Sans Juneteenth

Okay. Let me piss off liberals again, African and non-Africans alike. I am not a big fan of Juneteenth and I don’t consider progressive and corporate embrace of this occasion any evidence of progress. Sorry. Hate to rain, literally, on a lot of people’s parades, but it has to do with my deep desire for two things. Truth and Afrikan kujichagulia. It IS true that our people were not free on July 4th and that that ritual effectively celebrates our dependence rather than independence. But neither did the Emancipation Proclamation or Civil War or Lincoln free Afrikans, first because they explicitly did not impact all the enslaved and second, because they still needed additional constitutional amendments. As Malcolm said, over the 100 years after the amendments, Afrikan people still had no equal citizenship and not much of freedom, certainly no kujichagulia. It took more civil rights and voting acts under duress and death that sometimes are and are not renewed and are perpetually challenged. Even now, with those in place, liberals say we need a new bill. So the conclusion is that since 1619, Afrikan people have ALWAYS had at BEST a progressively better negotiated relationship with the US state. The terms of that relationship has always been dictated by corporate interests and the state and never by Afrikan people themselves. While their agitation is laudable for preventing even more genocidal collective outcomes for the people, “freedom” or “full citizenship without condition” has never been on the table and still is not. Which takes me back to Juneteenth. What it corrects historically is the fallacious proposition that we were admitted to full citizenship and freedom in 1776 or even 1787, amidst slavery. What it does not correct and continues to obscure is the fact that (a) we STILL do not have unconditional full citizenship (with which you would not need legislation beyond the Constitution and (b) that citizenship in a state you were brought to by coercion is not a synonym for kujichagulia or freedom. We SHOULD celebrate the end of slavery but some are trying to forget that that was merely the replacement of one oppressive dynamic for another and not an indicator that the slavemasters’ society had come to accept our humanity. We continue to celebrate moments related to our captivity and changes in our status vis a vis our captors. They memorialize the 4th as their liberation from a state of other’s governance. When will we collectively pay as much attention collectively for ourselves to dates that mark our liberation from states of other’s governance rather than those marking others’ grudging extension to us of some parts of rights we should have had as human beings to begin with? If I were to steal your food, engorge myself, and starve you, then to decide to or be forced by my own inner conflicts to allow you to buy a limited amount of certain foods from me, seems strange that you would honor the day as your own. It’s just a testament to how desperate the starvation really was and how great has been the intergenerational consequences of the resultant spiritual and cognitive malnourishment.

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