Friday, June 19, 2015

Happy Juneteenth

I cannot believe that this is the 150th anniversary of Juneteenth, and it is also the first that I’m knowing what it is.  I started seeing Juneteenth a few days ago, but silly me, I thought it was some kind of hip hop music festival due to the arena in which it was mentioned, and due to its silly name.  But I noticed that it kept coming up in light of certain situations that were occurring in this here US of A.  You know, like police beating up kids at pools, non-White people pretending to be Black, and now the massacre at a historic Charleston, SC church.  Now I usually like to be in the know, so because there wasn’t much narrative about this Juneteenth, I kept ignoring it.  Eventually, I realized that it was becoming way too popular for me to avoid, so I researched it.

Not only is Juneteenth 150 years old, like I just mentioned, but it was on June 19, 1865 that Major Gen. Gordon Granger led Union soldiers to Galveston, TX carrying news that the war had ended and that all slaves were free.  Armed forces had to literally bring the news in person because Texas refused to follow President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation from two and a half years prior.  You know, I can just imagine the arrogance of those slave owners – “Well, if Abe (cause you know they were not going to give him the respect of calling him President Lincoln) thinks that these niggers are free, then he has to come here himself and tell us.  He will have to pry them out of our cold dead hands!”

I’ve lived in this country for around 25 years, and I have never heard about Juneteenth before this year!  Never heard anything about it from any civil rights leader.  Not from the media.  Not from any educator.  Not from the kids’ schools.  Nowhere.  And, yeah it’s up to me to learn about my own history; but it’s the same media that remind me when St. Patrick’s Day is looming, when Columbus Day is around the corner, how many marches are taking place on Memorial Day.  And by the way, Memorial Day and Independence Day were all about barbeques until September 11, 2001!

But Juneteenth is an actual holiday.  It became an official holiday in Texas in 1980, and about 45 states currently acknowledge it, either as a state holiday or a ceremonial holiday, including New York and Pennsylvania where I’ve lived, and I still never heard about it.  Yet the media would like to tell me stuff that I couldn’t care less about.  Like the other day Kelly Clarkson’s weight made news.  I’m gonna make this real quick and painless.  In a nutshell, Fox News anchor Chris Wallace visited The Mike Gallgher Show, and this was what happened.  They were talking about Little Caesar’s bacon-wrapped crust pizza when Gallagher asked, “Have you seen Kelly Clarkson?  You know the singer, Kelly Clarkson?  Holy cow, did she blow up.”  Being the ultimate professional, Chris Wallace was not going to fall for that bait and said, “Really?  Do we want to talk about some of your friends?  Kelly Clarkson’s got a lovely voice.”  But, alas it’s radio, and he just fell right into that trap and continued, “She could stay off the deep dish pizza for a little while.”

Well, of course he got into trouble.  Was he far from the truth?  Hell no!  Girlfriend has gained at least 100 pounds since she debuted on American Idol.  Of course the public said he fat shamed her.  I’m assuming he dropped an insincere public apology.  I have no time to locate it; it probably sounds like all other insincere public apologies.  She even went on Ellen, claiming that she didn’t care what people say.  LIAR!!!  Remember when Mo’Nique used to curse ‘skinny bitches’ and act like she was okay with her weight?  Remember when Star Jones used to pretend that being morbidly obese was not an issue, and if you didn’t mention the elephant in the room (no pun intended) she wouldn’t either.  Didn’t they both eventually lose the weight and felt more ‘healthy’?  We all care what people say to some degree.  Kelly Clarkson even threw her infant under the bus, insinuating that she just had a baby and what do people expect.  Like I said, Girlfriend gained about 100 pounds.  That baby did not weigh more than ten pounds. 

But here’s the irony: Ellen is 25 years older than Kelly and half the size, (or a third – she’s really big) but that’s not the problem because according to Kelly, “we are who we are”.  But as I watched her sitting on the chair in that matronly dress with her breasts resting on her gut, which in turn was resting on her lap, with her legs too big to be crossed that they were left slightly ajar, and with Ellen sympathetically telling her, “as long as you are happy and healthy” I thought to myself, “Who the hell are they kidding?”  And I just know that years down the road, if she ever loses that weight, she will finally admit that she knew she wasn’t healthy, that she knew she didn’t believe what she was saying.  But I’m digressing……..

One of the problems with the race relations in this country is that White people (and you know I hate to generalize, but for argument’s sake, I will just for today) are obsessed with places.  In their world, people cannot comingle.  Everybody has to stay in his place.  Someone has to come in at first place; ergo somebody has to take last place.  The concept of equality does not resonate in their minds.  There has to be strict guidelines as to who can go where, who can say what, who can do what.

