A catch-22 on July 4th
Blacks celebrate Independence Day despite second class treatment
By: Cory Alexander Haywood | 7/2/2015, midnight
“What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants brass fronted impudence; your shout of liberty and equality, hollow mockery.” —Frederick Douglass (1852)
In a few days, the masses will commemorate America’s day of independence by firing up their grills and launching off fireworks into the night air. For at least 24 hours, the spirit of patriotism will neutralize the animus brewing between Whites and Blacks due to a slew of racially motivated incidents that have occurred this year. Ironically, people of African descent cheerfully partake in the festivities associated with July 4 despite America’s extensive and well-documented history of racial discrimination. The most recent chapter of this narrative resulted in the death of nine African American parishioners at the hands of a psychotic, Confederate flag-waving White supremacist in Charleston, S.C. Couple this massacre with the ever-looming threat of police brutality and excessive force toward minorities, and it creates a simmering stew of heightened tension. As a result, the various channels of social media have become flooded with alarming images of the American flag being mutilated by enraged, embittered Black radicals. These cage-rattlers seem to have a poignant message for Uncle Sam: “Take patriotism and shove it where the sun don’t shine.”
“F America. This country ain’t done s for me, my family, or for Black people, in general,” says Wynton Johnson, 31, a 6’5 security guard whose dream of playing professional football evaporated after he was wrongfully convicted of grand larceny and sentenced to five years in a maximum security prison. “I have a better chance of being shot by the police than getting a job from some White racist who can’t even stand to look at my face during an interview. F the flag and f the crackers who made it. To them, I’m going to always be a n* first and an American second.” He continued, “The people in my neighborhood can’t find a job, and it’s not because we ain’t looking. When we walk into a building to look for work, the White people can’t stop staring. Why should I be patriotic when my kids can’t depend on their daddy to provide them with the finer things in life—the s Black people can only dream about, or steal.”
Johnson, a father of three, currently resides in Compton, Calif. His apartment complex sits in the heart of a gang-infested, drug-addled neighborhood where gunshots echo in the wind and ghetto birds (helicopters) can often be spotted hovering over a crime scene. Johnson says his living environment is “like a warzone” and that he dreads playing host to his children during their weekly visits.
“It ain’t safe for my kids where I live—too many drive-bys,” he explained. “They stay with their grandma. It’s only temporary until I find some work and a better place to live. I do security, but that hardly pays my rent. I ain’t looking for no handouts. But I could use some help.” He added, “It’s funny, all I gotta do is drive a few miles north and I’ll eventually end up in Beverly Hills where all the rich White folk are. That’s how it is all over the country. Blacks scratching and scraping to survive while White people watch from a distance counting all the money. I don’t have time to be patriotic. I’m just another n trying to survive.”