Dr. Boyce: Why Black People Have Little Right or Reason to Celebrate Independence Day

When I think about the fourth of July, my mind is motionless.  I don’t get happy, sad, angry or thoughtful.  As a 40-year old man, I can’t even get excited about the fireworks anymore.  The holiday means as much to me as the birthday of my biological father who abandoned me at birth.  In fact, I don’t even know what day he was born.

The fourth of July has quite a bit of meaning for our nation at large, of course, given that it was the day on which the Declaration of Independence was signed.  Black people were still slaves on that day, which highlights the core of persistent American hypocrisy as it relates to race.  All the while, one has to respect the courage shown by Americans of all ethnic backgrounds who fought against the tyranny of the British to create the powerful nation in which we live today.  If we actually had the courage to live up to the ideals of those who gave their lives for freedom, we’d be a much better country because of it.

For African Americans, we don’t quite have a true fourth of July.  This is not only because the original fourth of July took place while we were still slaves, but because we have not yet earned our independence.  Of course, we obtained some semblance of freedom in 1865, after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation; but being free is far from being truly independent.  Despite the fact that slavery ended long ago, the descendants of our historical oppressors still control nearly every dimension of our lives:

1) Large corporations like Viacom and Time Warner control major black media outlets like BET and Essence, giving them the right to shape our collective point of  view.   We depend on these companies to tell us what to think.

2) Most African Americans are controlled by corporate jobs that mute their ability to speak out or stand up on issues of social justice.  We depend on companies owned by others in order to feed our children.

3)  Black children’s minds are obliterated at an early age by media giants who mass market hip-hop music that sells black boys a recipe for self-destruction by the time they reach kindergarten.  Capitalist and shareholder-created monstrosities like Lil Wayne teach them how to kill themselves and each other by the time they become teenagers.

4) Our children have their futures thrown into the trash by school systems that put even the most brilliant black boys in special education at a rate that is five times greater than white kids.

5) The NCAA still earns over a billion dollars per year on the backs of black families, leaving many single black mothers in poverty.  In fact, athlete compensation has been criminalized, while mostly white coaches and administrators sign multi-million dollar contracts without playing in any of these sporting events.

6) Black unemployment is nearly double that of white Americans, with no politician in Washington expressing any interest in alleviating the suffering with targeted policy.  We depend on politicians and a Democratic Party that fills our minds empty rhetoric, while not respecting us enough to deliver on campaign promises.

The most glaring sign of our lack of independence is the prison industrial complex, which has served to decimate the black family in America.  Black men are disproportionately incarcerated and used as slave labor to make expensive corporate products.   In fact, the 13th Amendment, which allegedly abolishes slavery, actually includes a clause stating that slavery is still legal if the government can label you as a felon.

So, part of my ambivalence toward the fourth of July doesn’t rest on hating others or carrying the crippling burden of acidic anger.  It comes from the fact that I know that my people are at least 100 years away from gaining their independence.  Consider me to be a pessimist, but when I look at the world around me, I see very little freedom for black people.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University and founder of the Your Black World Coalition.  To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.

  • Scoop

    ” If we actually had the courage to live up to the ideals of those who
    gave their lives for freedom, we’d be a much better country because of
    it.” <- NAIL ON THE HEAD!!!!!!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shakka-Zulu/1379420279 Shakka Zulu

    I dont’t have anything to celebrate since we are not part of the Declaration of Independence, and in order for me to celebrate this so call independence, them i’m spitting and walking on the graves of the ancestors who resisted their enslavement…We also have to take into account that Native Americans were slaughtered so this country’s founding fathers could steal their land from them and call it the United States of America…We as a group have absolutely nothing to celebrate not even our births since we had noting to do with our conception…All holidays are based on consumerism, there are all these sales and getting you to spend money to do ridiculous things as part of being patriotic…I have two brothers-in-laws stationed in Iraq and their safety are my only concern, I could give a shit about what happen to anyone else who’re not black or people of color, especially these caucasions, who have started these wars of aggression to steal resources from peoples of color…

    • Scoop

      LOL

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1123696538 Delwyn Campbell

      I used to share your thoughts about native Americans, until I started reading about how the tribes treated slaves who sought their aid to escape slavery, Even today, blacks who seek their tribal inheritance are often resisted by tribal leaders. I submit to you that the Native Americans were not our allies in the struggle, but shared in our oppression.

      • Cel1945

        Fort Negro and the Seminoles, now thats a different story. and all native americans are not guilty look deeper in how the Europeans a giant roll in this.  

        • Kekanu

          Thank You!

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shakka-Zulu/1379420279 Shakka Zulu

        All so called natives are nothing more than europeans who bought themselves a spot on the Dawes Roles…After emancipation, the Freeman’s Bureau were going around registering blacks formerly enslaved by the Five Civilized Tribes (Civilized because they spoke english and behaved like Europeans with enslavement of blacks and other natives), Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Creek, Seminoles are made up of mostly europeans who paid $5 dollars to have their names added to these roles in order to claim free native land and the other benefits that goes with being native…These new european immigrants squeezed out blacks who were formerly enslaved by these tribes, taking their spot on the Indian rolls…This is where the term “5 $ollar Indian” came from, these people bought their indian status and are not native americans, as with every where or everything whitey becomes involved with, they bring their poison with them and they further corrupt the already corruptable natives…

  • Aavix

    I have always felt that way about the 4th of July. I greatly appreciate this article.

  • Bleeray64

    Here we must tread cautiously, as the psuedo-emancipation of an entire group of human beings ‘forced into slavery’, and therefore liable to be treated no greater than ‘live stock’ by those who claim ownership, the African slaves are deemed the ‘property’ of another.  Our beloved Brother and escaped slave and most eminent abolishinist against the institution of slavery, one of the most notable Amabassadors to ‘Haiti’ and ‘Liberia’ our own Honorable Frederick Douglass, sums the whole occasion in his infamous toungue lashing in “1852” at a/n celebration up in Rochester. His speach imparts a jaw dropping conviction and contradiction to the very premise of the ‘declaration of independence';

    “What to the American Slave is your Fourth of July?  I answer, a day that reveals to him more than all other days of the year, the gross injustice and ruelty 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 od rejoicing are empty and hertless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass-fronted impudence; your shouts of liverty nd eqaility, hollow mockery’ your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thankgivings, with all your impiety, and hypocracy’s thin veil to cover up crimes which would desgrace a nation of savages.  There is not a nation of the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of thee United States and this very hour.”