Check it out.  This country has been obsessed with contests for decades.  And within the last decade, the contests have gotten more and more ridiculous.  It’s not enough to be the smartest on Jeopardy!; contestants have to be degraded on shows like American Idol, and all the Housewives of All the Cities.  I don’t watch them; but you know the ones I’m talking about.  I’m surprised that shows like The Price Is Right and Wheel of Fortune still exist.  They are family friendly and do not aim to denigrate. But the problem with these contest shows is that they are too subjective.  I’m not saying that the judges cannot be unanimous; but who’s to say that Contestant A is a better performer than Contestant B?

Then there are magazines like People with the Sexiest Man Alive and 50 Most Beautiful issues.  How you are going to judge the sexiest man in the world and don’t look outside of Hollywood is amazing!  So the 50 most beautiful people in the world today did nothing to change, yet next year, they’ve been downgraded because the movie that they had out last year is no longer hip.  And Americans still fall for this stupid shit!

The Miss America and Miss USA pageants are hardly ever judged fairly, yet they return every single year.  Even in sports, we have to deal with nonsense because even when the contest is NOT subjective, and there’s a clear-cut winner, there still has to be bullshit narrative.  American Pharoah did what many racehorses couldn’t achieve and what Secretariat did in 1973.  When Secretariat won the Triple Crown, there had been a 25 year drought.  Charismatic in 1999, War Emblem in 2002, Funny Cide in 2003, and Smarty Jones in 2004 all won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, only to fall short in the Belmont StakesMore recently, I'll Have Another in 2012 and California Chrome in 2014 met the same feat.  So when American Pharoah finally ended a 37 year drought for Triple Crown winners, you’d think that this amazing thoroughbred, his jockey, his trainer, his owners and everyone involved would get their time to shine.  But no!  First thing people said was, American Pharoah is a great horse, but he’s no Secretariat.  If Secretariat and American Pharoah were to run against each other, Secretariat would be x furlongs ahead of American Pharoah.  First off, Secretariat was born in 1970, American Pharoah was born in 2012.  Who’s to say what would have happened if they actually raced against each other in any single race?  THERE IS NO WAY TO EVER KNOW!

It’s like comparing LeBron James to Michael Jordan.  Jordan retired for the third and last time in 2003.  About five months later, James entered the league.  Not only is the game played differently, but they play differently and different positions.  Stat-wise, Jordan leads in some areas, James in others.  Maybe we can wait until James has retired for good, then make some kind of comparison; but no, people started comparing Rookie LeBron to Retired Jordan.

Speaking of basketball, the NBA (National Basketball Association) has a championship game every year.  There is one team from Canada, but somehow, when the time comes for the championship games, these two teams are vying to see who will be the WORLD CHAMPIONS.  And nobody cares if it’s an Olympic year and America doesn’t bring home the gold with the best of the best.  It’s quite fine for just one NBA team to be the best in the world, just because America says so.  But clearly America doesn’t care because it does the same for hockey, baseball and football.  And speaking of football, don’t even get me started.  This country not only changed the name of real football to soccer, but it went ahead and stole the name for a different sport where the athletes pretty much don’t use their feet.

So you see what kind of people we are dealing with, right.  For years I’ve wondered, “Why don’t they like us?”  (us meaning Black people)  How come we realize that (and again I know many Black people who are prejudiced against White people for no reason at all, well except the obvious old reason) we are all the same inside, and pigment doesn’t make anybody better than anybody else?  How come we judge people by their actions and not by the color of their skin?

Jealousy is one reason why someone hates another for no reason at all.  But what can they be jealous of?  We were the ones who were enslaved.  We were the ones who were ruled.  We are the ones who have zero power.  We are the ones who struggle in poverty.  What could they be jealous of?  Could it be that no matter what they do to us, we just pray (again I’m generalizing here, because you all should know by now that that train has left my station) endlessly whenever they torment us.  We are the ones who forgive them blindly no matter what they do to us.

The hatred that they have for us go so deep that they literally don’t want us around.  We can't go to church.  We can't go to the pool.  We can't go to our own bachelor party.  We can't go to the 7-11 for a late night snack.  We can't go home if we are a Harvard professor or an African immigrant.  We can't go to sleep if we are a 7 year old girl.  We can't go back to South Africa where some of the earliest fossils were found because they’ve taken that country for themselves. We can't go to Mars because they worked us for years without pay, so we don't have old money.  And even after they’ve killed us, they still desecrate our burial sites.

Being baffled I said to myself, “If they didn't want us here, why did they bring us from Africa in the first place?"  Seriously, where in the world do they expect us to go?  The only solution I can come up with for this deep-seated hate is that they do not want to live with the constant reminder of the evil business of slavery.  And to make matters worse, we took the high road and have forgiven them for the ultimate sin.  Getting rid of us is clearly not the solution. We have long forgiven you and moved on, so prospectively speaking, White people, in order for you to also move on, you need to forgive yourselves.

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