On July 4th, comedian/actor Chris Rock put this statement out on Twitter:

"Happy white peoples independence day the slaves weren't free but I'm sure they enjoyed fireworks"

He took a lot of heat for it from many corners, saying he was ruining a national holiday. Sorry folks, but not everyone feels the same about holidays.

I'm proud to be an American. I have all sorts of red, white and blue items around the house. My dad was in the military, and I traveled around always knowing that I was in the greatest country in the world, except for those 3 years in Japan as a little kid.

So when July 4th comes around, I acknowledge that for the country this is a big deal. But for me, a black man in America... not so much. Even though the first person killed in the Revolutionary War was a black man, black people, nor any other minority that was around then, was considered as a real person, let alone a citizen. In many states, even free blacks didn't have the right to vote, and that's both the north and the south.

But today, July 9th, was the first step towards the independence of minorities, with the passage of the 14th Amendment on this day in 1868, or the 144th anniversary of that date. Funny, but I'm not sure there are any parades or songs celebrating this event. Truthfully, I doubt many people even know the date, minority or not.

All of this reminds me of when Nelson Mandela took the office of the presidency back in 1994 and started courting support from a bunch of different countries. One of those countries was Cuba, which irritated the U.S. to no end, and they told him so. His response was "Your enemies aren't my enemies", and he was absolutely right. If you think about it, people can fly to Cuba from Canada and do it often, yet I don't see our government condemning Canada for it.

I point these things out from time to time because I believe racism, bigotry, misogyny, or any other feelings based on what I'm calling irrational hate, intentional or not, can't be fixed or conquered if people don't talk about it. Over the years I've gone to hospitals for consulting, and presented seminars on leadership or diversity issues at different companies, and I know what I see. My eyes don't lie to me, and statistics don't lie either.

When we get to a place where there is no more hate because of what people look like, or what they do behind closed doors, or because of perceptions instead of reality, then maybe things like the 14th Amendment won't mean as much. Then again, we're still battling voter's rights in many states across the country and in Congress, and there are still states trying to get a repeal of the Civil Rights Act of 1965 (BTW, did you know there was a Civil Rights Act of 1964 that was so deficient they had to have another one, and they continue having to update it every so often?), so I won't be holding my breath.

My only hope is that anyone reading this blog believes in the rights of everyone to be treated fairly, not equally. Major difference, but it's what this country needs. After all, it seems everyone wants everyone else to be happy about the 4th of July, Independence Day. Put some action to those words. And you can thank me for this bit of history that, unfortunately, many people in today's world don't know about or act upon.