17 votes

What is Juneteenth and why is everybody talking about it this year?

11 comments

  1. patience_limited
    Link
    There's another explanation of the sudden emphasis on Juneteenth here: Inside the Push to Make Juneteenth a National Holiday. This isn't a new thing, just an example of the ways in which...

    There's another explanation of the sudden emphasis on Juneteenth here: Inside the Push to Make Juneteenth a National Holiday. This isn't a new thing, just an example of the ways in which mainstream society tends to silo off the concerns of Black people and other minorities. That's a problem not limited to the U.S., but Juneteenth (already being rebranded as a generic "Freedom Day") is central to understanding America's history:

    As companies declare Juneteenth a corporate holiday, many Americans are learning about the day’s history for the first time, and scholars hope that long overdue conversations about white people’s role in this story will finally take place.

    Juneteenth is “a way to enter conversation with people who have experiences, memory, culture different than yours and helps us imagine living together in a plural country,” Howard University’s Carr points out. “What we’ve seen over the last two centuries is an attempt to forge a national identity without first engaging in a truthful reflection of how the idea of freedom and liberty is taken for granted. This country’s national narrative does not apply to everyone and everyone doesn’t observe it.”

    I object to the idea of "Freedom Day" as it's a purely political rebranding (I'm looking at Joe Biden's campaign language here) that neutralizes the centrality of slave liberation. It opens the ideological door to people who believe "freedom" is most importantly the freedom to own property, up to and including other humans.

    9 votes
  2. [6]
    blitz
    Link
    I was hoping the article would cover why it's called Juneteenth. Is it simply a portmanteau of June and nineteenth, or is there some other history behind it?

    I was hoping the article would cover why it's called Juneteenth. Is it simply a portmanteau of June and nineteenth, or is there some other history behind it?

    5 votes
    1. [5]
      Pistos
      Link Parent
      The article does say this: About 2/5 of the way down the page.

      The article does say this:

      The name Juneteenth is a combination of June and 19th.

      About 2/5 of the way down the page.

      3 votes
      1. [3]
        seizethegoddamngap
        Link Parent
        Stupid joke: That's an unfortunate fraction considering the source material.

        Stupid joke: That's an unfortunate fraction considering the source material.

        1. [2]
          blitz
          Link Parent
          The fraction you're thinking of is three fifths.

          The fraction you're thinking of is three fifths.

          6 votes
          1. seizethegoddamngap
            Link Parent
            I knew that it was three fifths, my jokes logic was the important part was after the first 2/5s. Bad joke logic in a bad joke that didn't land.

            I knew that it was three fifths, my jokes logic was the important part was after the first 2/5s.

            Bad joke logic in a bad joke that didn't land.

            2 votes
      2. blitz
        Link Parent
        Yep, must have missed it! Thanks!

        Yep, must have missed it! Thanks!

  3. [3]
    spit-evil-olive-tips
    Link
    Juneteenth is a rather uniquely American holiday, more so than even other "traditional" American holidays like Thanksgiving, so I thought this explainer targeted at Canadian audiences was an...

    Juneteenth is a rather uniquely American holiday, more so than even other "traditional" American holidays like Thanksgiving, so I thought this explainer targeted at Canadian audiences was an interesting read.

    3 votes
    1. Omnicrola
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      As an American, up until the last few weeks I had never even heard the word Juneteenth. Up until the last few days I had no idea what it was or what it signified. Which just reenforces to me how...

      As an American, up until the last few weeks I had never even heard the word Juneteenth. Up until the last few days I had no idea what it was or what it signified. Which just reenforces to me how insulated I was growing up, how I haven't really learned as much as I thought I had about the world and specifically black culture, and how much I still have to learn about my fellow citizens.

      7 votes
    2. calm_bomb
      Link Parent
      Why Canadian audiences only? I'm in Europe and the last few days I was assaulted by this word! :-D

      Why Canadian audiences only? I'm in Europe and the last few days I was assaulted by this word! :-D

      1 vote