Below is from my observations and opinions based on my social media circle of influence. Imagine me thinking out loud:
This past weekend the “United” States of America celebrated it’s independence day. With the current climate of racial tension and societal injustice, this year’s celebration was…interesting. In the 21st century, America being a melting pot and all, was able to bring most residents together to remember the independence from British rule and celebrate freedom. But with revelations and awareness over the years it is obviously clear that freedom is relative. For the first time in my lifetime, Americans and it’s constituents seem to be grossly divided about the celebration of the 4th of July. Months, weeks and days before the 4th, African Americans called on their people to not only refrain from celebrating but also contributing to the economy. In other words, don’t buy anything particularly from big non black businesses. As I scrolled through my Instagram, I noticed the differences per demographic. White Americans, excluding the woke, donned their red, white, and blue in pride. African Americans went about their day like any other weekend during summer. But it was the immigrant black friends that caught my eye. Lo and behold were those colors in their posts; red, white and blue. I was then reminded again, each demographic has their own reason to celebrate or not celebrate this freedom. Because, again freedom in America, like any other country is relative. I believe the problem lies in the fact that America boasts about being the land of the free. In all honesty, compared to the vast majority of the world, America really does have immense freedom and privileges. But looking through the nooks and crannies, you realize that in comparison to the western world, that freedom is quite partial. So this year, some chose to focus on and appreciate their privilege. Some chose to show gratitude to a country that gave them freedom. While some focusing on the irony of living in the land of free chose to take advantage of the holiday without celebrating the holiday. Oh and there’s still this virus being passed around, in case you forgot.
It was an interesting 4th of July to observe. I spent it on the beach in Grand Haven (more on that on a later post). The annual firework show put on by the city was cancelled due to the pandemic. And so the skies were filled with fireworks from residents in their homes. I stayed in Grand Rapids for the night and it wasn’t until after 2:30 in the morning that the noise of fireworks died down in the black and Hispanic neighborhood. A very interesting Independence day.
FYI: I do intend to address my observations of the racial divide and from conversations with different types of Americans based on the recent acts of racism in America. Because this blog is very public, I need to be careful with such a sensitive topic. It’s very different from the back and forth conversations I’ve had. It’s an extremely intricate issue in America with no simple solution…if there really is one. Plus, I will be addressing it as a Christian Nigerian immigrant who has engaged with diverse demographics of Americans since living in this country. My perspective will be different.