Holiday's Black People Don't Celebrate.

4 Holidays Black People Don't 'Really' Celebrate

At least not for the same reasons white people do.

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Let's be honest, most holidays, specifically the federal ones, historically exclude black people, not that many of them considered Black people to be people at the time they were conceived in the first place.

1. Independence Day.

Chris Rock Tweet

On July 14th, 1776 The Continental Congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence. Yippie! Except, slaves were still slaves. Everything the colonists wanted for themselves, they denied to the African's they had stolen and were torturing. Not only were we not considered to be people, but no constitutional rights included us, and until we have a new constitution, I will continue to argue that they still don't. While white colonists were happy to be free from Great Britain, slaves weren't free from their horrors until June 19th, 1865, Juneteenth.

Black people today don't really celebrate the 4th of July as becoming independent from Great Britain. In fact, we aren't really celebrating anything. We are just glad to have a day off and finally enjoy those fireworks...

2. Columbus Day.

Christopher Columbus

Most Black people in America see Columbus Day as nothing more than a "banks are closed" day. There's really nothing to celebrate. Columbus didn't discover America, as you can't really discover somewhere people already know about and live, nor was he the first outsider to travel there, as Africans routinely sailed to the Americas to trade gold and other things. The colonizer also thought he was in India, but I guess we can still give him an E for effort.

Columbus' "discovery" also made way for the mass genocide of indigenous tribes, and black people take absolutely zero part in that.

In fact, we'd be down to re-name Columbus Day as "Indigenous Peoples Day," as well as take the day off to BBQ and drink beer.

3. Veterans Day.

Black Military Veterans

The treatment of Black people in America has always been less than stellar, and that also goes for the treatment of Black military veterans as well.

We can go back to the Red Summer, or WWII and come up with hundreds of instances where Americans were all gung-ho for all but black troops, but we can also go back to just a few days ago...

Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., an Army veteran was shot and killed in an Alabama mall after police assumed he was a shooter. Not a single "respect our troops"-er came to his defense. In fact, the narrative decided that because he was a black man, he had no business carrying a concealed weapon in an open carry state next to dozens of white men who also had concealed weapons.

Or what about Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., a former marine, who was called a "nigger" by police before they broke down his door, then tased and shot him to death after responding to his faulty "medical alert" bracelet.

My point, too many Americans only have respect for the veterans and active troops when they are white. Plain and simple, why should black America pay tribute to a cohort many are excluded from?

And aside from a very large and "white" military, such as ones like to conquer and colonialize, many Black American's also see the military as an extension of the police.

4. Thanksgiving.

The First Thanksgiving

For many Americans, Thanksgiving is a beloved holiday for spending time with loved ones while eating dried out turkey, arguing politics and thinking of something unique to be thankful for to say during the prayer.

But for some of us, Thanksgiving is a controversial holiday with racist and dark origins. Much like Columbus Day, Thanksgiving is seen as the celebration of the conquering of Indigenous people by colonists.

A lot of Thanksgiving narratives, particularly the ones taught to us in elementary school, paint the biased and watered down picture of the Wampanoag Indians and the Pilgrims "looking pasts their differences" in order to share and enjoy a meal with one another. As children, we are taught that the pilgrims were "thankful" for the Natives' hospitality and so they invited them to enjoy a three-day feast. Of course what this narrative leaves out are the diseases the pilgrims brought to North America. And if that didn't kill enough of the Natives, the rape, mass murder, and Trail of Tears that followed would.

Due to the actions of the colonists, centuries later Indigenous tribes make up about 2% of the U.S population, face racial discrimination, suffer largely from alcoholism and joblessness and still fight the federal and local governments for the land and access to clean water.

Something else left out from this narrative...black people.

Though it is common knowledge that Africans frequently sailed to and from the Americas before Christopher Columbus "discovered it," they have never been any noted in the story of the pilgrims. In fact, Africans aren't noted in "American History" at all before 1619 and the arrival of the first slave ship.

That being said, Thanksgiving is a little different for Black people living in America. While this history of the Indigenous people and the colonists in the Americas isn't really "our" history and "our" ancestors weren't the ones causing mass genocide, we find some solidarity in the similarities between the colonization of the Americas and the colonization of African nations and the Caribbean.

