Some Blacks Think 'Mainstreaming' Juneteenth Has Been a Disaster

USAG- Humphreys, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Juneteenth is on Monday and, if you’re like most Americans, the day will pass with no recognition on your part. A new poll by Redfield and Wilton Strategies, which surveyed 1,500 eligible voters for Newsweek, found most Americans are not planning to take part in any Juneteenth celebrations this year. Fifty-one percent of respondents said they had no plans to celebrate, while 32% said they did and 17% said they didn’t know.


Joe Biden declared June 19 a federal holiday on June 17, 2021. It was a political pander by Biden — the champion presidential panderer in history. There isn’t a Democratic Party interest group that won’t have its own day or month by the time Biden leaves office and Juneteenth was already being recognized by black people, so making it a national holiday was a no-brainer.

Juneteenth celebrates a day when Union General Gordon Granger proclaimed freedom for the slaves in Texas. Rarely mentioned is that since the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863, already freed the slaves in rebel-held territory — including Texas — Granger’s edict was totally unnecessary.

No matter. There was apparently a big hullabaloo in Galveston, where Granger made his announcement, and the date has been celebrated across America in black communities ever since. And Biden’s pander guaranteed the holiday would be as commercialized as all other holidays in America have become.

For The Daily Beast writer Ernest Owens, this is a tragedy.

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

Since the racial uprisings of 2020, this sacred holiday has now become mainstreamed into something that now feels whitewashed, co-opted, and highly performative.

It’s hard to witness something so personal in your life become ruined on the national stage—that’s the current case with Juneteenth.


For Owens, it’s white progressives who are ruining Juneteenth by their eagerness to ally themselves with the oppressed — even though that insults some blacks.

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.

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)—Walmart just couldn’t help but pander to customers as a way to flex that they were recognizing Black people. The controversy led to the corporation to apologize and discontinue the line of tone-deaf ice cream, along with canceling other ill-advised Juneteenth-themed merchandise it was selling.

Sometimes, the white pander can get a little sticky. Last year, the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis had to backtrack furiously when they added “watermelon salad” as part of its “Juneteenth Jamboree” menu.


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Stupid white leftists aside, Owens believes that “Juneteenth has quickly descended into the rainbow capitalism vibes of Pride month — during which more of the festivities are being monetized for high visibility, without any intentional focus on the community.”


In my opinion, this is what makes Juneteenth an all-American, star-spangled, 100% truly American holiday. It’s exactly what’s happened to other holidays like Memorial Day and Independence Day.

Why should Juneteenth be any different?



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