Like many Black folks, I am perpetually exhausted by seeing the unexciting trend of a White person doing things that Black folks do every day and getting applause, clout, and cookout invitations for paying attention to Black culture. More egregious recent events have given way to popular discourse about gatekeeping Black culture, but it seems like we as a country have yet to figure out what it means to celebrate Black people.
In the present moment, many organizations are attempting to pay their just due from last summers’ racial reckonings with calls to buy Black, support Black businesses, and commemorate Juneteenth as a major holiday. While I am not convinced by the idea that Black capitalism or even cooperative economics has any impact on stopping murderous cops and racist vigilantes, I think that we must take a step back to see what we are really doing when we focus on doing things in the name of Black people.
As much as I am for celebrating the beauty of the African Diaspora, Juneteenth is not the day for doing that.
While many experiences in the United States are shared among Black people, Blackness as not a monolith. As much as I am for celebrating the beauty of the African Diaspora, Juneteenth is not the day for doing that. Juneteenth is a holiday created by and for formerly enslaved African American Texans and their descendants. Having been held in bondage more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation until June 1865, African American Texans and their descendants developed and continue to celebrate this holiday domestically and internationally.
For African Americans more broadly, emancipation is celebrated less explicitly in our Watch Night church services. Other African Americans commemorate emancipation in intimate community celebrations, but some of these celebrations have also become co-opted by the state. An example of this is Emancipation Day in Washington, DC. This celebration, which originally began by and for formerly enslaved African Americans is now an official DC Government holiday in a rapidly gentrifying city…