It’s been 6 or 7 years since I’ve celebrated the 4th of July.
Living in Germany for the last five has had something to do with it, but even during my last few years in America something changed. My family, caught up in their tangled lives, stopped having the annual bbq, and honestly– what is the 4th of July other than a bbq and some fireworks?
And we still see the remnants of that truth today.
For example: This video. I’ve seen it before, but it’s recirculating right now because of the holiday. It’s supposed to be “funny”, but when I see the fear in this child’s eyes, I know it runs so much deeper than the superficial chuckle it’s supposed to evoke.
That fear is ancestral.
Since their inception as “patty rollers”, the police have always been an institution vital to maintaining “American Independence” through the capture, imprisonment, and (often) torture and murder of Black and Brown bodies… Is it really that funny? Should we light the grill now?
Or this video of an Indigenous Woman burning sage — a sacred ritual to clear bad energy — attacked by police who rip it out of her hands and arrest her while a crowd chants “LET HER GO”. This video is not even 24 hours old and reflects 400 years of brutal imagery of the forced relocation of Native Peoples by the American government.
So how far have we come actually? Where are the hot dogs?
This one popped up on facebook too. I screenshot it because I think the comment left under it is important. It says: Lest we forget the endless Cuban, Central and South American, Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese (Peoples) slaughtered by Uncle Sam.
So many millions of people are tied to “American Independence” because of colonization and war. This isn’t a day to celebrate. It’s a day to mourn.
When your bbq chicken is more important than the millions of people whose lives have been taken (either physically, psychologically, or socio-economically) by the occupation of “The United States of America”, don’t add insult to injury. Do your colonizer thang, boo. Light it up.
I’m on the other side.