Despite the massive amounts of patriotism that is revered during this time of the year in observance of America’s independence from Great Britain, African Americans and other colonized people’s should not take part in these festivities. Though many American’s take pride in their country’s resistance against arbitrary rule during the 18th century, they tend to overlook the falsehood of establishing a settler-colonial nation on land that had been acquired through violence while also denying indigenous and enslaved people – many of whom died on the front lines of the Revolutionary War – the same right to be self-determinant that the dominant class had gone to war for. Since people of color were enslaved and denied basic human rights both before and after the American Revolution, there is no way that this holiday is one that we should celebrate and here are 5 reasons why…
1. Celebrating the Right to Economically Exploit People of Color
One fundamental discrepancy that the American Revolution was fought over is the financial wealth accumulated by colonial settlers. The amounts of wealth acquired by slave owners and slave-owning families in America was so massive that there had to be a second war fought over the ownership of black bodies. Great Britain, of course, had recognized the financial gains made by American colonists and believed it had the right to tax the colonies, however, colonial settlers were unwilling to be taxed for their not-so-hard-earned money. By winning the Revolutionary War colonial settlers would no longer be unfairly taxed by Great Britain and were able to make loads of money from free slave labor with little interference.
2. Celebrating American Independence While Denying Self-Determination for Others Is A Slap In The Face
America’s history of denying the right to self-determination for its colonial subjects while celebrating its own path to self-determination is an injustice. Since the arrival of colonial settlers in the Americas there has always been resistance by both the enslaved and indigenous peoples who already existed on these lands. However, these people have fallen subject to the rule of the colonial regime and have very little say in what the U.S. government imposes on them. To celebrate the independence of a violent and oppressive settler-colonial regime from outside rulership while denying politically and culturally autonomous groups their right to independence is a sin.
3. British Loyalists Threatened To Free Slaves
One tactic used by Virginia’s royal governor Lord Dunmore, was that he threatened to liberate Williamsburg slaves if colonists had went against the British authority. The British army had recruited the help of many enslaved black people to fight against the colonists by promising them freedom at the end of the end of the American Revolutionary War. Through the incitement of fear that African Americans would join the redcoats and be able to fight for their freedom, the U.S. congress decided to begin allowing black people to be enlisted in the U.S. military. Though neither side issued a claim it would free all enslaved people once the war was over, it’s fun to imagine how differently the course of history would be if American colonists had lost.
4. George Washington And Queen Elizabeth II Are Related?
Yes, you read that right. The first sitting president of America and the Queen of Britain are indeed related. Though Washington is not known to be related to George III, the monarch during the war, the ancestral history of colonial settlers shows that they descend directly from the many nations of Europe. Because of the family relationships of colonial settlers in America coming from Europe, America has always been aligned politically with Great Britain.
When it comes to global imperialism and colonialism nobody does it better than Great Britain or it’s daughter country The United States of America. The wealth accumulated by the U.S. through the unpaid labor of human beings has allowed it to flex its muscles all over the world and hold one of the 5 permanent seats on the United Nations security council along with the United Kingdom. These two nations have always been in cohorts with each other (United Nations and NATO) using white supremacy as the main justification for its oppressive institutions (see; “Brexit”) and allowing all non-people of color to enjoy the fruits of neocolonialism.
So how is a war fought and won when the ruler of the winning country is the cousin of the current ruler of the losing side? Yikes!
Many oppressed people in America are not independent, though most Americans will be celebrating the conception of a murderous nation. Indigenous communities have suffered great amounts of loss at the hands of the colonial regime and are no longer able to dictate for themselves the best way to live their lives according to their culture and political interests. African-Americans, many of whom will be celebrating the independence of their oppressor, have been fighting to be freed from the constraints of American colonialism for centuries while existing as a group with its own distinct culture and political interests. The right to nationhood is the most profound principle that the Revolutionary War was fought over and one that many Americans will not fight for when the people advocating for nationhood is a population of melanin producing beings (see; South Africa, Haiti, Hawaii, Marcus Garvey, etc.).