Independence Day Bashing?

Disclaimer: This isn’t an attack on my Black or Latino brothers and sisters, it’s a call to action. Open your eyes and accomplish your goals. Stop blaming others.

Yesterday was a day to celebrate the birth of the United States of America. A relatively young, imperfect nation, but even though far from perfect, there isn’t a better place to live today.

Many men and women, Black, White, Asian, Latino, Indian and every other variation thereof have fought bravely together for this great nation.

Yesterday I saw the Happy birthday America, Happy Independence day and many messages expressing pride in our great nation. Yet  among those messages I saw many that I found troubling. Several of my black friends posted images of white men abusing blacks, flags being burnt and many others along with statements that attacked the nation.

Chris Rock tweeted more or less these exact words, “Happy white people Independence day”. Really Chris Rock? I’m a fan, I think you are a very funny guy, but as a BLACK man that is richer and living better than all of the white people I know, and definitely all the non-white people I know and probably 90% of the country, you need to sit down and shut your hypocritical ass up. I KNOW YOU are not complaining about this nation not providing opportunity.

So I debated this point with several people on Facebook and twitter. At the end of it all I lost one Facebook friend that seemed to think quite differently than I do, and God knows how many may have been offended by me stating things as I see them.

Historically blacks were slaves in this nation, this is true. But there are no slaves in this nation today. Blacks and Latinos have as many opportunities as any white person. In fact with affirmative action in place I’d say we get a pretty descent advantage when others may deserve the chance more on merit. But even with these advantages many fail to take the opportunity and advance, but there is no failure to blame the “man”.

That’s getting old my friends, man up and take responsibility for your life. If you feel being black or Latino puts us at  a disadvantage, then work harder, go further and make up for it. But stop whining and complaining. Stop asking for handouts, nobody owes you anything. Earn your keep.

One of my best friends growing up was a Latino, just like me. He is a Dominican guy, and he is the dark Dominican blend. THIS GUY IS A SCIENTIST! A motherfreaking scientist! So don’t tell me you can’t make it. Let’s move on to high school, the most successful guy in my school was a young black male, he went on to get a law degree and later became a Professor at a very prestigious university. Again, don’t tell me we can’t make it.

On the other side of that coin, I can tell you about the majority, the many others that chose to sell drugs to make a quick buck. Or maybe I should talk about the ones that became stick up kids and made their cash robbing citizens that actually work for a living. Guess where those guys are at now? Jail, dead, or still in the corner, and guess who they blame?

I can also talk about the many friends that got shot over some bs that made no sense whatsoever. Things that are still happening this day. A few weeks ago I saw a young guy that I know, one of my youngest sister’s generation posting a picture of himself, some money, and a few packs of white powder with a caption that read “this is what drugs gets you, making that paper.” But when that kid ends up in prison or dead, it will be the white man and society’s fault, right? It’s not his fault for dropping out of school and taking up this lucrative form of employment? And for the record, he’s as white as I am, so in this case, race is irrelevant.

Do you see my point? Those of us that chose to go to school, chose to do the right thing, accomplished something in life. While the ones that didn’t, well, they didn’t. But to blame the white man, or burn a flag and claim its America’s fault you don’t advance? That’s pathetic.

Will some of us be turned down for a great job that we qualify for because we are dark, or because our name is Rodriguez, sure, I can see that happening, racism still exist. But you know what you do then? You try again, and you try again. But before you can ever get your foot in that door, you’d have to take the steps necessary to reach that stage. Don’t forget though, the opposite is also true, some of us will get that job BECAUSE our name is Rodriguez, or BECAUSE we are black.

I reached this stage in life through hard work. I graduated from a college in the South Bronx, not the best school, but I made sure that I was among the best in there. I did this so that when an opportunity came along that was worthwhile, my name was on that list of people consider. And when the opportunity came, I was there, top of my class.

My light skin didn’t get the counselor’s attention, my fair hair didn’t get the recruiter’s attention, all they saw was a name “Angel Jose Rodriguez”, a Latino name that could have belonged to a person that was dark as midnight.

My A+ and 3.97 GPA wasn’t granted because of my skin color. My graduating top of my class with honors wasn’t a light skin gift, I earned it through hard work and effort, and those that worked with me, put in the work, also came out on top. Mind you, it wasn’t easy being a white looking kid in a Black and Spanish neighborhood. It was also very difficult for me because I “acted white”, and acting white basically means speaking English properly, going to school, and staying out of trouble.

So don’t tell me that Independence day is for white America only. That’s an easy way out, blame everyone but yourself. You could be my lawyer/professor friend, you could be a scientist, you could be PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA! Quit blaming others, take responsibility, and do what you need to do to advance.

In closing, if you think racism is only from white people, ask the guys that beat me up while saying “f*ck you white boy”, or ask the many people in Africa that were killed by other Africans because of their culture, the shape of their nose, and so many other racial factors. I’m 100% sure that they’d trade places with you in a heartbeat.

Disclaimer: This isn’t an attack on my Black or Latino brothers and sisters, it’s a call to action. Open your eyes and accomplish your goals. Stop blaming others.



Growing Up Bronx

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Please take note of the date on a post as it may be an old, outdated viewpoint. I keep those old posts to show my evolution and progress as a human being. We all make mistakes and say dumb stuff. Hiding it doesn't help anyone and real growth matters. Own your flaws so that others may learn from them. Finally, the opinions and views expressed here are solely those of the respective authors.
Angel Rodriguez

Angel Rodriguez

Angel covers fitness, social issues, reviews, news & more! He's a veteran, tech and fitness pro which has been featured on Huffpo, NatGeo, NPR, NY1, HLN, Men's Fitness, MTV, & other major platforms. Angel is also Brazilian Jiujitsu White belt.
Angel Rodriguez