Monday, June 24, 2024

Some Black Americans Think Juneteenth Mainstreaming Is a Disaster

'Juneteenth has quickly descended into the rainbow capitalism vibes of Pride month...'

(Ezekiel Loseke, Headline USA) Some black Americans have argued that Joe Biden’s memorializing of the redundant holiday, Juneteenth, has been a disaster.

In an article for the Daily Beast titled “Can We Admit Mainstreaming Juneteenth Has Been a Disaster?” writer Ernest Owens argued that pandering by white Democrat leaders including Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.; Rep. Nancy Peolosi, D-Calif.; and President Joe Biden has appropriated the Southern black tradition into a national holiday has destroyed its meaning.

During the notoriously gridlocked and divisive 117th Congress in 2021, lawmakers joined together in the spirit of bipartisan unity and virtue-signaling to turn the annual event—commemorating when news finally reached Texas slaves that the Civil War had ended—into a federal holiday.

But immediately, critics pointed out that honoring black emancipation by giving government workers another paid day off seemed a bit exploitative and self-serving.

Some also noted that the holiday, coming just a few weeks before the national Independence Day on July 4, might create a sort of “separate but equal” celebration that would do more to undermine unity and national identity than to promote it.

In his article, Owens reflected on his childhood memories of Juneteenth as a festive celebration in Houston, Texas.

“I can still smell the tasty barbeque, remember the gallons of signature red soda passed around, and all that hot sauce doused on my plate as the red and blue Juneteenth flags were waved,” he said, describing his memories of summers in Galveston, Texas.

“Juneteenth was our Fourth of July—a celebration which reminded me that the South still had something to say, and that [b]lack people didn’t have to wait for the validation of our white peers to gather around our history,” he added.

Owens reported that this holiday, the so-called Black 4th of July as he described it, has been “ruined” by being “mainstreamed.”

He complained that it has been hard to watch.

“I started to notice it last year when Walmart thought it was being progressive when they released a red velvet and cheesecake-flavored Juneteenth ice cream with a Pan-African decorated carton,” Owens wrote.

“Fun fact: Juneteenth has never incorporated African themed colors/designs as part of its official flag (organizers use red, white, and blue to replicate the U.S. and Texas state flags),” he said, clarifying that Walmart did not understand the holiday they were celebrating.

Owens argued that the mainstreaming of Juneteenth had diminished the meaning of the holiday.

“Juneteenth has quickly descended into the rainbow capitalism vibes of Pride month,” he complained, noting the shallow and inauthentic celebrations.

Only 32% of Americans indicated they had any plans to celebrate Juneteenth, with 17% reporting to “not know” whether they might celebrate and a whopping 51% reporting they had no plans to celebrate according to a poll by Redfeild and Wilton Strategies.

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