So. Juneteenth. We’ve officially created a holiday to acknowledge the end of slavery in Texas. Well… the enforcement of General Order Number 3, with the full military might of the winning faction. Still took a couple more months for that chattel slavery to end in Delaware & Kentucky – a couple of years after the Emancipation Proclamation, in fact – but why quibble over details?
Although… we didn’t end it so prison labor became the hot new slave labor and criminalizing Black people existing became a real purpose for the “Law” enforcement in America. Maybe we can get around to that.
I mean, took us a while to get the right to vote enshrined explicitly into law, because white people basically took their toys and the military might that won the Civil War back home and for the peace, let other white people take out their anger and hatred on Blacks, giving us the KKK, the Jim Crow South, lynchings, rapes, etc. But let’s not ignore that sundown towns and racial violence didn’t give
a damn about north or south of the Mason-Dixon Line.
I, personally, feel neither hot nor cold on Juneteenth. I do respect my elders though, and I feel Ms. Opal Lee has some good points in her advocacy. Holidays make people pay attention. It’s a good time to stop, read, learn, reflect and then celebrate. We do deserve this recognition. We must get people to learn our shared American history, because we are repeating it but faster and worse.
Post-Reconstruction, emancipated Black people held office, built businesses and towns, earned degrees and prospered. Once the military support of the National government was removed, the local states upended democracy to get things back to the way it was, just without the honest slavery part. Terror happened while most of America – white America – got to avert their eyes because being opposed to slavery didn’t mean you thought Black people were equal. It didn’t mean you thought they should be able to vote, or hold office or work for themselves. So it was easy to look away until the presence of cameras provided horrific video and photography to demonstrate that there was inhuman violence targeting black people. My heart tells me that’s where we are headed to again. The mistake folks will make is to believe it will only focus on us.
So, Republicans are removing key electoral safety officers who have not decided that the only valid party is the GOP. They’re drafting laws to control elections. They’re targeting black voters over and over. Fox News’ most popular program had Charles Murry on to discuss the natural lack of intellectual capacity that Black people have which is why there’s no real discrimination. Republican led state legislatures all over the country are banning the teaching of America’s shameful, genocidal past under the pretense that it’s “Critical Race Theory” and of course, we have our grifting GOP Black people prancing in front of cameras to be the black friend of racists. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/19/us/politics/republican-states.html
A lot of white people have asked how should they celebrate Juneteenth. I’ve said learn, remember and celebrate but I need to add 1 more thing. Don’t roll up the support and sit back. We are still not free. We are still under assault and unfortunately, the plan is to go after anyone not straight, not white, not cis, not their brand of religion. Too many people think this is about capitalism and all the solutions are about money. Nah. We need your butts to get ready and stay ready. This is an all the marbles push by folks who would be great friends with Simon Legree. I’d love to celebrate, but I think I’d like to put more of a buffer between being Black in America right now and the past.
I’ll leave it at that. And since I went kinda heavy, here’s a pupper to soothe you a bit.