     Booker T. Washington, tried to give the hate filled Euro-Americans an ide how to make this system of capitalism work for both ‘white’ and ‘black’ Americans;

    “Our greatest danger is that in the great leap from slavery to freedom we may overlook the fact that the masses of us are to live by the productions of our hands, and fail to keep in mind tht we shall prosper in proportion as we learn to dignify and glorify common labor, and put brains and skill into the common occupations of life;”

    The weight of his thoughts are rooted in

    “proportion as we learn to draw the line between the superficial and the substantial, the ornamental gewgaws of life and the useful. No race can prosper till it learns tht there is as much dignity in tilling a feild as in writing a poem.  It is at the bottom of life we must begin, and not at the top.  Nor shoud we permit our greivances to overshadow our opportunities.”

    Don”t get me wrong, I, just as at lease 85% of the total population of African Americans celebrate/have celebrated many purely ‘western European’ holidays, with good intent and purposes. Still, we must figure out a way to make America work ‘exclusively’ for our benefit, just like ll the other ‘non-white’ citizens.     
     

  • Bulliesonblast

    On one hand this article is so in point to me and my life experience dictates much of what’s stated therein. Lord knows it is. On the other hand, I’ve traveled to several Third world countries, it seems that I could be a tad ungrateful, but in the present state of the good ole racist Amerikkka, is where I was, born, raised, tormented, terrorized by the systematic oppression, depression, suppression wicked whites and Jewish savages. So independence Day only ceases to make me angry. I even abhor hearing fireworks, makes me think Massa coon hunting, shoot a darky. Yes, I’ve been invited to a celebration and I will attend, not for the fourth but for the fellowship and to work on freeing myself from the grip of my enemy bullies

  • Anonymous

    Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge;

    This article justifies the above biblical verse. Black people can’t see beyond why
    white America celebrates July 4th to find a reason of their own to celebrate.

    The entire premise behind innovation is taking something that already exist and
    making it yours. For instance: In combat the enemy has an airfield that you have need of so you tell your troops “go take that air field and make it ours”

    July 4th is no exception. It is a day white America recognize as their independence from British rule but with vision beyond what white America see you can take July 4th and make it yours.

    Celebrate your independence and freedom from wheel chairs, incarceration, homelessness, disability starvation, war, pestilence, sickness, unemployment or destitution.

    Celebrate being in a country where you are free to speak your mind and not have your freedom depend on the permission of others. Celebrate your freedom of choice, religion, education and movement.

    Black people you need a vision beyond what white America see. Stop connecting your
    wagon to theirs. Find a reason why you are glad to be free and then take July 4th and make it yours.

    Sincerely, Enoch Mubarak
    President/CEO Mubarak Inter-prizes
    http://www.mubarakinter-prizes.com

    • Kekanu

      Well said….

    • Fortheworld

      Intelligent argument but by celebrating the 4th of July YOU ARE CONNECTING YOUR WAGON TO THEIRS! So stop it…The natives of this land blood in me reject this day. I don’t have to celebrate it and still love where live.  Being knowledgeable of how the founders took this land from its original inhabitants my diabolical means and they fought the mother country to be free to have the land as their own is the reason why I choose not to celebrate this day.  I don’t need a day to celebrate my independence,  I celebrate my independence every day.  To be honest, things would not be much different if we were under British rule ..LOL?

      • Anonymous

        I must profess that I am not the smartest cookie in the jar but if the natives is why “you choose not to celebrate this day” then ” Being knowledgeable” has escaped you because…….

        if my memory serves me right the natives you speak of sued the federal government and got their land back and now the natives and the federal government have kissed, made up and moved back to honeymoon boulevard leaving you “in rejection this day” without cause or reason.

        Black people are the only natives left that are still running as fast as we can to stay in the same place so remedy that to any small degree take what you can take and make it yours. 

        In regards to your declaration that: “I don’t have to celebrate it and still love where live” is called a “celebration of love” and if your “celebration of love” is derived from the fact that: “You don’t have to celebrate it and still love where live” then you mind has you going in circles.

        • guestestwitthebestest

          You think the prisons of the reservations is what a nomadic, wandering free, living close with nature, tribal, peyote smoking, dancing, drumming, medicine man having, spirit talking people would shake hands and kiss for?  You’re out of your mind.  Meaning, get inside and think about this one.  When you own the entire country and then you’re stuck with a tiny bit and free education that excludes you, you have not received justice, but rather, placation.

          • Anonymous

            The native Indians have evolved from your cowboy backdrop and as of this day they are very content with their casinos and finacial insitutions. They took back their land and cultivated it to raise their families, make their fortunes and now they gladly stay off the radar.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nosugarcoatn Nosugarcoatn Ever

    I agree with everything you said in this article Dr Boyce!

  • Steel Drumming

    I use to celebrate the 4th of July, only because I did not know that the slaves were not free, but now since we have our own day to celebrate, every 3rd Friday of June which is  Juneteenth . I chose to celebrate that day. Juneteenth is the oldest know celebration of the ending of slavery in the United States.  Dating back to 1865, is was on the June 19th that the Union soldiers landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the Civil War had ended and that ALL SLAVES WERE NOW FREE.  This was two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation, which was given on January 1st 1863.  If you don’t have a Juneteenth in your area where you are located, please start one and tell everybody about the truth of end of slavery. You can also check out this website for more information about celebrating Juneteenth.   http://www.juneteenth.com Happy Juneteenth to all my brothers and sisters. God bless. ps. There is also a petition going around to make this a national holiday. it is an official holiday for only two states.  Texas and Oklahoma.

    • lame

      Interesting thing is it’s only a holiday in 37 states….we have 52….

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_EGXZ26MK42CPGJ2FMIR3VXS4T4 flextime

      Do you know what’s funny??? Most folks don’t even know about Juneteenth Day!  On the west coast, Latinos don’t know, the foreigners don’t know and they all don’t care because they have such a low opinion of us to begin with.

      • Altha Cutright

        Us, you have such low opinion of yourself don’t group everybody in with you. (It’s what you think of yourself)

    • Altha Cutright

      This is not truth I live in Dallas, Texas but I am from Idabel Oklahoma this is a lie..

