America Taught Me

 

Ravyn X & Ryan X:

Nearly a week ago, vibrant colors painted the evening sky, explosives sputtered, and barbecues were lit. July 4th! –The day we commemorated relentless demands for liberty by our nation’s founding fathers. We celebrated their refusal to accept anything less than a revolution that would offer complete independence from their oppressor. We celebrated… rebellion (a particularly violent one, might we add).

Alton-Philando

But what pushed the colonies to the point of rebellion? For the most part, they grew tired and–for lack of more political correctness– were pissed off with economic castration as a result of British taxes, and political repression. More importantly, they suffered from denial of fundamental rights that should have been afforded to them as citizens. They were underrepresented in British government, Britain controlled their foreign affairs, and British troops mobilized on colonial land. These tyrannical circumstances led to radical messages, such as “Give me liberty or give me death!,” and “Don’t fire unless fired upon. But, if they mean to have a war, let it begin here!” and self-defense (… sound familiar?) They even followed the Hutchinson Letters’ command to boycott trade with their mother country.

Simply put, these folks were so fed up with being oppressed, marginalized, and politically castigated, that they found complete separation from Britain to be their only solution. Sparks of revolt flew high and wide when British troops massacred five colonists in Boston (…we’ll let you catch that on your ride home). For six years, violence and bloodshed led the way to colonial liberation.

Two hundred forty years later, we find that they were successful in their violent attempts (we can assume the British government would have preferred peaceful demonstrations). If America didn’t achieve independence through peaceful demonstrations, why, then, are Black people expected to be “peaceful” in our rebellion?

While we aren’t too fond of the representation in those who drafted the Declaration of Independence,  or the way it has been manipulated to perpetuate discrimination and oppression, there is one clause in the opening paragraph that is of interest to us:

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another… a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

USA flag

The first statement of the document that birthed the United States of America, exposes a truth that, it seems, no one wants to admit (let alone offer to the oppressed): citizens of this country are obliged to separate from the government if ever it becomes fascist or fails to properly protect and serve us. Not only are we obliged to separation, we are to do so aggressively. This congress of writers found no grievance in denouncing government. Thomas Jefferson stated, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants… It is its natural manure,”  He explicitly gave future US citizens license to revolt in response to our rights not being upheld. It can even be inferred that Jefferson viewed violence as a necessary change agent. It is the reactionary citizen that maintains the commitment to liberty and equality. The founding fathers made sure to issue a charge to citizens: “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

For the entirety of the two hundred forty years subsequent to the drafting of these very words, Black people have endured political, economic, spiritual, educational, social, and psychological oppression reinforced by exponential violence and murder. From the Convict Leasing System to Reconstruction. From Reconstruction to sharecropping to Jim Crow. From Jim Crow to mass incarceration. From mass incarceration to redlining and gentrification. From gentrification to police brutality and systemic genocide. Need we say more? For nearly two and half centuries, Black people have been at war. The only thing that isolates this war from any other is–we don’t even know we are in it. Because we have been deeply conditioned by anti-Black propaganda and ignorance has plagued us for far too long.

By the power vested in the document that ordains this country’s statehood, we are legally bound to avenge the lives and rights of those from whom this anti-Black government has stolen. We are impelled to express righteous anger by any means necessary. Yet, for two hundred forty years, our “peaceful” outcries have been met with volatile rejection.

It is now time for us to uphold the United States regime accountable. Nearly a week ago, vibrant colors painted the evening sky, explosives sputtered, and barbecues were lit. Nearly a week ago, we celebrated the declaration of independence for our country. We celebrated rebellion. Now it is time to fulfill our duty to a free and Black nation.

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