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Why It’s Hard To Celebrate Independence Day This Year

Independence Day

Well hello there! Did my “vague” title bring you here? Did it cause you to click with your typing fingers poised to leave me a sternly worded response.

Before you go on, I must inform you that the n-word is written in its entirety in this post. Just for clarification.


I promise you, this is not an “I hate the USA,” but a “I wish that the USA could get it right for ONCE!”

Let’s get some things straight. I’m a Navy Vet. I’m a woman. I’m a Christian. I’m the wife of a Minister. I’m Black.

With that being said let’s list some things that have caused unrest in my soul these past few weeks.

People being okay with the use of the word ‘nigger. Even going so far as to support the random use of the word with the fact that so many black rappers use it. *pause* The last time I checked, no rappers lived in my house, and I don’t purchase or listen to music that uses the word AND they didn’t represent the entire black population of the United States of America. Please stop that reasoning. I don’t use “Breaking Amish” or “Honey Boo-Boo” or ANY of the Real Housewives to make generalizations about one specific race, so let’s stop with the “so and so rapper said that word 60 times, why can’t *I*?” reasoning. Because my next question will be, “Why do you WANT to?”

The attack on women’s bodies.  This one is hard for me. I don’t like abortion one bit. Not one bit. The idea of it, the thought of having to go through it. However, I’m pretty sure that no one should have the right to tell other women what to do with their bodies. I’m taking a pretty simplistic approach here by giving it one paragraph, but I do feel that by doing sweeping motions of making something illegal – you drive for more dangerous practices outside the realm of safety. Hello Prohibition?!

I stood with Wendy Davis proudly as a Christian, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

The Trayvon Martin Case – I’m not sure where to begin without sounding all Huey P. Newton in this post. All I know is that our country is struggling with respect, and when your color lands you on the side of the line where respect towards you is not required, then you get a bit uncomfortable. I’ve limited my viewing of the case to a couple of minutes here and there because honestly, my heart breaks with how our justice system is failing. How my people are so vehemently demonized, and how without proper education we can be put on trial ourselves. How a general mistrust for anyone that doesn’t look like you makes you paranoid and jittery when you shouldn’t be.

I look at my neighborhood and how it’s changing. How no one cares if someone who isn’t black is walking through our neighborhood. I wish that it was the same for me and my family walking through a neighborhood opposite of ours. Oh, I’m not saying that this happens EVERY time I venture to see a friend in a predominantly white neighborhood, that I’m treated this way, I’m just saying that one time is too many.

I don’t want my children to grow up this way. I don’t want them having to second guess actions of theirs JUST because of skin color. I don’t want them to have to go through being compared to a monkey by people who couldn’t compete with one in general. Sorry, grade school flashback there. I’m not silly – color will always be a category in our world. I just don’t want to see it as one of where you’re treated like a human being or not.

Living in a country based on all people being created equal, I’m not sure that we’re going to   stop making excuses for people who continue to spread the vile types of hate that I KNOW  so many are trying to counteract. By not teaching your children that people of different ethnic backgrounds are weird. By encouraging them to friend every kid because kids are in their growing stages and this is how we eradicate all of the bias that exists in our world. We knock out hatred with love, and honestly, have you EVER met people more loving than children? They HUG everyone! Well, that is until parents put fear into them (and we’re not talking stranger danger fear.)  The fear of judgment, the fear of what THEIR friends will think if they see their child hanging out with someone who doesn’t look, speak, or act like them.

I made some pretty tough statements to stand behind regarding Rachel Jeantel last week. It wasn’t about her appearance, it wasn’t about the fact that she can’t read cursive, or the way she was speaking. It was about her demeanor. The way she was answering the defense attorney (who, for all intents and purposes I can’t stand – mostly for the knock-knock joke that he opened up with – secondly just for his general jerkiness) was allowing everyone to step in and give their two cents . Not that we live in a world that wouldn’t have done that anyway, but still. The MOTHER in me wanted to march right up to that stand and demand that she sit up straight, look directly in his eye and STOP using the word ‘sir’ with such venom. Then I had time to think. I’ve been on the stand before (figuratively) and I’ve almost come to that type of demeanor. One that says, why SHOULD I respect you if I already know that you think less of me? I mean, how does that work?

A frequent reply I get is: Well they are a product of their neighborhoods. I call hogwash. If that’s the case, then I need you to look at my husband and me. WE are a product of a neighborhood that long ago gave up on us. WE still went on and did great things. WE are raising children who are respectful AND respectable, yet I’m still fearful that my very loving 13-year-old will be judged on what skin color he is rather than his love for the arts, his ability to play the cello and tap dance. I feel like him having locs will cause people to automatically judge him as a thug when he’s so far from it that it’s almost laughable.

So much has gone through my heart and my mind these past few weeks that I’m not sure that I can handle more. I’m not sure my thoughts make sense any more. I’m not sure that I even want to share them because I’m honestly exhausted about having to defend myself and others on just needing respect. I’m tired of being put into a neat little box because of my race, my gender or my religion – or all three.

This is why my heart isn’t into celebrating the freedom that our country fought for, against another country that we felt was stifling our freedom to be autonomous, and then turned right around and stifled an entire race for so long – and continue to do so. We stifle races, ethnicities, genders. We’ve in a sense become who we fought so hard to break away from. And we MUST change that.

Thank you for listening.

And Happy Independence Day.

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Carolyn Owuor

Thursday 4th of July 2013

You did a wonderful job of expressing your thoughts on three topics that many of us are concerned with these days. Thank you for taking the time.


Thursday 4th of July 2013

The Houseful Reloaded: Why It's Hard To Celebrate Independence Day This Year


Thursday 4th of July 2013

Why It's Hard To Celebrate Independence Day This Year -

Janeane Davis

Wednesday 3rd of July 2013

I understand the points you are making in this post. I do not use the N word and neither do the people with whom I associate.As a black Christian wife and mother, I know that my body is mine and my God has given me freedom of choice over what to do with it. I have not been watching the Trayvon Martin trial. I am the mother of a little black boy and I want better for my son who told me when Obama first got elected that he was going to be president and Obama could be his Vice President. I have rambled a bit here, but the bottom line is that I celebrate freedom this 4th of July because this is my country, my people built it and I know my way around.


Wednesday 3rd of July 2013

I have not been able to watch the Trayvon Martin case at all as it breaks my heart. I think so many people have forgotten what brought it to this point, this media frenzy, a young boy had his life taken away for nothing. I don't voice my thoughts on a lot of the issues via social media but I pray. I pray that God will be our strength in this time of hate and genuine disrespect for other. We can do so much better, I really believe that.

Thank you for your thoughts.

Happy Independence Day to you and your loved ones!

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