Yippee! It’s 4th of July – Okay, Then…

But I Won’t Celebrate It like Most Americans Do

I pledge to my followers and visitors to always keep it real. I know that I am opinionated, and accept that my views may not always agree with theirs. There’s no love lost, though, with whoever does not agree with me.

Just as I have a choice in how I interpret the world, so does everyone else. I have no right to be offended by anyone who does not see life, even slightly, as I do.

Keeping it real on the topic of this post, however, is not easy. I worry that I may offend visitors to my blog, who otherwise like my posts, but may be annoyed by this one. I hope that this is not the case. I am a loving man, of everyone.

But, if this post does offend, I ask those friends to choose to like some of my opinions, while not feeling obligated to agree with others. That’s the way it should be anyhow. We have the right to choose individually, and are not forced to have a monolithic perspective, such as being totally conservative, or totally liberal. We can choose to be a bit of either, if we want to.

So, please accept my apology if this post offends. I sincerely do not mean to, but being real won the battle over saying nothing at all, or lying. I am keeping it real now.

I’m keeping this real because I have visitors to my blog from over 30 different countries. I want my international friends to at least hear an alternative perspective, in addition to the ones provided by their respective media outlets.

I know from working at CNN in the late 1990’s – early 2000, in London, and from travelling internationally, that the news varies, depending where you are in the world. I know because I compared the news stories and perspectives with American friends, in comparison to the news I received wherever I was abroad. The stories were rarely the same.

Being real on celebrating the 4th of July is especially important because of what the holiday represents. Those in other countries may not be aware that not all Americans celebrate the 4th of July in the same way.

I can’t remember many black people, in New Orleans, or otherwise who celebrated the 4th of July in a patriotic way. I don’t think I know of any who flew the American flag on their home or car. I have never celebrated the 4th of July, in an ‘all American’ way. You won’t likely find many blacks at Veterans, War, or Patriotic cemetery memorials. This day is not as historic for us.

My reason for not being celebratory on this holiday is namely because blacks, as a people, do not bask in the American dream, as do whites, as a people. This can be easily proven by researching statistics on black incarceration, education, economics, voting rights, health, and crime. Many of us feel that American may like us, but clearly does not love us, or allow us equal access to the ‘Land of Opportunity’.

Why would you want to celebrate in honor of an entity that keeps you in oppressed?

The black community has gotten creative with the 4th of July holiday, as we do historically, turning trials into blessings. Like the singing caged bird, we tend to come up with alternative perceptions to the pain that we face.

Blacks generally celebrate the 4th simply because it is not a work day, and it’s a good day to grill and chill.

But most consistently, blacks plan family reunions, church outings, and picnics on the 4th, that have nothing to do with celebrating Independence Day.

You won’t see many flags or patriotic banners at these gatherings. This is a day for family fellowship, dancing, games, and good soul food.

As I look on it today, it’s a very subtle form of protest in response to the slap in the face many may feel on the 4th. But this protest is one where blacks show love for each other, in spite of Independence Day that excludes us, and the dismal condition that American now leaves us.

In today’s divisive climate, many minorities and oppressed people, may not share in my same sentiment every day, but definitely may feel it on the 4th of July, Independence Day.

Yippee! Happy 4th of July

Today, in a writing workshop, at Denver Public Library, I was introduced to the poet Adrienne Rich, and her poem, Prospective Immigrants Please Note. The poetry instructor, from the Lighthouse Writer’s Workshop, the sponsor of the Hard Times Writer’s Workshop, read this poem to a group of about 25 writers, including me, who all use writing to overcome hard times.

The poem is beautifully written, and resonated with most of the group, likely because it is very relevant today, in the United States, but also in Europe and Israel.

Though this poem was written in 1951, it seems as though it was written for today.