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=552212758 Daniella Hutcherson

    great article

  • Gabrotha

    I do no agree with you opinion that July 4th is not a day for Blacks to celebrate. July 4th is not about the past but it’s about the future. There was no holiday as such until 1938, and at that time the expansion of the idea of liberty was under attack by Nazi Germany. As Black people we have much to celebrate today as well as much to do about our future. We as a people need to be forward thinking and not just backward thinking.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shakka-Zulu/1379420279 Shakka Zulu

      We have about as much to celebrate as getting diagnosed with cancer…Black soldiers who fought in WWII could not wear their uniforms home from the war because they were lynched, did not get their rights to vote in the south while putting their lives on the line to fight on foreign soils for this rotten as carcass country…Black soldiers liberated German concentrated camps, clean up Hiroshima Nagasaki and were exposed to all the toxic waste from the nuclear bombs this country dropped on a country of colored people, the Japanese…Why didn’t they also drop a bomb on Germany? This country anly have problems with people of color as we can see by her history with us and what’s going on in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya…This country did not interned German Americans and they were at war with Germany, but the rounded up all the Japanese, took away all their businesses, homes and put them into detention camps as enemy combatants…

      I had a late uncle who’s job was to guard german prisoner of war in the US taking them to town to go shopping in their hand cuffs and leg irons, while these criminals were treated like regular white people, sat in restaurants, movie theatre and would insult their black guards by calling them boy, spitting on them, telling them after the war these germans will be the boss of these black soldiers, while my uncle had his food tossed to him out a window…So hell no I have nothing to celebrate, when right now black men are picked up and thrown into private prisons to work for ninety cents an hour building things sold on open market…I can’t tell anyone what to do, but I know for me, it’s to hell with this country and all europeans…

      • tired of complainers!

        But I bet they cant PAY YOU TO LEAVE! LOL!

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shakka-Zulu/1379420279 Shakka Zulu

          I spend my time between the US and the African Continent, so if and when I want to leave, I have somewhere to go, what about you broke ass, have you some where to go besides the dumpster?

      • w/e

        a bomb they dropped on a country of colored people? you think it was because of the color of there skin? It’s because they fucking bombed pearl harbor…

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shakka-Zulu/1379420279 Shakka Zulu

          How about the US, Britain, Holland froze the assets of Japan and would not allow them into the shipping lanes of the Pacific? Confiscated their ships and cargo, just like they’re doing now in Libya and Afghanistan…When you learn the real history, you will not post on blogs with two line ignorance…

    • Kekanu

      Agreed! We helped build this country and are an integral part of what makes it great. Black history is American history and I am a proud American. In my opinion, not celebrating this country is a slap in the face to all of those red and brown faces that sacrificed and/or died in the struggle to force this country to evolve and improve to what it is today. This country (our country) still has a way to go, but that is part of the beauty of it. People are dying in Syria, Yemen, Bahrain and Libya just to get a taste of what we have. You speak out against the gov’t there, you die and some of the those brave souls are willing to do it. This blog could get us all locked up in China. What are we willing to sacrifice? Some of our ancestors willingly gave up there lives for justice…. We are not even willing to risk our jobs in order speak out against injustice.

      Most countries have been repressive, intolerant and sexist for centuries. Look at the progress our ancestors made in a mere 50 years. Imagine if we hade the same passion, resolve and willingness to sacrifice….there is no limit to what we could achieve. Unfortunately we choose to rest on their laurels and complain about perceived injustices that none of us are fighting against. This is one of the very few countries in which progress can happen….where the people can actually affect change…..to me that is worth being proud of and celebrating.

  • Autochthon

    Black people have no reason to celebrate Independence Day. Black people confuse being off the plantation with real freedom. The Civil War was not fought to free black people. It was fought to end slavery. Slavery was kicking the average white man’s @ss in the north.

    On the plantation massa provided your food and shelter and clothes. Now you work for slave wages and as soon as you get your paycheck you run as fast as you can past any black owned stores to give the money back to massa.

  • http://www.saveurbanchurch.com markanthony

    Myriad thoughts of an African American Pastor on the 4th of July within a mainstream U.S. denomination:
     
    Throughout modern history, mainstream U.S. denominations have offered prophetic denunciations of racism, but real solidarity lies not in rhetoric but in individual and collective action.
    However, what of those of us who fancy ourselves progressive Christians (clergy, social workers, peace activists and community organizers).  When people of color and the disenfranchised confront us with the realities of our privileged denominations, our reflexive response is invariably dissociation, “well, the system may be racist, but I am not.”  This defensive reaction suggests we are masking shame through escape or disconnection, and it misses the point, which is that we cannot not be racist in a system of white privilege.  
    To live in discontinuity with racism, we must do more than overcome personal or group prejudice.  We must also engage socio-political structures.
    Though many First World Christians have, a long tradition of service to the sick and compassion for the outcast involving themselves in works of mercy and social action, unfortunately often our denominations have tended to be places where dominant culture is legitimized and deviance discouraged.
    Ultimately our efforts have often been confused and compromised by a lack of understanding of what having solidarity for the poor demands.  We do not understand why our programs do not bring us closer to the poor, or why they sometimes unwillingly promote further disenfranchisement.
    Facing Denial:
    Today the ever-deepening gulf between rich and poor is a fundamental characteristic of the dominant culture.  Staggering facts swirl around us.  U.S. government figures show that in 2005 the richest 1 percent of the nation’s households had a net worth greater than the bottom 90 percent.  The world has 1,011 billionaires and over 500 million homeless.  North Americans spend 5 billion a year on special diets to lower their calorie consumption; while the worlds’ poorest 400 million people are so under nourished, they are likely to suffer stunted growth, mental retardation, or death.  Even mainstream publications are beginning to admit that our economic system is fundamentally flawed.
    In capitalist modernity, divisions are constructed according to gender, race and/or class differences – usually by some combination of the three.  These dividing walls have deep pilings as we have seen in the European colonization of the Americas.
    The Gospel of our mainstream U.S. denominations has promised the oppressed abundant life, but its foundations were poured into the ideological concrete of oligarchy, patriarchy, and white supremacy.  These realities severely constrained the scope of the Gospel, who originally enfranchised neither women, non-Europeans, nor those without land.
    European economic and political prosperity in the “land of freedom and opportunity” was constructed upon the twin pillars of stolen land and slave labor.  “The love of possession is a disease with them,” said Sitting Bull more than a century ago of the European pathology.
    These basic restrictions of entitlement have been mitigated over two centuries but never eradicated.  This explains the dominant cultures’ ambivalence about racial, sexual and economic justice.  We First World Christians believe in the ideal of equality and justice for all yet routinely ignore the practical demands of realizing it.
    Economic exploitation became economic denomination became economic determinism, reaching now to every corner of the globe.  This has been the story of “progress” we mainstream U.S. denominations must repent of and then lead America towards a national repentance.
    Case In Point (America):
    A tragic crisis of enormous magnitude is facing black boys and men in America.
    The astronomical jobless rates for black men in inner-city neighborhoods are both overwhelming and heartbreaking.  There are many areas where virtually no one has a legitimate job.
    Parental neglect, racial discrimination and an orgy of self-destructive behavior have left an extraordinary portion of the black male population in an ever-deepening pit of social and economic degradation.
    This cancer has been allowed to metastasize for decades.  Not only is it not being treated, most people do not even want to talk about it.  In virtually every facet of life in the United States, black people – and especially black boys and men – are coming up short.  White families are typically five times as wealthy as black families.  More than a third of all black children are growing up in poverty.  In Ohio, according to the National Center for Children in Poverty, the percentage is more than half.
    The aspect of this crisis that is probably the most important and simultaneously the most difficult to recognize is that the heroic efforts needed to alleviate it will not come from the government or the wider American society.
    Whether this is fair or not is irrelevant.  There is very little sentiment in the wider population for tackling the extensive problems faced by poor and poorly educated black Americans. 
    What is needed is a dramatic mobilization of the black community to demand justice on a wide front – think employment, education and the criminal justice system – while establishing a new set of norms, higher standards, for struggling blacks to live by.  This is a job that will require a campaign on the scale of the civil rights movement, and it will probably have to be initiated by the black community.
    Mark Anthony Mitchell Sr.
    Lead Pastor/ Executive Director
    Atlanta Urban Foursquare Church
    Jesus 4 Justice Poor People’s Campaign 501©3
    P.O. Box 6853
    Atlanta, Georgia 30315
    Phone 770 256 3899    
    http://www.foursquare.org
    http://www.saveurbanchurch.com
    http://tinyurl.com/TheAtlantaUrbanChurch
    http://www.youtube.com/markanthonymitchell
     
