Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Mugging of Juneteenth: An "Extreme Makeover"

June 19, 1865: Juneteenth “Old School.”

On this same day in 1865, Union soldiers marched into Galveston TX and informed Diasporic Africans (in this context, specifically American Africans) that two and a half years earlier, the Emancipation Proclamation had “freed” those enslaved in other parts of the South.

Of course, there was general rejoicing, all observed under the watchful eyes of both the Union Army and Confederate Southerners.

And the day that became known as “Juneteenth” -- sometimes in vogue and sometimes not -- continued to be carefully acknowledged as both a Day of Celebration and a Day of Mourning by many Diasporic Africans who connected to the day as a true cultural “Fourth of July”, while still continuing, in many cases, to give faux “celebration” to a holiday that -- for Diasporic Africans -– has been more aptly termed the hypocritical “Fourth of You-Lie.”

Since 1865, Juneteenth 19th has been a day in which Diasporic Africans can embrace the history and struggles of Our People in this country. Traditionally ignored by other racial and ethnic groups, Juneteenth has been one of the few days kept sacred by and for those whose Ancestors were birthed through the watery canal of the Middle Passages and raised through enslavement, sharecropping, Black Codes, Jim Crow. Who continue to exist within the current societal structure of “Color Blind Racism/White Supremacy” (i.e. “I’ll pretend not to see your color if you pretend that there is no racism/white supremacy in play.”)

All under the watchful societal eye of “mainstream” amerikkka, who, up to this point, has been content to sit on the sidelines of the day, as long as not too many Negroes gathered together in one place and as long as their “celebrations” were “transparent.”

You know. . .like in the “good ol’ days.”

June 19, 2007: Juneteenth “Extreme Makeover Edition”!

Content to sit on the sidelines no more in a day in which they have absolutely no legitimate presence, “mainstream” amerikkka has now claimed Juneteenth as a day of its own, albeit one in need of an “extreme makeover”.

And “makeover” it is receiving.

“Mainstream” amerikkka is treating Juneteenth like a pair of size 10 feet being stuffed into a pair of size 8 shoes, uncomfortably forcing its morphing into a “multicultural” celebration which obliterates its very meaning.

Content to sit on the sidelines no more in a day in which they have absolutely no legitimate presence, white amerikkka has muscled its way in, proclaimed the heartbeat focus of Juneteenth “divisive” and demanded that its message be made “accessible” to all -- including and especially those who benefit from the very same racial privileges that their racially privileged ancestral fathers and mothers fought so hard to protect.

Now ponder this:

Why is it that it is alright for St. Patrick’s Day to be a celebration of Irish heritage without an extreme makeover of message –- without Diasporic Africans or other racial or ethnic groups morphing the message of the day to promote “inclusion”?

Why can Greek Festivals be celebrated without an extreme makeover of message to accommodate those who do not share that heritage?

Why is this country not threatened by the celebration and “divisive” message of Cinco de Mayo? The celebration of and “exclusionary” and “divisive” message of the Chinese New Year?

Why is it that EVERY TIME Diasporic Africans have mass gatherings to celebrate something –- ANYTHING! –- important to our specific community, heritage, and journey, “mainstream” amerikkka is not content to sit on the sidelines but has to attempt to stuff its size 10 feet into our size 6 shoes?

Observe Juneteenth “celebrations” today. Watch and see if and how the heartbeat focus of the day -– and the message –- has been all but superficially stripped down to make it more “acceptable” and “accessible” to all other ethnic and racial groups.

Juneteenth has been mugged; mugged and morphed, its soul left for dead inside its pretty, superficial “extreme makeover”, prime time ready for its white amerikkka debut.

And now we’re the community sitting on the sidelines, afraid to “snitch” and tell, as the new, “color-blind” socially acceptable Juneteenth parade rolls on right in front of our very eyes.

Juneteenth, 1865. Juneteenth, 2007.

Behold the difference.

Moving Forward (or maybe not. . .),