America Independence Day
America is divided, and always has been, over race, but I believe that America will eventually change. The death of George Floyd and the reaction across the country and the world have given me hope. Darkness cannot stand the light. The light of scrutiny on American policies and its history of mistreatment of African Americans has never been brighter since the days of Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights movement. Also, America is divided politically like never before, at least since the 1960s. Nothing of real substance is getting done in Congress that will last the current Presidency except the Stimulus packages, which have resulted in trillions in debt that will come to haunt us in the future. It is management by fire and chaos and leaves truly little time for real policy work to get done, and to make matters worse; it is an election year. We have never been so polarized politically and socially, and we can thank our 116th Congress and President Trump for this toxic environment.
This is the real state of Union this 4thof July or White America Independence Day. The state of the Union is massive debt, high unemployment, the need for actual immigration policy, criminal justice reform, police reform and budget restructuring, and cultural and de-escalation training. We have a growing and out of control homeless population and no solutions, huge disparities in education, housing, banking, lending, wealth, and the worse race relations since LBJ, which is at an all-time low. The President does not have a foreign relations policy that seems to be working anywhere and cannot maintain a cabinet to run the country. Just about everyone has quit or gone to jail or is being investigated and will eventually be going to jail. To top it all off, the Presidentwas impeached by the House. That is the state of Union. Happy 4th of July!
For African American’s, we just celebrated our independence on June 19th. We were told that we were free on June 19th, 1865, 2.5 years after the EmancipationProclamation. Slavery started in 1619 on the tobacco fields of Virginia. We served white people on the 4th of July, 1776, and were 157 years in the slave trade at this time. Our families separated, our fathers and sons brutally enslaved and mistreated like animals and considered personal property. Our mothers and daughters were beaten and raped and made in domestics workers and sexual entertainment for the plantation. Master or forced to pick cotton from sunup to sundown. On the 4th of July, we could have been on the menu somewhere in the South. The human barbeque burned at stake or hanged on a tree for trying to run away, depending on the mood of the crowd that day. So, the 4th of July is not our Independence Day as African Americans.
Since our freedom in 1865, African Americans have been a minority and outnumbered by white Americans. According to a few estimates, we were 4 to 7 million strong at the time of our freedom. Today we represent only 12% of the population, approximately 40 million strong and only have the political power to pick the President in states where there is a large black population and many delegates for the Electoral College. Where our real power comes into play, especially in cities with a large black community, is in electing governors, mayors, district attorneys, police and fire chiefs, school boards, tax assessors, city council members, etc.. Our power is not national it is local. To get anything done for African Americans politically or socially on a National Level, it will be through the courts and legislation. It has been that way since the emancipation proclamation. Locally we need to go to the polls. Nationally we need to sue the Federal Government, and that is a long road to justice. Will the change we need to see in America come quickly? Of course not. Not in our lifetime but maybe for our grandchildren.
Young white and black American children are growing up in a new America that is quite different from their parents of the 40s, 50, and 60s. Many are in integrated schools, so it will be difficult to hate someone you know and becomes your friend. We all know that hate is taught at home and at school. Also, many are in interracial marriages, and so they see themselves as black and Asian, or black and white or black and Mexican or Latino. Black is the dominant gene and forces them to acknowledge their African American heritage. Thirdly, children are highly intelligent with tools and resources most Americans in their 50 and 60s never had. I wish I could have asked Google or Siri a question when I was in school or had a computer at home. So they are smarter and more informed people. Racist are ignorant people. Fourth, they are more engaged politically and socially thanks to the internet and know and understand what is happening in the world. Fifth, they are also more liberal and tolerant and have hitched themselves to the Black Lives Matters movement because they believe that all lives matter and that Blacks Lives are getting a lousy deal in America.
It is our youth that makes me hopeful about America and that our best days are yet to come. Despite America’s racist history, African Americans continue to strive to make significant contributions in the United States and the world. We are magnificent and powerful people who know how to rise from adversity. So, we celebrate America’s independence and pray that America truly learns what freedom means for all people and not just for White Americans.