Today marks the celebration that the Second Continental Congress unanimously adopted the Declaration of Independence, announcing the colonies’ separation from the Kingdom of Great Britain. Today, I ask you, what to the Black Woman is the 4th of July?
The 4th of July is a day celebrating a founding document of this nation, primarily written by a man that repeatedly raped a young enslaved Black girl, all while declaring 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.”
The Declaration of Independence only reflects to me the pain of being a Black woman in this country. It helps set the tone for how Black women are seen in this nation. On the one hand, this country speaks of equality. On the other hand, its founders raped Black girls and women. Black women are always caught between a rock and a hard place, tethered to White people and their false, weak, and lukewarm whims of attempting to do the right thing.
This country spoke about happiness when the happiness of Black women was never a thought when these documents were written. The happiness of Black women was not a consideration when Black women were brought to this country in chains. Black women were never brought here to pursue happiness, life, or liberty. Those things were immediately stripped from Black women. Black women were unwillingly brought to this country to work in fields and homes, to be raped, abused, beaten, bred, separated from their families, humiliated, and endure medical malpractice, torture, and abuse. Our families were divided up like apple pie and sold down the river. Black women have suffered from humiliation and embarrassment. Black women stood naked on auction blocks and watched this nation pick our bodies apart, being sold to the highest bidder for whatever they fancied. Black women were humiliated for our skin color, lips, and hip size, yet this nation built an empire trying to imitate what we were given naturally. We were subjected to playing wet nurse to your babies when we couldn’t even be there to nurse our own. We have watched our husbands and sons swaying in trees. And Black women were expected to endure it all with a smile. Black women are always the perpetual plaything of White men and women.
In 2022, nearly 250 years after the Declaration of Independence was written, things have not changed.
Black women remain the most disrespected, neglected, and unprotected people in this nation. So tell me again, what to the Black woman is the 4th of July? How do Black women begin to celebrate a day in this country that speaks to independence while this country continues to step on the backs of Black women? How do Black women celebrate today while this country continues to disregard the needs and concerns of Black women?
What to the Black Woman is the Fourth of July as we continue to bury our sons and our daughters? How do we celebrate this day as the blood of our children runs in the streets? How do we celebrate a country that shoots a young Black man 90 times and dares to release the video the day before so-called independence? How do Black women even begin to celebrate a country that shoots us like dogs in the street, reminding us that we will never truly be free in this nation?
What to the Black Woman is the Fourth of July when we cannot be safe in our homes? Our homes should be our sanctuaries, not our tombs. How do I celebrate this day when I think of Atatiana Jefferson, Breonna Taylor, and all the other Black women who just wanted to be home in peace only to have their peace disrupted by state-sanctioned murder?
What to the Black Woman is the Fourth of July as the Supreme Court overturns the right of women to have control over our bodies and reproductive health. And I watch White women now up in arms, not wanting to celebrate the 4th because the Supreme Court decision impacts them. Black women have been fighting for control of our bodies for centuries, and White women did nothing but contribute to the suffering of Black women then and now. White women voted for a racist, always concerned about their interests, and this racist stacked the Supreme Court, and now those chickens have come home to roost. And in typical White woman’s fashion, now they want to “stand together.” No. You want to use Black women to help you out of the ditch you dug for yourself. White women are always using Black women for their gain.
What to the Black Woman is the Fourth of July? It is a reminder that in this country, 246 years later, the Black woman is still not free. Black women will always be fighting an uphill battle in this nation. This nation has shown us what it thinks of Black women. It celebrates documents written mainly by a man that repeatedly raped a Black girl. That should tell Black women what this nation thinks of Black women. What to the Black Woman is the Fourth of July as we are continually forced to swallow down our anger, sadness, and depression, hiding our pain as we are called on to save this nation from itself again and again? As Frederick Douglass stated, “What, to the American slave, is your Fourth of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelly to which he is the constant victim.”
What I know to be self-evident is that White supremacy will always seek to serve itself. So today, Black women, I suggest you declare your independence. It is time for Black women to cut the umbilical cord. This year I am fighting for my independence. I am no longer fighting to save this nation. I am fighting to save Black people. Why should I continue to sacrifice my peace to fight for people who don’t have the courage or the desire to fight for themselves? I do not exist to save White people from themselves. That is not my job. My existence on this earth isn’t to protect White people from White people. White people must deal with White people. My energy will be focused on Black women.
July 4, 2022, should mark the day that Black women declare our independence. July 4, 2022, should be the day that we reclaim ourselves, understanding that while this nation never intended to give us life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness we will take it all, by any means necessary.
Categories: Thoughts, Musings and Reflections