What to The Slave is 4th of July? – Speech by Frederick Douglass
What are Douglas criticisms of Independence Day celebrations in 1852? The fourth of July is one of the monumental days in the history of the United States. This date is essential in that it signifies the day that the country derived its independence. Independence defines the observation of the liberalization of the country from its former masters. During this period, the presence of slavery was strongly felt. Slavery is responsible for the success of the founding fathers. Slavery enabled the plantation owners to plant, harvest and export their produce at a minimal cost. Independence Day is attempting to recognize the freedom of different social groups in the country that are marginalized as a result of discrimination (Salzberger and Turck, p. 1-349).
Douglas, the speech was intended to accommodate the members of the black community. His speech is themed on the question that asks “What to the slave is the fourth of July?” Douglas’ speech is representative of his community and the feelings the community has of the special day. Some of the issues he mentions are the injustices that the blacks face at the hands of the white man. To him, the day has no meaning in that he and his community are still victims of segregation, discrimination, social injustice and oppression. The celebrations are a mockery of the term equality. The majority of the minority groups live below the poverty line due to the inaccessibility of equal opportunities and resources. The inclusion of blacks in the celebration is thus invalid due to the hypocrisy of their white counterparts (Salzberger and Turck, p. 1-349).
Douglas’ speech has been effective in that it reveals the double standards that the members of the government showcase. America prides itself on being the country that fights for equality, free trade, morality, and dignity. The country’s position as a world leader gives it the jurisdiction to monitor the other states. One example is seen in the country’s control of terrorism in the Middle East. The observation of the country’s present situation in terms of health care, financial and political strategies contradicts their stance. American society is going through a number of issues that leave a lot to be desired. This makes the country hypocritical in that they are the guiltiest nation in regard to oppression and lack of equity. His criticisms are thus valid due to the state of the nation. The conditions during slavery are not different from the ones in the present day. The success of the country is built on the principles of white supremacy. White supremacy entails using the minority races to work for the white race at a low salary or wage. This led to the creation of the wealthy elite who represent the minority population. The minority races represent the majority of the population and are exposed to all the injustices that are experienced on a daily basis.
In conclusion, the 4th of July intends to recognize all the citizens of the United States of America. Any form of authority should discriminate against no citizen. This is however not the case in the present society. Over fifty percent of the population is unemployed making the population highly dependent on social security. This situation is the main cause of most of the insecurity, inequality, and oppression in the country. Douglas’ speech should thus be given more attention so as to eradicate these issues.
Salzberger, Ronald P, and Mary Turck. Reparations for Slavery: A Reader. Lanham, Md: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2004. Print.