     

  • http://www.saveurbanchurch.com markanthony

    Myriad thoughts of an African American Pastor on the 4th of July within a mainstream U.S. denomination:
     
    Throughout modern history, mainstream U.S. denominations have offered prophetic denunciations of racism, but real solidarity lies not in rhetoric but in individual and collective action.
    However, what of those of us who fancy ourselves progressive Christians (clergy, social workers, peace activists and community organizers).  When people of color and the disenfranchised confront us with the realities of our privileged denominations, our reflexive response is invariably dissociation, “well, the system may be racist, but I am not.”  This defensive reaction suggests we are masking shame through escape or disconnection, and it misses the point, which is that we cannot not be racist in a system of white privilege.  
    To live in discontinuity with racism, we must do more than overcome personal or group prejudice.  We must also engage socio-political structures.
    Though many First World Christians have, a long tradition of service to the sick and compassion for the outcast involving themselves in works of mercy and social action, unfortunately often our denominations have tended to be places where dominant culture is legitimized and deviance discouraged.
    Ultimately our efforts have often been confused and compromised by a lack of understanding of what having solidarity for the poor demands.  We do not understand why our programs do not bring us closer to the poor, or why they sometimes unwillingly promote further disenfranchisement.
    Facing Denial:
    Today the ever-deepening gulf between rich and poor is a fundamental characteristic of the dominant culture.  Staggering facts swirl around us.  U.S. government figures show that in 2005 the richest 1 percent of the nation’s households had a net worth greater than the bottom 90 percent.  The world has 1,011 billionaires and over 500 million homeless.  North Americans spend 5 billion a year on special diets to lower their calorie consumption; while the worlds’ poorest 400 million people are so under nourished, they are likely to suffer stunted growth, mental retardation, or death.  Even mainstream publications are beginning to admit that our economic system is fundamentally flawed.
    In capitalist modernity, divisions are constructed according to gender, race and/or class differences – usually by some combination of the three.  These dividing walls have deep pilings as we have seen in the European colonization of the Americas.
    The Gospel of our mainstream U.S. denominations has promised the oppressed abundant life, but its foundations were poured into the ideological concrete of oligarchy, patriarchy, and white supremacy.  These realities severely constrained the scope of the Gospel, who originally enfranchised neither women, non-Europeans, nor those without land.
    European economic and political prosperity in the “land of freedom and opportunity” was constructed upon the twin pillars of stolen land and slave labor.  “The love of possession is a disease with them,” said Sitting Bull more than a century ago of the European pathology.
    These basic restrictions of entitlement have been mitigated over two centuries but never eradicated.  This explains the dominant cultures’ ambivalence about racial, sexual and economic justice.  We First World Christians believe in the ideal of equality and justice for all yet routinely ignore the practical demands of realizing it.
    Economic exploitation became economic denomination became economic determinism, reaching now to every corner of the globe.  This has been the story of “progress” we mainstream U.S. denominations must repent of and then lead America towards a national repentance.
    Case In Point (America):
    A tragic crisis of enormous magnitude is facing black boys and men in America.
    The astronomical jobless rates for black men in inner-city neighborhoods are both overwhelming and heartbreaking.  There are many areas where virtually no one has a legitimate job.
    Parental neglect, racial discrimination and an orgy of self-destructive behavior have left an extraordinary portion of the black male population in an ever-deepening pit of social and economic degradation.
    This cancer has been allowed to metastasize for decades.  Not only is it not being treated, most people do not even want to talk about it.  In virtually every facet of life in the United States, black people – and especially black boys and men – are coming up short.  White families are typically five times as wealthy as black families.  More than a third of all black children are growing up in poverty.  In Ohio, according to the National Center for Children in Poverty, the percentage is more than half.
    The aspect of this crisis that is probably the most important and simultaneously the most difficult to recognize is that the heroic efforts needed to alleviate it will not come from the government or the wider American society.
    Whether this is fair or not is irrelevant.  There is very little sentiment in the wider population for tackling the extensive problems faced by poor and poorly educated black Americans. 
    What is needed is a dramatic mobilization of the black community to demand justice on a wide front – think employment, education and the criminal justice system – while establishing a new set of norms, higher standards, for struggling blacks to live by.  This is a job that will require a campaign on the scale of the civil rights movement, and it will probably have to be initiated by the black community.
    Mark Anthony Mitchell Sr.
    Lead Pastor/ Executive Director
    Atlanta Urban Foursquare Church
    Jesus 4 Justice Poor People’s Campaign 501©3
    P.O. Box 6853
    Atlanta, Georgia 30315
    Phone 770 256 3899    
    http://www.foursquare.org
    http://www.saveurbanchurch.com
    http://tinyurl.com/TheAtlantaUrbanChurch
    http://www.youtube.com/markanthonymitchell
     
     

  • Kwillena

    Your last sentence is my sentiment exactly.  I too am a “pessimist for the very same
    reasons you have stated.”

    • GRATEFUL

      And I am sure you are such a joy to be around!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Avisjay-Savisti/617630819 Avisjay Savisti

    “Fourth of July” gives us a day off, that’s it. Or a fun reason for kids to blow some s**t up!

    The truth is for the most part we as “Black People” feel like a wandering people. Most of us probably use the term “African American” only when we need to. Say to yourself, “I’m an American” right now. I bet a “question mark” pops up in your mind. You can’t even say it with all seriousness!

    If you visited another country, you would feel it more proper to call you a “Black Man” than a “American”. And that’s just the truth of it.

