Fourth of July "Truly" Patriotic and Politically Significant for African-Americans

Fourth of July "Truly" Patriotic and Politically Significant for African-Americans
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Fireworks this Fourth of July will glow brighter for many African-Americans who may not have not truly felt the authentic, honest brand of patriotism they now feel since Barack Obama's election.

This may be just another holiday for some to get together while viewing the bombs bursting with glare; Americana is at its finest with too much good food at one seating, and the gathering of friends and family to celebrate a day that many do not truly appreciate.

But for many Blacks who have felt ambivalence, separatism and exclusion; this will be a Fourth of July like no other.

Just last year, I remember celebrating the Fourth when we barbequed ribs and chicken and watched Fireworks with not many patriotic feelings, but with harmless and fun festivities.

As a person of mixed race, I have had many blacks since Obama's election confide in me with comments along these lines, "We finally have a brother in the White House, and that's more than I ever thought would happen."

"This year I will really be celebrating," said Chris. "This day will not just be about who can cook the best steak. I'm going to make sure my nieces and nephews really know what this country means to me, a place where anything's possible."

An African-American friend who manages a local grocery store still has a higher jump in his step when I see him. He says he feels somehow more like a part of America-- even though his family has been in America since his great-great grandparents came over as slaves.

He said he feels as if anything is possible now that our president looks more like him, his family and the people in the neighborhood he grew up in.

I have a friend from high school who feels more confident, accepted and even more fashionable and hip with Michelle Obama as First Lady, whom she said resembles her grandmother when she was young, when Blacks weren't allowed to eat at lunch counters.

On the news after Obama was elected, a boy broke down in tears and was barely able to talk about how much it meant to him to see a Black man become president. He said he didn't have a father, and that no one had ever told him that he might dream to be president, because in his neighborhood, black boys just didn't dream that far.

He said he dreamt of attending college one day, as no one in his family ever had, and that he wished he had known who his father was so that they could share this experience together.

This is not to say in any way that life for minorities; and especially for Blacks will somehow magically or drastically change even during Obama's presidency. It often takes more than a lifetime and then some to break down the barriers and bars that have been built up to enslave and dismantle generations, movements and a multitude of stigmas and outright isolation.

As an American who is a mixture of Japanese and Russian-Jewish, I haven't exactly known where to fit into society, let alone where some of my patriotism has fallen and waved from time to time.

During college I was told I could only check one box when applying for scholarships, so as the savvy student I was, I always checked Asian so I may get a better chance of financial help. But I soon found out through campus politics that Asian was close to white as we were considered "smart" and "easily educated".

As a person who is considered ethnically mixed, I was equally infused and confused as to my identity as where I fit into the American culture.

Mistaken sometimes for Hispanic, Italian, Filipino and Hawaiian, and always allowed the wink and nod from anyone of color as I might possibly be "one of them" at least in part, I have experienced my racially diverse background as both a blessing and curse in a society that often casts the different and questionable aside.

But I am not Black, and I don't assume to understand for one moment what it feels like to be Black in America, and suddenly realize that you might have a chance at a whole lot more than you ever thought possible.

Every American president past has been Caucasian and bred for leadership nearly from birth. No Jew, Italian, Indian, Hispanic, Asian or Black have ever been painted by any presidential portrait artists; but this will change now. What a declaration of independence right there.

Some say that a picture is worth more than a thousand words; the images of our history and present time reflect more than millions of words that can ever be printed, emailed, blogged, texted or tweeted.

Images of slaves, lynching, segregation, civil rights marches, the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., and photographs of black soldiers who were forced into wars but not allowed to sleep under shelter with their own infantry's, not allowed to vote and rationed only scraps of food like animals.

The images are changing and possible images of the future are bright, untested and thus far unimaginable, just as the swearing in of a black president.

"He looks like me," cried the unnamed boy on CNN. "The president, he looks like me."

For Black Americans, this will be a Fourth of July like no other.

The food will taste a little more flavorful, the music certainly more in tune, and the fireworks symbolizing a whole lot more while they glare brighter and stronger along to the rockets red glare and the Star Spangled Banner.

The summer is better now.

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