Defining “Independence”: What Real Freedom Looks Like
Once again, it’s that magical time of year when the air is thick with grill and firecracker smoke and when we spend a good portion of the evening trying to figure out if whatever bang noises we hear outside are some type of firework or firearm. And with the fact there’ve been 250 mass shootings this year in the US up to this point, the need to know which sound is which is even more important these days.
I, myself, pretty much avoid crowds of people whenever I can, but this holds especially true when it comes to being in crowds of people where things are being detonated. That’s a “No thank you” for me, but I digress.
Scores of citizens gather around for baseball, booze, brisket, and for the sheer joy of blowing things to bits all under the banner of “America celebrating independence.” And, I’m definitely not here to shame anyone for going to the cookout or to a firework show. If that tickles your fancy, knock yourself out.
However, as I’ve covered in a previous podcast, we as citizens–but especially as black people–need to have full comprehension of what we’re being told and pressured to celebrate or rally behind. For example, it’s pretty much common knowledge at this point that Thanksgiving was never about turkey, friendly pilgrims getting along with the Indians, and giving thanks.
It is, instead, all about excusing historical white crime and about unifying the future generations of white people behind a unifying principle, even if that principle is a lie or if it’s a vague and innocuous one.
Take, for example, the 4th of July. The ideals expressed in the Declaration of Independence the Continental Congress adopted on July 4, 1776, are supposedly what all the fanfare and celebrations are centered around, but how many of us actually take the time to understand not only its verbiage at face value but also its deeper intent.
Now, I’m not going to sit here and rattle off the whole Declaration of Independence word-for-word to make my point, because it’s not necessary, frankly. You can check it out here for yourself.
Some grand exercise of intellectual Jujutsu isn’t needed in order to persuade people to fundamentally question the entire foundation of what this document is supposed to represent, which so many Americans–including the average unquestioning negros, unfortunately–have bought into. One only needs to ask themselves, did the people who contributed to the composition and ratification of that document own black slaves?
As is the case with the lionized and exalted depiction we’re fed of George Washington since birth, of him being some kind of crusader of freedom, it’s seldomly spoken about that he owned slaves. Not only that, those famous wooden teeth of his weren’t made of wood at all, they were the teeth of people he owned.
But, that noble and divine image fed to us about him is aggrandized because the white people who run this country understand giving the everyday, average Joe a central principle to galvanize and rally behind. Washington, much like how white churches commune around the image of white Jesus, was just the face of that principle.
Teaching, in school, that Washington owned slaves runs the whole “America is a beacon of freedom” notion. The powers that be need the people to go along with in order to justify their bottomless appetite for empire building–and it works. Making it widely known that Washington had slaves turns that notion on its head, though, which is why it’s an open secret.
Therefore, if those who wrote the DOI owned slaves, phraseology like “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” runs into the direct contradiction of owning other human beings as chattel.
Now, I already can see Mr. Average Joe Racists hopping in the comment section saying, “Well you see that was a different time don’t ya know and they were just men of their time and standards were different back then.” Yeah believe me when I say, that kind of response whenever I bring up the past crimes of the white supremacists sounds like a broken record at this point.
Just because it was a long time ago doesn’t mean it was right, and it doesn’t mean they didn’t know good and well it wasn’t right.
Furthermore, if you’re referring to a “Creator,” you’re referring to The Almighty, and the last time I checked, Scripture condemned the trading of human beings, especially when it comes to doing so on the basis of race.
Scripture also says “If a man steals an ox or a sheep and kills it or sells it, he shall repay five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep.” Basically, that means, if you stole something or if you benefit from a system that stole countless dreams and opportunities from a person or a group of people, not only do you need to pay back what you owe.
You also have to pay back what was stolen PLUS INTEREST to compensate that party for the time they had to endure without the debt being paid.
The Declaration of Independence also states, “In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”
Gee, doesn’t that sound like how when the descendants of American slaves demand reparations for slavery and for the economic deprivation the US Government had its big red, white, and blue hand in.
Yet, rather than being righteously compensated, the Freedman who petition and who advocate for the wealth generated through slavery to be returned to them, every presidential administration has met them with responses such as:
“Well how could America afford this?”
“Would they (black people) be able to spend all that money responsibly?”
