By: Dr. Darby
This week I wanted to take some time and discuss what it means to be independent. Webster defines being independent as “free from outside control; not depending on another’s authority”. The feeling of not being under another’s authority is amazing! I know this because after working for others for years I decided to branch out on my own almost a year ago and it was one of the best decisions of my life.
I’ve never been a huge celebrator of the 4th of July. Yes it was nice to have time off of work but it never truly felt right to celebrate. I wouldn’t truly find out the meaning of the holiday until I was in my late 20’s. Going to a predominantly white high school I didn’t learn a lot of black history. They taught what I call “the basics”, a little about slavery, some about Rosa Parks and an overview of Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. When I met my husband, that’s when my education truly began. My husband went to a predominately black high school which taught him way more and then he began to teach me. I’m thankful for him for many reasons but I must say this one is at the top of the list.
So yesterday when our 7 year old starting asking questions about why we don’t celebrate July 4th I was able to take the ranks. Both of our sons are pretty inquisitive so his questions didn’t surprise me at all. We talked and watched videos about slavery, the Civil War, Juneteenth, Harriet Tubman, the Civil Rights movement, and more. I talked about how Black people weren’t free from slavery when the 4th of July holiday was established and in many ways still aren’t independent today.
At one point he said “so all white people are bad?”. I could have easily said “yes”, and let’s be clear after watching some of the history again, a part of me wanted to say “yes white people are bad and don’t trust them”, because that is essentially what I was taught. I told my son that there are people who you trust and have a good relationships in all races and some that you can’t. It would be beneficial if everyone would teach their children the real US history, to learn from others and respect each other. We will continue to teach our children to be proud of who they are and how to create their own spaces. We are creating generational wealth that will afford them some opportunities that we didn’t have. Isn’t that the goal? For the next generation to have better than you did?
I encourage you to determine the ways in which you are independent. Maybe it’s being independent from toxic relationships, addiction, setting healthy boundaries. Maybe the independence of owning your own business, house, car. We as Black people have to create our own independence. We’ve come a long way but yet still have a long way to go!