Posted: April 4th, 2022
What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?
The Declaration of Independence announced that all men are created equal and white America celebrated the announcement; black slaves, however, could not. Although they may have been created equal (a point disputed at the time, as blacks were deemed by many in the medical field to be of inferior intellect), they certainly were not held to be of equal status upon their entry into America as slaves. What seemed an apparent, self-evident right in the Declaration of Independence did not become legally apparent until 1865 with the ratification of the 13th Amendment. And even then blacks were still subjected to the Black Codes and to Jim Crow laws for the better part of a century. And even today they prejudiced against by a justice system that profits from their incarceration. The fact is that the Fourth of July did not mean the same thing to the slave that it did to John Adams.
What has changed since Douglass speech to now? Is slavery abolished? Perhaps in name only. The new slave plantations have been offshored to distant lands by corporations established and entrenched through neo-colonial, imperialistic processes in Asia. Even in the US, the prison industrial complex, a largely private for-profit industry, outsources the labor of inmates to these same corporations. The conflict of interest at the heart of the justice system is condemned only by radical activists like Angela Davis and lamented by Black Lives Matteryet the latters message is also associated with hysterical cries to defund the police, and as crime rises in urban areas like New York and Portland, polarization between whites and blacks increases. Whites feel that they are being made to pay for the Peculiar Institution of the Founding Fathers. But what should be done about it?
Blacks today are told to trust the science and accept a vaccine that was taken by Hank Aaron days before he died. There has been no commemoration for Hank Aaron, one of baseballs great black players of all timewhy (MLB, 2021)? Fear that it might make other blacks mistrust the science? Yet this is the same scientific establishment that conducted the Tuskegee Experiments. Why should black America trust this science? It has used and abused them from day one. America has never been for thembut rather for the hypocritical establishment that used them and misused them and continues to abuse them. Douglass pointed that out in his speech: the Declaration of Independence was their Passover. For blacks it was a hollow and hypocritical expression. Even Thomas Paine lamented it, but then he actually believed that all men were equal. The Founding Fathers evidently did not. Even a century later, that belief persisted. Confederate Vice President Alexander H. Stephens believed in the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man (Douglass, 1852).
Douglass affirmed that blacks would love to be free in the Southand yet emancipation did not really free them (Douglass, 1848). The Black Codes were essentially a return to a servile social position for blacks. That whiff of freedom that came with the 13th Amendment did not last long in the South. The Civil War did not end their subjection to the Establishment.
And today slavery persists in a mental, spiritual and social form. The new nations of the world are the corporations that dictate actions as though the US and other states around the world were subservient to them. The Fourth of July is an invitation to one and all to purchase Coca-Cola, buy a Ford truck, blast fireworks made by wage slaves from a foreign land. Moreover, the air is still smoky from the riots and protests of 2020, which have persisted into 2021, even though the show trial of Derek Chauvin has concluded with a guilty verdict. The races remain divided, even amongst themselves. Division is the new normal in America. Polarization is increasing with every passing day in every respect.
What should be done to improve the racial polarization in the USA? The obvious answer is to be honest about what ails America. The justice system has been corrupted by a for-profit private prison industrial complex that farms out prison labor for pennies on the dollar to corporations. These same corporations have off-shored labor to wage slaves in foreign lands. The values that the media preaches are completely materialistic and empty of anything resembling virtue. Virtue signaling has replaced real virtue. The nation has embraced the Puritanism of Hawthornes Scarlet Letter without even realizing that Hawthorne was condemning that Puritanismnot advocating for it.
To end racial polarization, the USA needs to end the cancel culture movement that has arisen. It needs to promote a more positive message about community, family values, common humanity and a culture based on real virtues. Virtue is missing from education; there is no character education todayit is all rooted in critical theory and conflict theory instead, which only serves to increase the polarization. People want honesty and respectbut they are being trained and taught to agitate, oppose and staunchly dig in their heels in the face of any who have a difference of opinion. This is a recipe for war, not for peace. Racial polarization thrives on this kind of malevolent spirit. The spirit of peace is needed. That is not a spirit that can be found in any man, because it does not come from this earthbut rather from above. If this nation truly wants to heal, it needs to kneelnot in protest, but in prayer.
Frederick Douglass, Letter to Thomas Auld (September 3, 1848) p. 3
Douglass, Frederick, The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro (July 5, 1852).
MLB. (2021). ‘Proud’ Aaron receives COVID-19 vaccine. Retrieved from
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