White Americans should declare independence from their perceived birthrights and join the struggle to lift up the truth that #BlackLivesMatter.
The fireworks presentation at 4th of July celebrations nationwide this year will be uber symbolic of the combustible and explosive climate of race relations in America’s current day.
The sporadic burst of color and loud sounds of fireworks will mirror recent pop-up protests and the chants that accompany them. And the smiling viewers of the fireworks program represent the spectators who gawk, usually without conviction, at the colorful protesters, who, at times, clash with police.
This year’s celebration of America’s independence will indeed be a moment for more than just observation, as this Saturday will mark the first 4th of July in the #BlackLivesMatter era – a grassroots movement which catapulted institutional racism and white privilege into the mainstream – and it should be a time for deep self-reflection among White Americans, specifically.
For starters, White Americans should use this holiday to facilitate the honest conversation on race they seem to so desperately seek. The reason this conversation should exclude African-Americans is because American racism is not the result of their public will or public efforts.
Slavery and Jim Crow didn’t happen, it was done. It was done, promoted and prolonged by White Americans intentionally to harm and devalue human beings with a darker skin tone.
The honest conversation on race can start with White Americans asking themselves, families and friends: Why do you think slavery and Jim Crow was done intentionally and strategically, and what are the negative impact of these injustices that still linger in America’s current day?
Next, White Americans, if still able to stomach their barbecue while reminiscing on our country’s barbaric and devilish beginnings – a history played out under the American flag, not the Confederate one – should then ponder on how they, though not directly involved in the slave trades, raping of Black women, castrations of Black men, segregation of schools, lynchings, and burning of churches, benefit from it all in America’s current day.
White privilege is real, not a figment of Black people’s imagination, thus it requires White Americans to confront and dismantle it.
White Americans should ask themselves, friends and families: Do you really believe lighting is causing Black churches to catch on fire; and more importantly, if you heard someone planning to burn a Black church, would you alert the authorities, or stay silent?
Racism isn’t merely shouting Nigger, Nigga, Coon or Pickaninny through a bull horn as you ride through the streets in a rusty pick-up truck. Racism manifest itself in micro-aggressions, like when White Americans opt not to mitigate or advocate against discrimination, prejudice and punitive approaches by law enforcement towards African-Americans because they think somehow, in some way, it’s deserved.
African-Americans, on a daily basis, visibly talk about and advocate against racism, but why don’t White Americans who aren’t racist do the same thing? Why do White Americans need a special invitation or national news event to discuss race and racism?
The aforementioned are more questions to add to the list for that magical conversation about race, whenever it happens, though this 4th of July makes the perfect time for White Americans to look at a study by the New America Foundation and ask: Why are we the country’s biggest terror threat and what can we do to improve our community?
There seems to be a large number of White Americans who genuinely want to be allies in the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and leverage their privilege for good, if you will.
But before White Americans can occupy the streets on behalf of African-Americans, they should occupy themselves and force upon their spirits a personal revolution that dismisses anything that’s not fair, righteous and equitable for all.
White Americans, on this historic 4th of July, should declare their independence from their perceived American birthrights and join the struggle to lift up the truth that #BlackLivesMatter.
*Tune into 900amWURD or 900amWURD.com every Friday evening during the 6 o’clock hour to hear me relive #TheWeekThatWas*
Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® & I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™