    And of course, you have apologetic Negroes that would deny it. But let me ask you this, out of all the songs Black People have made in this country, how many are made for the love of it?

    In “Country Music”, every other song is talking about how they love this country. Out of the probably millions of songs we’ve made all I can think of is the Ray Charles song “America”. While we would claim a town, city or area. We’ll always fall short of claiming the country.

    Now don’t get me wrong. Black People here are probably living better than any other group of Black People on the Planet! But, it without a doubt highlights the dysfunctional relationship that Black People in America have with America herself.

    Avisjay – http://www.livelinklounge.com

  • Bro. Isa

    As-Salaam-Alaikum (Peace be unto You)
    Yes I agree we do not have anything to celebrate about America’s independence day of 1776. However while America was celebrating; as written in the scripture God came like a thief in the night(found in the books of both Mark & Luke)  to Free Us and Raised a Messiah and Reminder and Proclaimed Us to Be the Lost Now Found Sheep of God! All Praise is Due to Allah!
    Happy Independence Day! As per the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, the Messenger of God and his Reminder the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan sent to the black man and woman of America.

    Celebrating 81 years today of the coming of God in the Person of Master Fard Muhammad

    Thank you your Servant
    Bro. Isa Muhammad

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shakka-Zulu/1379420279 Shakka Zulu

      Yeah right celebrating another half-white “savior” to black people…When the hell are we as black people going to stop chasing these plantation children or looking  to them to be our saviors? Another movement with a white/mulatto man, Min Fard Muhammad savior to the black man of North America…We can’t seem to get away from these images of light skin black people always in the lead, from Min Fard to Elijah Muhammad to Louis Farrakhan to Jibriel Muhammad, where are the dark skined blacks? This is why i’m loosing faith in my people…As much as I appreciate what Hon Elijah Muhammad did, his economic principals were derived from Nobel Drew Ali and Marcus Garvey who layed out black people’s economic framework way before Hon Elijah Muhammad…

      • guestestwitthebestest

        Half white black people are still black people.  And I am aware of the color rift existing within our collective, also imposed on us by virtue of our time spent under this rock…bolder.  However, it does not give anyone the right to discredit someone else’s blackness.  That’s not fair.  No pun intended.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shakka-Zulu/1379420279 Shakka Zulu

          I’m not discounting anyone’s racial makeup since we had no input on who our parents are, but when I look around our community and see these light skin, eurocentric children being promoted ahead of black/darker shin children, I have serious issues with it..We have black women bleaching, perming their hair, wearing weaves and wigs that are not cultural based, wearing colored contacts and de-emphasizing their blackness all because we as black people are told to hate our blackness, while europeans are baking in the sun to get our dark color, botoxing, breading their hair, and sexing with black men and women to get brown babies who will become buffers to keep black people in a permanent third class position… Look at all the so called black leaders from the civil rights movement to present, we will see the more european you look, the more you will be pushed to the front…

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shakka-Zulu/1379420279 Shakka Zulu

      Yeah right celebrating another half-white “savior” to black people…When the hell are we as black people going to stop chasing these plantation children or looking  to them to be our saviors? Another movement with a white/mulatto man, Min Fard Muhammad savior to the black man of North America…We can’t seem to get away from these images of light skin black people always in the lead, from Min Fard to Elijah Muhammad to Louis Farrakhan to Jibriel Muhammad, where are the dark skined blacks? This is why i’m loosing faith in my people…As much as I appreciate what Hon Elijah Muhammad did, his economic principals were derived from Nobel Drew Ali and Marcus Garvey who layed out black people’s economic framework way before Hon Elijah Muhammad…

    • guestestwitthebestest

      Walakum Salaam

  • Anonymous

    Freedom is a state of mind. 

    Of course, I celebrate July 4th.  The Declaration of Independence from British “tyranny” allowed freedom for black slaves, even though it didn’t occur on that day.  This is one of the greatest countries in the world and I’d rather be in the U.S. than in England right now.
    As long as we think that we have no freedom, we will continue to be enslaved.  Freedom starts when you realize that you have choices.  Of course the U.S. has issues that need to be addressed, but this will always be the case.  In fact, challenges are what make us stronger.

    I spoke at a correctional facility a few weeks ago and spoke on the topic: “Just Because You’re in Prison, Doesn’t Mean that You Have to Be in Bondage” and I meant every word of it.  Mental freedom precedes physical freedom every time.   We have to start realizing how free we are if you we are to achieve great things.

    Are you feeling shackled in your job?  Do something about it!  You do have a choice.  You may only have an high school diploma and they may think that you should be grateful for that job.  But life is too short to spend 40-60 hours a week doing something that you weren’t born to do.  This is the time and this is the country where creating additional streams of income is the simplest.

    Are you feeling enslaved by your lack of education?  Do something about it!  Information is freely floating around everywhere.  Get a degree; don’t get a degree;  but there is NO reason to be uninformed or uneducated.

    In the dark about the history of black Americans in this country?  I don’t have to rely on my school system to find out.

    Unemployed?  Start thinking of starting your own business instead of helping someone else profit on your skills and abilities.

    Let me be clear: Gaining freedom isn’t easy.  We should expect it to be difficult; we should  expect obstacles.  But know this: WE ARE AS FREE AS WE DETERMINE TO BE.  Declare your independence today!

    Until next time…Go Boldly!™

    Dino M. Herbert
    Business JumpMaster™
    http://www.DinoHerbert.com
    http://www.HeroEntrepreneurs.com
    http://www.ForLeapSake.com

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Avisjay-Savisti/617630819 Avisjay Savisti

      “The Declaration of Independence from British “tyranny” allowed freedom
      for black slaves, even though it didn’t occur on that day.”

      Maybe you should research the issue a bit. Independence day happened on July 4, 1776. Great Britain made efforts to abolish Slavery in 1772 (four years before).

      Putting that in perspective, one can say breaking from British rule gave “those escaping British Tyranny” the right to fully exploit the Slave trade (and that they did).

      But the positive things you said counts regardless of the day :)

      • Anonymous

        Avisjay,

        Thanks.  I do understand that Britain abolished slavery in 1807/8, ahead of its colonies/U.S.  My point – nothing against Great Britain – is that I prefer being a black man in the U.S. rather than G.B. (I’m glad we won that war) and that the documents created by the new country (Dec of Independence/Constitution and its amendments) allowed blacks to be free.

        If Frederick Douglass who was born a slave could become a lecturer, publisher and abolitionist, how can any of us complain that we don’t have freedom?

