Why I Stopped Celebrating 4th of July
On July 5, 1852 , famous abolitionist Frederick Douglass gave his speech “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro” and during that speech he said "This Fourth [of] July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn.”
From a very young age I was taught that July 4th, 1776 was America’s “birthday” and that we as Americans celebrate every year to show appreciation of the freedoms we have in this country. Even at a young age I still wondered about how being black in America doesn’t offer you the same freedoms as your white acquaintances. To be black in America means to be enraged at the lack of safety we feel in this country and people were telling me to celebrate that. Well, as you could tell I was extremely confused.
There’s nothing to celebrate about the overtly racist prison system, police brutality or the fact that slaves weren’t even free until 1865. Yet, this country still deems it perfectly okay to celebrate these factors. In fact America should be ashamed for being so hypocritical and constantly trying to hide its dirty past instead of dedicating a day for celebration.
I made the decision to stop celebrating 4th of July once I was old enough to opt out of family gatherings and I don’t regret it. The more I learned about this country’s roots in racism I refused to continue the celebration of the hypocrisy and white privilege. The foundation of this country is on the backs of native people and slaves who had zero rights, but with a constitution stating: “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.”
All men are created equal? This is the hypocrisy I’m talking about. All men weren’t equal then and aren’t equal now, but yet people still want me to celebrate a holiday that continuously showcases black people’s inferiority in this country. Nice try. When Thomas Jefferson wrote that statement he didn’t mean the hundreds of slaves he owned were on the same playing field. Jefferson wrote that for white landowning American’s and his definition of that statements holds true today.
July 4th is suppose to celebrate the freedoms of American citizens, but a country can’t have a celebration of that when the only people who can enjoy those freedoms are white. When racial disparities are still in effect from the creation of this country, that doesn’t mean we have barbecues and dress in colors of the American flag.
If anything that calls for action. Action to call out America’s hypocrisy and to educate on America’s true history during this day.
So, no I did not celebrate 4th of July this year and I won’t be celebrating any year after this one. You can’t be shocked if the celebration continues from a country that still considers Columbus Day a holiday.