Summary and Analysis of Prospective – Immigrants Please Note By Adrienne Rich – On Jul 20, 2017 – By Neha Basu – Jul 20, 2017

About Adrienne Rich

Adrienne Rich was born on May 16, 1929 in Maryland, USA. Rich’s upbringing was dominated by the intellectual ambitions her father had for her. She went to Radcliffe College and focused mainly on writing and poetry. Her first collection of poetry, A Change of World, was published in 1951 and was selected by W. H. Auden for the Yale Series of Younger Poets prize. She married Alfred Haskell Conrad in 1953, whom she left in 1970. In 1976, Rich acknowledged her lesbianism for the first time. Apart from poetry, she wrote several books of nonfiction prose. A significant amount of her work is centered around the rights women in the society. Rich received several awards, including Academy of American Poet’s Wallace Stevens Award. She passed away on March 27, 2012 at the age of eighty-two.

About Prospective Immigrants Please Note

”Prospective Immigrants Please Note” is a poem directed towards immigrants. Being Jewish, Rich probably dealt with what all immigrants have to deal with. In this poem, Rich tries to apprise potential immigrants about what they might have to face if they enter a foreign land, and what they have to gain if they choose not to.

Setting of Prospective Immigrants Please Note

The opening line sets the scene for the rest of the poem. The reader can imagine prospective immigrants, extremely perplexed and worried, trying to figure out what could be the best choice for their future. The reader can imagine these people asking themselves, ‘What happens if I stay?’ and ‘What happens if I leave?’ The poet gives them an idea of what may happen if they makes either of these decisions. Read More

Poet Adrienne Rich Reads ‘Prospective Immigrants Please Note’ – 6 years ago – BillMoyers.com

Adrienne Rich, Victor Hernandez Cruz, and Michael S. Harper have changed the way poetry is heard, read, and absorbed. The program this reading was excerpted from showcases these three poets who exult in language’s ability to illuminate culture and history. Filmed at the Biennial Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival. (58 minutes)

Prospective Immigrants Please Note by Adrienne Rich – 389 views – gnl092992 – Published on Mar 21, 2011

“What to the Slave is 4th of July?”- James Earl Jones Reads Frederick Douglass’s Historic Speech – 29,086 views – Democracy Now! – Published on Jul 4, 2017

https://democracynow.org – In a Fourth of July holiday special, we begin with the words of Frederick Douglass. Born into slavery around 1818, Douglass became a key leader of the abolitionist movement. On July 5, 1852, in Rochester, New York, he gave one of his most famous speeches, “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro.” He was addressing the Rochester Ladies Antislavery Society. This is actor James Earl Jones reading the speech during a performance of historian Howard Zinn’s acclaimed book, “Voices of a People’s History of the United States.” He was introduced by Zinn


Dear America

Kevy Michaels

Dear America

I love you

I love you because

I know no other place to love

But I hate you too

Because I know you

And my mother knows about you

Because her mother’s mother passed

It down to her

Dear America

You help so many

…Even the four legged

You seem so kind

To everyone

…But not to my kind

Dear America you make

Me feel equal, only sometimes

But especially when I ‘shake dat ass’

Or dance in the boxing ring

…Or on the football field

But once you learn my choreography

You treat me ‘Like a sucker MC’

Dear America

Did you know?

That lava flows through my veins

And, I’ve come accustomed the heat sensation

I’m fortified by the fire of the sun

…God even breaths my breaths for me

And I have turned bondage

Both the classic and the remix versions

Into magnificence!

Magnificence, that coincidentally

You love

…But still

You hate me

Dear America

Why do you keep hurting me?

Is it because you know who’s

Breathing my breaths?

…Who’s guiding my steps?

Do you figure I can take this

Because I’m strong?

Or America

Is it because I can turn pain

Into joy,

Trials into Triumphs,

And, create masterpieces

From garbage?

…The treasures that I create

Makes you happy

And keeps your conscience occupied

Dear America


Happy 4th of July!

Now, let’s celebrate the 4th of July/Independence Day with old school barbecue music that most blacks in the South know very well, and will probably listen to this 4th of July.