        Until next time…Go Boldly!™

        Dino M. Herbert
        Business JumpMaster™
        http://www.DinoHerbert.com
        http://www.HeroEntrepreneurs.com
        http://www.ForLeapSake.com

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Avisjay-Savisti/617630819 Avisjay Savisti

          Understood. But we must be quite clear that Frederick Douglass position was very very unique for a Black Man at that time. In fact not only “figurative slavery” existed as your stated, but “ACTUAL” Slavery!

          In Frederick Douglass time Harriet Tubman and the underground railroad was in full operation! Frederick Douglass stands along versus thousands of Black that spoke up and were lynched.

          All I’m saying brother is let’s not disgrace them to prove a point.

          http://www.livelinklounge.com

          • Anonymous

            I’m certain that I did not communicate that I was disgracing our forefathers nor expressing happiness that slavery continued longer in the U.S. than in Britain. 

            The point is this:  given ANY set of circumstances, we can perceive it in a negative light or a positive light.  Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman and others chose to focus on the possibility, inevitability and actuality of freedom. 

            We should do the same.

            Until next time…Go Boldly!™

            Dino M. Herbert
            Business JumpMaster™
            http://www.DinoHerbert.com
            http://www.HeroEntrepreneurs.com
            http://www.ForLeapSake.com

          • guestestwitthebestest

            I agree that it certainly sounds like you are excusing that slavery continued for another generation and more vigorously because of the independence of America from Great Brittian.

            I am an optimist and agree that freedom takes on many forms.  Mentally we CAN be free, but that does not dismiss the systemic shackles that remain.  Those are the ones that the spiritually and emotionally and mentally free have to be aware of and help others be aware of.  A lot people do not recognize how the system works, how it operates, what it takes to drive the capitalist machine.  It is a duty of the enlightened to share that awareness with those trodding in the dark.  And to recognize the reality does not mean that you yourself are implicit in the slavery.  It only means that you are aware of it.

          • Anonymous

            I’ve already stated that I am in no way excusing that slavery continued for another generation, so I’m afraid that you are mistaken.

            The awareness that I seek to share is the fact that when we become mentally/spiritually/emotionally free, the physical, actual freedom MUST follow.  In his autobiography, Frederick Douglass wrote this,

            “From my earliest recollection, I date the entertainment of a deep conviction that slavery would
            not always be able to hold me within its foul embrace…”

            He had a deep conviction that slavery (the system) would not be able to hold him. 

            The “system” cannot hold us back.  This is the mindset that we should have.

            Until next time…Go Boldly!™

            Dino M. Herbert
            Business JumpMaster™
            http://www.DinoHerbert.com
            http://www.HeroEntrepreneurs.com
            http://www.ForLeapSake.com

    • sareemdas

      I have one word for you and freedom is not it bottom line the word is (LOVE) and with that said I’ll start you all off with the next word ( self )

  • Kekanu

    I totally disagree with this article and the victimization sentiment behind it. When do we take personal responsibility for raising our kids, what we watch on tv/listen to on the radio and fighting for this independence that we do not have? I do not believe that Black people rely on BET or Essence to tell us how to think…what are we sheep?
    One of the main problem in our community is self imposed limitations. We do our children a disservice by limiting their education to what they learn in the classroom. It is up to parents to supplement their children’s education where we feel the public schools are lacking. If a parent cannot afford private school, PTA and school board meetings are free. Use your voice, time and energy to affect change in our schools.

    Yes the NCAA makes money off of all athletes (not just Black ones), but that free education along with access will be there long after their physical abilities fade. Our athletes should not just limit themselves to their physical strengths…the brain is a muscle too. They should follow in the footsteps of the Honorable Alan Page. He went from Minnesota Viking (he attended law school while playing) to a Justice on the Minnesota Supreme Court. Magic Johnson has found even more wealth after the NBA because he too did not just limit himself to being just a ball player. We need to make sure our young men are equipped to use the Associations as much as possible before those Associations use them up.

    Life is not fair and we are owed nothing. Do we teach our kids to just accept the cards they are dealt or do we teach them to own the f@$&ing casino?

    • Franceskive

      I totoaly disagree with you, have you ever heard of reperations.  We are owed EVERYTHING!!  what is wrong with you people, I  never heard you complain about reperations that the Japanese recieved and Israel continues to get.  Think and do research  before you type!

  • A GRATEFUL BLACK WOMAN

    WHO PROMOTES BITTERNESS ON PURPOSE?!?!? I have been receiving your ‘blog” emails for a while now-and while I try and support you as an independent african american writer, i find your views only serve to show blacks what we dont have. You say we have no reason to celebrate the 4th of July- but it seems to me you are trying to take advantage of everything America has to offer. You proudly display your “DR” title on everything you write and you have taken advantage of the “internet” (that a white man created by the way) to express your opinion to others about how AWFUL America is and how it has held us down as a people. THen how did you get your degree “DR” if there are no opportunities for u here? Why take advantage of “Freedom of Speech” in a country that has no respect for our poeple?

    Why not promote peole to be grateful for WHAT THEY DO HAVE HAVE and give them ideas to make it better? Not once have I seen you post an article on “how to start your own business” or “great doctorate programs for blacks” or “scholorships our children can use for college” or “how to obtain a Tax ID number”.  You use this blog to express your JUDGEMENTS on others_and its sad…you are no better than anyone else who is not trying to promote our race to get by telling them what THEY CAN DO to get AHEAD in AMERICA. OBVIOUSLY you did “DR”. SHare those trials and tribulations you hypocrite.

    I will tell you what I have to celebrate-first and foremost I am in a country where I can worship GOD FREELY and not be ARRESTED for that. I dont know what GOD has done for you, but my testimony is QUITE PROFOUND.
    I have overcome the obstacles of being a POOR AND DISCOURAGED black female from the WORST parts of Chicago to becoming a SUCCESSFUL business owner where not only my children live a better life, but I AM ABLE TO GIVE BACK TO OTHERS- and not just financially-because of the knowlegde I have obtained I have helped others start SUCCCESSFUL businesses. And given them knowledge that white america is not offering on a daily basis. BUt thru “each one TEACH one” we  are changing a generation. I was taught to not let ANYTHING STAND IN MY WAY REGARDLESS OF WHAT IT MAY BE BECAUSE BLACK PEOPLE DIED FOR ME TO EVEN HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO TRY. AND I DID-AND MADE IT! and I’m not a “DR”-dont even have a degree-dropped out my third year of college due to POOR CHOICES-only have a high school diploma-but my business grossed over a quater of a million dollars last year! What are you doing? Besides sitting on on your soap box judging others? you have the power to put information out there that can change lives-but you would rather post “Tom Joyners opinion”. DELIVER ME.
     
