I actually appreciate how on social media, many people remind us that July 4th, 1776 found Africans in America working for free, no more independent than they had been on July 3rd. It’s a fact worth remembering, and it’s part of what makes Juneteenth celebrations so important.
Did you know that for a time after emancipation in the American South, black Americans celebrated our own freedom on July 4th? I sure didn’t, until I read an article about it, and the efforts by white Americans to make patriotism great again by taking the holiday back from black revelers.
Not celebrating Independence Day is not a revolutionary act of resistance. On a personal level, it can provide a sense of satisfaction that we are remembering and acknowledging the ongoing struggle our ancestors faced, which survives in various forms in the present day. If you want revolution, however, you could donate time or money to some liberating action today. What I suggest you don’t do is pander on social media for #WokerThanTheRestOfYall credit, crowing about how you ain’t celebrating the oppressor’s independence, trying to shame everybody with melanin who likes barbecues and fireworks. Especially if all you’re doing is Netflix and chilling, or wasting time on Facebook and the ‘Gram.
Because celebrating Independence Day is not an act of surrendering to oppression. Many of us have the day off on a hot summer day. Spend it how you want. This is the day the Creator has made. Rejoice. Be glad. Holla at your families. Play some spades with Al Green in the background or something, if that’s what you wanna do.
Have a great nonjudgmental day, no matter what you choose.