Recently, I was made aware of this tweet from conservative activist, Blexit leader, and talk show host Candace Owens: “Juneteenth is soooo lame. Democrats really need to stop trying to repackage segregation. I’ll be celebrating July 4th and July 4th only. I’m American.”
..cue the Black outrage.
Unfortunately for many, the first instinct was to find offense in her words, and to “set her straight” on how ‘wrong’ she is… or is she?
Now, In the past few years, there has been a ridiculously hard push to make Juneteenth a national holiday. That’s right, just the last few years. While there had been talk of it for a while, along with annual celebrations that most people, primarily those in mostly Black neighborhoods can often recall, it was really all talk. In fact, during the 8-year long Obama(a Black President- the first as I recall)administration, proponents of
Juneteenth(as well as reparations) were virtually silent the entire eight years. Suddenly, Trump gets elected, and it’s now an urgent matter. George Floyd dies, and everything-I mean EVERYTHING related to race -slavery, reparations, flesh-colored band-aids and stockings, Mrs. Butterworth, Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben, Gone with the wind, and oh yes, Juneteenth, i.e.. any bargaining chip racial issues kicked into overdrive. Funny how that worked out.
Now, back to Ms. Candace’s tweet. I believe you should weigh the merits of any statement or comment, regardless of who says it. Personally, I wouldn’t have used the term lame, because you lose a large amount of your audience before they actually consider or weigh what you’ve said. That being said-I stand with Owens.
First of all, tragically, statistically, there are currently more murders every 6 months of Blacks by Blacks alone than all the lynchings of Blacks AND whites during the 1800’s-combined(do the math-I did). Keep in mind, we haven’t even factored in the twenty million Black lives lost through abortion.
Secondly, race and slavery have been politicized for a long time. After all, the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect on January 1st of 1863. Why not celebrate the obvious-the day slaves were officially freed? I mean, they had no more freedoms, benefits, or advantages on Juneteenth-so why celebrate Juneteenth nationally? Because the world would have to recognize that a Republican did what most Republicans have by and large always done-not given Blacks a handout, but a hand up. While I recognize and agree why Texas would commemorate Juneteenth as a state observance, I see no reason to change our list of holidays to add to the steadily growing petition of appeasement by overcorrection any group-regardless of their past. Every time we have celebrated what anyone with internet or library access knows or can know is not the day we would or should celebrate nationally, we have allowed ourselves to be a part of the endless game that those that fought for slavery desire us to play. Don’t be fooled. We don’t need another holiday.
-Lawrence Johnson, Sr.