O’Jays – Family Reunion www.getbluesinfo.com – 753,748 views – Bluespinola – etbluesinfo – Published on Jan 7, 2008

Tyler Perry’s Diary of a Mad Black Woman – 7. “House Party” – 722,816 views – Lionsgate Unlocked – Published on May 14, 2009


Jill Scott – Family Reunion 2004 – 88,596 views – ArchieGe – Published on Jul 27, 2008

From the “Beautifully Human” album

Family Business – 543,614 views – Kanye West – Topic – Published on May 31, 2017

Provided to YouTube by Universal Music Group North America – Follow chance on social media . ♥

Old School R&B Party Jams – 263,109 views – Dj Fade – Published on Dec 31, 2017

Old School R&B Party and Club Jams Mixed by the World Famous DJ Fade Follow DJ Fade on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/mixtapesurge…

90’S R&B PARTY MIX ~ R. Kelly, Brandy, SWV, Lauryn Hill, Mary J. Blige, BlackStreet, Usher, Total – 196,729 views – Xclusive Music – Published on May 24, 2018

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5 thoughts on “Yippee! It’s 4th of July – Okay, Then…

  1. I appreciate your honesty and in particular this part: “We have the right to choose individually, and are not forced to have a monolithic perspective, such as being totally conservative, or totally liberal. We can choose to be a bit of either, if we want to.” There is too much polarization in this world and particularly in our country. My husband and I went to the movies on July 4th. That’s it. The holiday has lost my interest over the years.

  2. When you talk about white people celebrating the 4th July who do you mean? Italian Americans? French? German? English? Everyone living in multi-cultural America or their ancestors have come from somewhere else. Except for American Indians.
    I understand why you wouldn’t want to celebrate yesterday’s Fourth of July but (human nature being what it is) despite things never ever being perfect, things are constantly improving. It’s interesting to note that these days the more white people try, the more black people reject the attempt.

    1. Mary, maybe I did not convey my message well.

      Blacks do celebrate Independence Day, but not in the same way and not for the same reasons.

      This usually is a day of fellowship and love among the community, but not a celebration of America’s Independence, because as a whole, blacks in America aren’t.

      I mentioned in an earlier post that no one can dictate how long pain lingers for another person. I am still going through pain over my caregiving sibling rivalr. Many say I’m living in the past and should get over it. But that’s mine to manage, no one elses.

      Consider that separation from America in minority communities, stems from racism is alive and active.
      To be fair, whites must humble themselves, if only to accept the damage caused, giving victims the right to heal inside, in their own time.

      Thanks for your feedback. If ever interested in posting an alternative or complimentary article, just let me know.


      1. Mary, I apologize. It appears that I may not have conveyed my message clearly.

        Blacks in America do celebrate Independence Day.

        They just celebrate it by expressing fellowship and love within their respective communities. They also celebrate it for a different reason. I suggested perhaps in subtle protest of the irony of being called as a US citizen to celebrate an Independence Day where blacks, by and large, really aren’t.

        I mentioned in a prior post entitled, Everyone Says Forget the Past, But No One Tells You How, that no one has the right to dictate how long it takes for another to grieve and heal from their pains. That is totally under their jurisdiction.

        Some blacks have already healed, but many have not. Blacks are not monolithic, and therefore don’t all act in unison.

        But based on the fact that racism is still alive and is being experienced today, as well as, historically and over generations, it will take a long time for this healing to occur. The hemorrhaging has to stop first, in my opinion, but the assailant is still stabbing us, an wants us to stop bleeding.

        Perhaps, others should consider humbling themselves to the victim’s timeline. That would be a reconciling gesture.

        I appreciate your feedback. I encourage you to consider submitting articles for me to post on alternative and complimentary views.


    2. I checked out your blog.
      You have a beautiful blog!
      I’m really impressed with the layout and quality of posts.

      I hope that you seriously consider allowing me to re-post a selected complimentary article. Our wisdom should be shared as much as possible.


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