And (my favorite), “Giving cash reparations would just sow more division in America.”
When the Afgan citizens needed help fleeing the Taliban and when they needed direct cash assistance when they got here, no one gave them those kinds of responses. The same holds true for what the current administration did for the Ukrainians in regard to their war with Russia. The same holds true when it comes to the financial compensation the LGBTQIA2S+ community was provided by the Biden administration to address anti-gay discrimination.
No one raises such questions when the reparations the Jews received in Europe are brought it.
Those kinds of questions, whether it’s from the general white public (on both the left and the right) or the federal government, only get asked when black people made demands for what they’re owed.
Just like how the DOI, which sings the praises of liberty and justice, was written by literal slaveowners who had the nerve to condemn oppression in its texts, we have a federal government who, in the past and the present, hasn’t adhered to the sentiments expressed in it, where black people are concerned.
Yet, that same government encourages the general public to celebrate this document in both the schoolhouses and annually in the backyard of people’s houses, as if it’s some holy and righteous cry of freedom they fight vigorously to uphold.
Family, let’s keep it a buck. When the Founding “Fascists” wrote the Declaration of Independence, they referred to terms like “oppression,” “liberation,” freedom,” and “the pursuit of happiness” in regard to their social position in the world in relation to the British at the time. Based on their actions in terms of how they participated in slavery and how their descendants kept the demonic system of flesh-trading in full swing, the DOI was not intended to be a declaration against the tyranny of Britain.
The whole reason the colonizers were sent to The New World in the first place was to collect resources on Spain, France, and Britain’s behalf.
The DOI was meant to make it very clear to Britain and to the rest of the world that they still believed in the conquering of the world’s people and resources, but that they’d found a better method (forced African labor) of accomplishing that. Basically, they just wanted a moral justification to get both the citizens to rally behind the mission of global conquest and to make it appear to other nations their intentions were noble in “seeking their independence.”
The colonizers had a method for empire-building juxtaposition to Britain’s methods, and they found it was highly more effective.
The colony elites wanted to overtake the empire Britain had, and they developed a system called “race” that enabled them to do so and to create the wealthiest nation that ever existed. And, that wealth was EXCLUSIVELY built on the backs of black people. Other ethnic groups were invited in later to build on the framework of America that already existed–and for the purposes of undermining us economically (which is still happening).
The free and forced African labor that processed and manufactured cotton and tobacco and that built America’s infrastructure is why this country has been so socioeconomically powerful for so long.
Now, family, I’m not gonna sit up here and crucify someone just for going to the cookout or for letting off a few Roman candles during this time of year. That said, celebrating holidays that reinforce notions and ideals to the general society that are in direct opposition to liberty and the right to fairly compete for your slice of the planet is not a victimless crime.
Going along with these kinds of celebrations signals to the rest of the public that not only are we unbothered and not outraged by the outright wicked and sinister contradictions both the DIO and the Constitution are peppered with.
It also makes it clear to America that we’re more concerned with not hurting white people and other ethnic groups’ feelings than we are about obtaining REAL freedom in this country–the freedom of having what we need to properly forge our own destiny.
Our brother #JaylandWalker was recently slaughtered by the Akron, OH race soldiers just last week. Not only was he unarmed but was actually running away when they opened fire on him. They shot this man 60 times. He was tortured and taken away from his family in the most sadistic and conscienceless way possible.
And from Atatiana Jefferson to Breonna Taylor, to Sandra Bland, to Sean Bell, to Oscar Grant, to redlining, to Jim Crow, to the Highway Act, to Mass Incarceration, to gentrification, this is the norm for how black people are treated in America. These documents and so-called, law-of-the-land policies we celebrate every 4th of July were forged in the depths of the boundless hypocrisy and the outrageous, cowardly need for power the very slave owners who wrote them held very dear to their hearts.
All that to say, these are things to think about the next time you’re grabbing a brew at the old ball game or when you’re taking off your hat to sing that ol’ Star-Spangled Banner. Regardless of what you tell yourself you’re celebrating, now you understand, fully, what the reality is.
At the end of the day, when white supremacy stole the wealth of black people in this country, it did more than just make them poor–and it’s done more than just keep us poor; it stole the hopes and dreams of millions of people and of their descendants.
One Love & One Justice,
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