    And what I find MOST IRONIC “DR” is that after all the hate you spew across the internet we have YET to receive an email saying that you are feed up with America and its poor treatment of blacks and you are LEAVING. Dont see you booking a flight to HAITI or JAPAN to LIVE and start LIFE OVER. Because you know the reality of the situation is that NO COUNTRY IS PERFECT-but if you had your choice it would certainly be AMERICA where you at least HAVE A CHANCE TO DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT. YES IT MAY BE HARD BUT WHO PROMISED YOU A ROSE GARDEN WHEN YOU WERE BORN?
     
    God have mercy on your sould for promoting UNGRATEFULNESS…and everyone else on here that agrees with you….SHAKING MY HEAD

  • A GRATEFUL BLACK WOMAN

    WHO PROMOTES BITTERNESS ON PURPOSE?!?!? I have been receiving your ‘blog” emails for a while now-and while I try and support you as an independent african american writer, i find your views only serve to show blacks what we dont have. You say we have no reason to celebrate the 4th of July- but it seems to me you are trying to take advantage of everything America has to offer. You proudly display your “DR” title on everything you write and you have taken advantage of the “internet” (that a white man created by the way) to express your opinion to others about how AWFUL America is and how it has held us down as a people. THen how did you get your degree “DR” if there are no opportunities for u here? Why take advantage of “Freedom of Speech” in a country that has no respect for our poeple?

    Why not promote peole to be grateful for WHAT THEY DO HAVE HAVE and give them ideas to make it better? Not once have I seen you post an article on “how to start your own business” or “great doctorate programs for blacks” or “scholorships our children can use for college” or “how to obtain a Tax ID number”.  You use this blog to express your JUDGEMENTS on others_and its sad…you are no better than anyone else who is not trying to promote our race to get by telling them what THEY CAN DO to get AHEAD in AMERICA. OBVIOUSLY you did “DR”. SHare those trials and tribulations you hypocrite.

    I will tell you what I have to celebrate-first and foremost I am in a country where I can worship GOD FREELY and not be ARRESTED for that. I dont know what GOD has done for you, but my testimony is QUITE PROFOUND.
    I have overcome the obstacles of being a POOR AND DISCOURAGED black female from the WORST parts of Chicago to becoming a SUCCESSFUL business owner where not only my children live a better life, but I AM ABLE TO GIVE BACK TO OTHERS- and not just financially-because of the knowlegde I have obtained I have helped others start SUCCCESSFUL businesses. And given them knowledge that white america is not offering on a daily basis. BUt thru “each one TEACH one” we  are changing a generation. I was taught to not let ANYTHING STAND IN MY WAY REGARDLESS OF WHAT IT MAY BE BECAUSE BLACK PEOPLE DIED FOR ME TO EVEN HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO TRY. AND I DID-AND MADE IT! and I’m not a “DR”-dont even have a degree-dropped out my third year of college due to POOR CHOICES-only have a high school diploma-but my business grossed over a quater of a million dollars last year! What are you doing? Besides sitting on on your soap box judging others? you have the power to put information out there that can change lives-but you would rather post “Tom Joyners opinion”. DELIVER ME.
     
    And what I find MOST IRONIC “DR” is that after all the hate you spew across the internet we have YET to receive an email saying that you are feed up with America and its poor treatment of blacks and you are LEAVING. Dont see you booking a flight to HAITI or JAPAN to LIVE and start LIFE OVER. Because you know the reality of the situation is that NO COUNTRY IS PERFECT-but if you had your choice it would certainly be AMERICA where you at least HAVE A CHANCE TO DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT. YES IT MAY BE HARD BUT WHO PROMISED YOU A ROSE GARDEN WHEN YOU WERE BORN?
     
    God have mercy on your sould for promoting UNGRATEFULNESS…and everyone else on here that agrees with you….SHAKING MY HEAD

    • God’s_Angel

      @ A Grateful Black Woman@facebook-552212758:disqus 
      I don’t take Dr. Watkins emails and articles at purely negative. I take the letters as a call to arms, bringing a sense of awareness to the issues. Because while blacks have made great accomplishments in education and becoming business owners, far more of us are suffering. And we’re suffering due to a system that is causing our suffering.

      I myself can consider myself as someone who has defied the odds, but I can’t ignore many of my family members who are still suffering. I won’t ignore the pain other blacks are feeling, simply because I live in a big house. I want to see more of us living in big houses.

      But I do agree with you on this: complaining means nothing unless you put actions behind your words. So my view is this: first you bring awareness to the problems, then you get people outraged about the issues, and finally, you get people to take action. Maybe we’re not at the “action” part yet, but first you need a solid plan before you can take action. And I believe that if a plan is not already prepared, it’s close to completion.

      When you look at the list Dr. Watkins has put together, the list is very telling as to why we are falling behind on all levels. And if people don’t know all that’s happening, how can they take action? I didn’t know that prisoners were used as free labor. Not until recently.

      People get comfortable with being oppressed, because they don’t even realize that they are being held back. They don’t realize that what’s happening is not right. They don’t realize that they should even be taking a stand.

      It’s like teachers unions. Teachers have unions to protect their rights, and the unions fight hard to protect the rights of teachers. But what about the students who are getting horrible educations? Who is fighting hard for them? It comes randomly and individually, but not collectively where it can make a bigger impact.

    • CW

      What in the heck are you talking about?  Are you stating that the news Dr. Boyce writes about is promoting hate?  You are way off track.

  • R2B2PHOENX

    (A)
    12 Principles For Success Mentioned in Writings by Frederick Douglass Copyright By Author Fred MorsellFremarjo Enterprises, Inc.
    * Understanding that the proper use of power is to help others.* Giving up something you want in order to help someone else.* Learning how to challenge and overcome doubt.* Understanding why and how to control the human ego.* Doing what is right and proper without delay, even if no one is looking.* Learning how to use knowledge and understanding wisely.* Overcoming indecisiveness by developing proper organizational skills.* Making gratitude a part of every thought and action.* Practicing the skill of listening before making judgments.* Remaining true to your word.* Practicing the art of giving without expecting something in return.* Recognizing that success is as much a motivation to others as to you.  
     
    (B) ShakkaZulu – thanks — (excerpt to Fredrick Douglass) “…with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to Him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy-a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States at this very hour. Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms- of the Old World, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.”
     [THANK YOUR FOR US  in-laws for their service — we too pray for their safety AND return from a place not of their choosing. HOWEVER, we are all proud of them..]