We aren't thankful for the colonization of a place that would later enslave our great-great grandparents, but we do like to eat and have a day off work.

Black people and white people don't have the same history, and it's not divisive or racist to say that, it's the truth. Black people don't typically have a history of trying to mass murder other races in order to steal their land, so not only is it a bit odd to watch other celebrates those "accomplishments," but it is also uneasy for some of us to partake in the festivities in which many of us were victims.

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15 Fourth Of July Fun Facts And Trivia

The United States of America: Land of the free, home of the brave.
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Fourth of July is a holiday I look forward to every year! Full of outside, summer fun, barbecued foods, and firework displays. Behind all of that, however, is history! In celebration of our nation's Independence Day, here are 15 fun facts and pieces of trivia:

1. John Hancock was the only member of the Continental Congress to formally sign the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776.

2. The Fourth of July was not declared a federal holiday until 1938.

3. The first White House Fourth of July party was held in 1804.

4. Around 150 million hot dogs are consumed on Fourth of July (wonder if this statistic includes the hot dogs consumed during the annual Nathan's Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest?)

5. Back in 1776, when the Declaration of Independence was signed, 2.5 million new people lived in the U.S. Now 240 years later, 311 million people live.

6. The now American-celebrated song, Yankee Doodle, was originally written by officers of the British army to make fun of backwoods Americans.

7. Three United States presidents died on the Fourth of July: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Monroe.

8. July 4th is also celebrated in the Philippines, because in 1946, the country was recognized as an independent nation.

9. In one year, $600 million is spent on fireworks alone in the U.S.

10. Most of the signers of the Declaration did not formally sign until August 2, 1776.

11. Though it is no treasure map as predicted by Nicholas Cage in "Treasure Hunt 2", the message "Original Declaration of Independence dated 4th July 1776" is written upside down on the back of the Declaration of Independence.

12. More than 14,000 firework displays are put on across the country on Fourth of July!

13. Bristol, Rhode Island is home to the world's oldest Independence Day celebration. It dates back to 1785!

14. In 1781, the great state of Massachusetts became the first one to declare Independence Day a holiday

15. Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks Display is the largest in the United States

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia.org

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We Need to Forget About Advertising And Bring Back Small-Town-Style Parades

What makes small-town parades special

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Today it seems most parades are extended commercials; each business uses their own float as an advertisement but it seems the foundation of a modern parade should be more than just a consumer's buffet. The Chatham Fourth of July Parade in Cape Cod, MA is considered one of the last small-town American parades.

What makes the small-town American parade special is its emphasis on community. I've had the luxury of walking in the Chatham Fourth of July Parade for three years now and every year there is a theme that somehow relates to their town, it is town pride.

What's special about this small-town parade is the passion its participants have. It's not a hundred professionals, strangers to each other working to put up the big inflatable snoopy or the muppets float like the Thanksgiving day parade. The focus of the parade is not one big celebrity people could only dream of having a conversation with. The small-town parade is average people with average jobs coming together to create something not even close to average.

All of the locals in town work on their own float for what they are representing, like a small business or theatre troupe or ice cream shop. It's a small-town, most of the people in the parade know each other and lend each other materials or ideas. Technically the Chatham parade is a competition, each float competing for a plaque and some publicity but that's not why all of these people come out to participate.

It's not to win, or to show-off their businesses or events show how fancy their float is. It's to have fun and to make the spectators have fun. It is a time to forget the troubles back home and enjoy the people you are watching the parade with. It is an opportunity to live in the moment.

As I walked the parade route, I saw all of the people watching smiling or talking or singing along to each float's music. The kids were all sandwiched in the front row with little bags or frisbees eagerly awaiting the goodies traditionally handed out. It's like Christmas in July for the kids. The parade route is hot, with close to no shade, even just sitting watching is enough to dehydrate for the day and yet nobody seems to care.

Everyone is still smiling. The point of a parade is not to advertise or show-off, the point of a parade is, as the Chatham, Cape Cod parade proves, to bring a community together under a common theme. It doesn't matter if the theme is pride or holidays or any other hundred themes, all that matters is the people of a community are together, supporting each other and having fun.

Cover Image Credit:

Anna Favetta

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