Watch a video showing black people explaining why they refused to celebrate the Fourth of July.
“I’ve never identified with even being American, even though I’m born here,” Shani Akilah says at the video’s beginning. “At the inception of this country, it was based off of oppression and murder and colonization and rape. And so we are rotten at our core.”
Alyssa Bigbee claimed she wasn’t even thinking about celebrating July 4. “I haven’t even thought about celebrating Fourth of July, honestly,” Bigbee said. “It’s not even in my mind.”
One black woman from Philadelphia said that she didn’t see how “freedom” lined up with the deaths of American Indians when British colonists first came to the country.
“And then I think about Native Americans and the subjugation of Native Americans and how meaning free for white Americans or British Americans or all of these people that were kicked out of England meant the death of all these Native people,” Rodeeia Carson said. “So, I can’t see freedom in that.”
Akilah suggested that it was a sign of resistance to ignore the holiday all together.
“To me, it’s resistance to not acknowledge the day at all. To continue to fight in this liberation movement for what freedom actually is,” she explained.
Michael Coard, a black writer, said that black Americans should not be celebrating the holiday at all, due to its ties to racism.
“The Declaration of Independence asserts, ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, 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.’ Despite that, slavery was legal in the 13 colonies, which means 20 percent of the population was held in brutal bondage without liberty or happiness or a real life,” he wrote.