We are in the US living on stolen land from Indigenous peoples. White people stole black and brown people from other lands to be our slaves, killed the Bison, dug up the prairies, cut down the trees, and genocided the original inhabitants of the current USA. The oppression of non-whites continues today, this minute.
What is the Fourth of July to non-whites? A celebration of white crimes.
People can feel pleased to live in the USA. People with unacknowledged white privilege and people who lived elsewhere under more oppressive conditions may celebrate their nation. We want to draw attention, with empathy and compassion for all, that the non-white perspective of July 4th may not be nationalistic.
May we strive to do all we can to dismantle white supremacy and all oppression at home and abroad. Why? Equality. Non-violence. Empathy. Compassion. Love. People are the same, with the same needs—and just different strategies for meeting those needs.
One way to start on the path to inequality is via reparations: White people pay the indigenous peoples for broken treaties, genocide, neglect, imprisonment, and for centuries of economic, social, legal oppression. White people pay descendants of slaves for their enslavement, murder, rape, degradation, and for centuries of economic, social, legal oppression. White people pay nations who were plundered of their citizens and natural resources.
Where will the money come from? From white people who benefit economically from stolen land that now has a monetary value. White people who raised crops via slave labor. White people who kept non-whites oppressed to white people’s economic advantage.
White privilege doesn’t mean you’re rich; it means you live on land that was stolen. You don’t have to think about non-whites who live in your county, state, country in inequality. Giving up white privilege can start with thinking about these facts, with acknowledgement, and then moving to empathy and compassion. Rage may follow. Action must follow.
Starting is important.
See the Fourth of July from the perspective of a non-white:
“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 cruelty to which he is a constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham…”
— Frederick Douglass
“The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro”
Rochester, New York | July 5th, 1852
Consider Mount Rushmore, the carving of white images on the mountains of sacred land land stolen from the Oglala Lakota Nation. This land is patriotic to the white oppressor. What does it signify to the Oglala Lakota?
Imagine your home was burned, your land stolen, your relatives murdered, any survivors forcibly relocated to inferior lands. And then a monument to the invaders is built on your former home. How does that feel?
Reparations are overdue to peoples enslaved and murdered and disenfranchised by white colonizers. This is not a radical idea. This is part of starting to take accountability for our actions.
You don’t want to surrender your way of life? Think of all those whose ways of life were taken by force. You are being asked to choose to uplift peoples trampled by your nation. Please support this choice.