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June 19, 2020 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Juneteenth. Know it.

Juneteenth. You may not have heard of it. But you can eat far too much food and  party if you want

It’s Texas /regional celebration that’s getting a lot of attention.

Which is OK. Here we all share…especially if food is involved.

Just please check the guns at the door – lock them up secure. Foolishness that celebratory gunfire or the stupid way to settle a bump into you or git away from mah gurl, or I don’t like the way you looked at me/said that dispute seems to be the universal, across all groups common denominator when large groups of people party hardy these days.

Juneteenth – we grew up with it.

It’s sort of like St. Patricks’ Day or Cinco de mayo, in that everyone is Irish, or Mexican or Texan (the state of mutts) for a day.

Or it used to be.

Now it is more like “Ours”, not “yours”.

Cultural appropriation is tricky once lines have been drawn by those wanting to create a problem 

People want to virtue signal show support and be friends, but most don’t want to step on toes.

It irritates me when Hollywood types decide to decorate their Halloween with items belonging to Dia de los muetos. Those costume designs borrowed – cute but not really the considerate choice for USA Halloween costumes.

Nancy Pelosi and the group in Congress should have done taken the time to check out the meaning and history of that lovely African cloth they draped across their shoulders: Kente cloth. (If you’re interested in art, fashion, sociology or history, you probably already know this or should if you got a decent education.)

“The Asante supplied British and Dutch traders with slaves in exchange for firearms, which they used to expand their empire. Slaves were often acquired as tributes from smaller states or captured during war. Some slaves were sold and sent across the Atlantic whiles others stayed in Africa to work in gold fields

According to the BBC, by the end of the 18th century, the region exported an estimated 6,000-7,000 slaves per year.” (Source)

The Ashanti’s long-time ally, the Akwamu, were among the first ones to profit from the slave trade with the Europeans. Their captives were almost always prisoners of war, but they were not above to selling Akwamu men who offended the chief. They also kidnapped able-bodied men from other tribes and sold them in the coastal slave markets.” (Source)

Now many graduating African-American students in college or high schools wear Kente cloth as they walk the stage in honor of THEIR cultural heritage. Like the students who carry small Mexican flags, Puerto Rican flags, Jamaican flags, Colombian, Honduran, Chilean, Nigerian flags…or any of the others – our students speak over 100 home languages in this area – showing  THEIR pride of heritage.

That is quite different than white elected officials wearing other culture’s textiles for photo ops. I know, they were trying to show  “solidarity”.

I completely understand the African heritage groups/local recent immigrant friends who say they shouldn’t have done it. It’s not a party favor or a political prop to many.

Always good to take some time to look around, ask someone, do some research – or travel without credentials or large homogenous-just-like-home groups so you really learn and see locals rather than just the touristy.

And also pretty annoyed by the national news media saying things like “there are few African-American chefs” or most have never tasted the “Wonderful traditional dishes created by African-Americans you’ve never tasted” Seriously? You people need to get out of your little compounds and mingle with the rest of us common folks. 

Poor is poor. Turnip greens, collards, and field peas were/are not limited to one group

Blacks are some of the best cooks/chefs around and the food worth the wait lines to get in to eat.

Geesh. Narrow upbringing? Deprived of real life? Just stupid or just pandering?

Please don’t turn Juneteenth into something like Cinco de mayo or St Patrick’s Day…you know, holidays invented / encouraged by beer distributors with meaning buried by food and beverage fog. 

Cinco de mayo is NOT Mexican independence day. It is the day of a major battle where they defeated the French troops. (Yeah, the French)

Juneteenth is NOT Independence Day or (as recently said/written in textbooks) The 2nd Independence Day (as a certain news show announced.

It is a day of freedom. Of human rights. A day of thanksgiving. And the first (of many) steps towards a “more perfect nation”.

So, just for FYI and review:

  • Juneteenth is a traditional Texas holiday – but you are welcome to celebrate too.
  • The first state-sponsored Juneteenth celebration took place in 1980
  • June 19, 1865 when slaves in Galveston learned the Civil War was over and they were free. The US 13th Army Corps arrived in Galveston about that time. The message was late (2 years after Lincoln’s proclamation) in coming as there was a bit of a war going on, there was no Facebook or TV, there’s rumors the first messenger was murdered in route, there’s rumors the news was deliberately delayed because the Federal troops wanted one last cotton harvest to come in before taking it and everything over.
  • Here’s what was read by Major General Gordon Granger, Commanding Officer,

The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them, becomes that between employer and hired labor. The Freedmen are advised to remain at their present homes, and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts; and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.

So all together now. Celebrate with smarts and smiles.

Enjoy the traditional barbecues, watermelon, corn on the cob, and strawberry sodas (which I always loved but never knew the connection before)

And do not start with me. My dad picked cotton as a child. Just don’t. I know what squirrel tastes like. (Greasy. UGH. Never again)

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

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