers to learn about your father and your birth date??????????????????????????????????????...
shame, shame, shame for promoting we are so lazy we must wait for someone, anyone but the "I" to do for the "I" but the "I" to accomplish what the "i" refuse to do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!(nup)
Wednesday, July 4th 2012 at 2:38PM
Dr. Watkins is not actually wrong...he does have some good points on some things...example:
Black Americans can vote like Whites and Other ethnic groups yet Black Americans are still portrayed terribly and the majority are poor. So really what is there to celebrate???
...oops ,y bad for tinking someting existed called...
BLACK POWER...GUESS THE MAN NO LONG ALLOW US TO HAVE THIS EITHER...(N...U...p)
(OFF TOPIC, zIMMERMAN JUST MADE BOND WITH ALL OF THAT MONIES WHITE SOCIAL MEDIA PROVIDED HIM FOR EINFORCING THE LAWS THAT IT IS LEGAL TO KILL BLACK MEN...AND MAYBE THIS IS WHY THE MAN NO LONGER 'ALLOWS US TO HAVE BLACKPOWER BUT BLACKS OCILA NETWORKS TO SPREAD THEIR MESSAGE?????????...
Thursday, July 5th 2012 at 12:21PM
Did anyone hear the 4th of July speech of FedrickDougless today read by Dr. eric Dyson? (smile)
Friday, July 6th 2012 at 12:19AM