President Joe Biden signed legislation on Thursday to make June 19 (‘Juneteenth’) a federal holiday, proclaiming that “all Americans can feel the power of this day.” A day earlier, the bill passed the House of Representatives after a 415-14 vote, with only 14 Republicans voting against commemorating the day the last slaves in the south learned of their freedom in 1865.
Plenty of pundits and commentators on the right got behind the new holiday, but some were unimpressed. Candace Owens, a black conservative hardly known for hardline views, declared on Thursday night that “Juneteenth is soooo lame,” and accused the Democrats behind the bill of “trying to repackage segregation.”
“I’ll be celebrating July 4th and July 4th only,” she tweeted. “I’m American.”
Owens was hounded by pro-Juneteenth commenters. “When they got independence in 1776 your ancestors were still slaves!,” one tweeted, calling her “a disgrace to the black community.”
Prior to the latest bill becoming law, some 46 states recognized Juneteenth in one way or another. Texas, where the last slaves learned of their emancipation, has marked the holiday since 1980. However, Biden’s establishment of a new federal holiday has drawn criticism from other mainstream conservatives.
“America only has one Independence Day and it’s on July 4th, 1776,” conservative activist Charlie Kirk tweeted on Thursday. “We now have 2 summer holidays – and one of them based on race,” he tweeted earlier that day. “Shame on the GOP for supporting this.”
Like Owens, Kirk was slammed for his comments, especially since he appeared to back the idea of a federally-recognized Juneteenth when then-President Donald Trump floated the idea last year.
While Biden touted Juneteenth as a holiday for “all Americans” to reflect on progress since the times of slavery, there are others who want the holiday to carry a more racialist message. Multiple Republican-run states are moving to ban the teaching of ‘Critical Race Theory’ – an academic discipline that puts race at the center of every human interaction and considers America an inherently racist and “white supremacist” country – in classrooms, and some progressives are upset that kids won’t learn a CRT-infused version of Juneteenth in school.
“I do think it is somewhat contradictory in terms of folks coming out and saying, ‘we should recognize Juneteenth as a holiday,’ and yet we shouldn’t be allowed to teach some of the finer points of what Juneteenth really is,” academic Stefan Lallinger told the Huffington Post on Thursday.
Some commentators to the right of Owens and Kirk have decried Juneteenth as a “CRT holiday.”
“The official name of the federal ‘Juneteenth’ holiday is ‘Juneteenth National Independence Day.’ This is an extension of the 1619 project, CRT, and everything else,” right-wing commentator Nick Fuentes tweeted. “A new independence day for a new third world America.”
Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!
© 2021, paradox. All rights reserved.