    (C) Gabrotha “…As Black people we have much to celebrate today as well as much to do about our future…”
     
    (D) Bleeray64 – “…there is as much dignity in tilling a (field) as in writing a poem.  It is at the bottom of life we must begin, and not at the top.  Nor shoud we permit our greivances to overshadow our opportunities.”Don”t get me wrong, I…celebrate….holidays, with good intent and purposes. Still, we must figure out a way to make America work ‘exclusively’ for our benefit, just like ll the other ‘non-white’ citizens…”

    (E) Enochmubarak — “…    Black people you need a vision beyond what white America see. Stop connecting your wagon to theirs. Find a reason why you are glad to be free and then take July 4th and make it yours…”

    So, I am hearing multiple tracks — “This Land is Your Land…” —   “Wake Up Everybody” (TeddyP), “America” (RayC) and “Man in the Mirror” (MichaelJ) —
    along with these points:
    Black People — this land and certain of the commercial patents and products were conceived and developed by your ancestors — “own it”
    Black Families — before the reverse mortgage game, get wills and trusts in order —  take a look a succession planning and leverage parents’ and grandparents’ property ownership into mover ownership (DON’T be tempted for the easy feel with drugs, prepayment on college education, and trips to the … wherever… the health of your estates will take care of the trips soon enough and your children’s educational pursuits will be taken care of with their career development.)
    Black Relatives– don’t wait for so-and-so to die….and talk to folks now before you start arguing after the “loved one” passes.  THERE ARE interested parties waiting on you to start arguing, offer you $$ to put in your hands and go away while the true value of your relative’s estate is $$$$$ and you end up with your short-term “happines$.
    Black Business and Customers — patronize a few of your own — either on the Internet or in the neighborhood..
    AND OTHERS:
    Lawyers and Teachers and Ministers — take the oath and teach us well; instill/impart knowledge so we become accountable to our actions and capable of knowing when a “game” is being run on us by predators..
    Doctors — exhibit allegiance to Hypocratic; work with nutritionists (vegans too) so we don’t fall victim to the food allergies and maladies that keep our health at risk
    Warehouse and Building custodians and security — be the best, own the operations
    Investment/Insurance/Bondholders/CPA’s/MBA’s — help us keep and grow the money we have. Don’t just be employees — share your expertise through organizations and symposia. We need it … and we’ll pay you for it..
    PARENTS — be true, supportive nurturers that will empower us with coping skills and probative strength — to appreciate you, where we are and what we will become.

    Dr. Boyce — Thanks for this cathartic commentary (your familial inclusion notwithstanding) and thought-provoking piece; I trust your colleagues will continue to use these media to spawn the kind of discourse that links generations of males and females so there is a legacy of leadership, parenthood, cultural interdependence among our people. Black people are more a tapestry than a melting pot, more multifaceted than homogeneous. WE can ill-afford to let “generational” gaps in business, education, life principles weaken us as a people (again).
      

  • Kars

    Please get a fucking life. Are your personal memories of slavery so vivid that you cannot appreciate your ancestors’ drive to make this world yours after they were freed?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_EGXZ26MK42CPGJ2FMIR3VXS4T4 flextime

    Then what is the alternative?  You have made a very valid point but what is the alternative? Would you say this to all the soldiers that are coming home from the war after some have given their lives so you can tell us that blacks don’t have true freedom to celebrate? I some respects I agree with you but at least offer an alternative.  I assume we can all take an ancestry test and find out what our country of origin is and go back to africa……

  • 1971professorX

    Dr. Boyce. You are just as free as the white professor teaching in the classroom next to you. The only shackles left that matter are the ones in your own mind. We will only truly prosper as a people once the educated masses “Wake Up”!

  • Nova Starr

    Regardless of whether or not I have a reason to celebrate (and I’ve created several for myself), I most certainly have the right!  My ancestors fought, worked, and suffered for me to have that right.

  • sareemdas

    in todays time we must remember that the old testament is just that ,  be mature and  be willing to learn ajust then change  Oboma is proof weather we feel it or not as a Black man today

  • guestestwitthebestest

    I like the fireworks on the fourth and the beautiful lights and snow and ornaments at Christmas.  Am I a patriot?  Absolutely not, but I do love the colors cascading over head in a perfectly dusky sky.  The snap of the explosive, the boom of its spark ending with such wonder.  I find the lights juxtaposed with the dark to be quite spellbinding.

    However, when it comes to the idea of freedom and independence, I am of the accord that there is still so much work to be done, as if we are still at the beginning…for the individual and for the collective…and in many ways we still are.  I will not pussyfoot around the truth.  The truth is there for us to gawk at, to interpret, to welcome or deny.  I will not deny the truth.  But I will not let it cripple me either.

    And one note of defense for Dr Boyce.  I do not know him, and may never, but I will say that language and using language is and has always been an extremely important tool in revolution.  At times, the pen is mightier than the sword.  It actually is.  What can be accomplished through communication sometimes can make or break a movement.  Since Dr Boyce is a writer, that is a part of his place among us, just as we all have a wonderous place within the collective.  Once we see that we together create a mighty soldier, say, the likes of David, we will learn to embrace one another.  We each are important and will be instrumental in our attaining that freedom we all covet.  Though the freedom may not look the way we anticipate.

    And my last point is this:  our mistake from the beginning of our liberation efforts, and continues to be our mistake now, is covetting the “white man’s” freedom.  “He” is imprisoned within his own greed, and we are imprisoned with “him.”  To continue to want freedom as “he” defines it means we continue to support slavery and the effects thereof.  “He” has defined freedom FOR us from “separate but equal is inherently unequal,” to the “bill of rights.”  We are charged with defining freedom for ourselves and trusting that we can do that.  I guarantee once we believe we can, we will, and once we do, we shall attain it.

  • guy

    This article is a joke. Skin color is only skin color. Anyone making it more than that is putting way to much importance in it. We are all colorless souls in physical bodies. What color your body is is predetermined by you parents. All these ignorant articles are going to die when everyone is pretty much balanced in genetics. There is no “we”, there is only you on your island of ignorance. I’m more than just a descendant of Africa. Even if I were 100% it would have no effect on how I think. 

    Nobody forces you to watch t.v.
    Nobody forces you to do what you see other people do without learning about it first
    Nobody forces you to get a crappy corporate job or stay there
    Nobody forces you to seek employment in only one field 
    Nobody forces you to stay in the same country
    Nobody forces you to break the law
    Nobody forces you to listen to only one type of music

    The last number that implies every “black” person is a democrat is amazing.  

    Take control of your life and stop being a puppet. Every continent has had souls in it that have made negative choices for negative reasons. This doesn’t mean that every other soul that has even the smallest similarity compared to them is the same. Generalization only hurts those that do it.

  • Alfred Teixeira

    What so sad about the forth of july where black people concern, they believe their included in the celebrating, our foreparents was slave when this day came to be it a day for white folks gaining they freedom from europe wasn’t no black european, yet I see my people celebrating as if that day included them this show me that so many of us are still mentally dumb deaf and blind we go out too and spend money we really don’t have to help our former slavemaster children celerate they day of freedom the forth of july always feel like a sunday to me