Juneteenth: Where we are today

I need to be completely honest with this… I am embarrassed to say I have never heard of Juneteenth until early this morning when I jumped on MSN.COM and saw an old drawing depicting slavery.

“Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States.  Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19ththat the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free.” (http://www.juneteenth.com/history.htm)

 I love history, and feel I am well read and versed on it. But even with my enthusiasm in history and culture I haven’t heard of this day. So why in 2015 is Juneteenth being brought to light all over the web? With all of the news recently about race, it begs the question; is this still a topic in America that needs to be discussed on a national level?

Being that I am bi-racial, I have been speaking about race before I even knew what the social matters where. It was just always a simple question of “hey what are you?”…  And me answering, not putting any thought behind it. I am what I am. We are who we are. However, I feel I am up to date with current events, and have a unique outlook on race as I truly see situations from both sides. So let’s take a brief look through 2015’s current events of racial controversy…

Michael Brown :
Media:  Teenager killed by polices after a convent store robbery.             
Black unarmed teen shot down by white cop.   

Eric Garner :
Media:  Man resists arrest forced to the ground.  
White police tackle and choke a man to death.

Freddie Gray:
Media:  Known drug criminal arrested and thrown in back of police car.  
A black man physically harmed to the point of death during arrest. 

Demetrius Blackwell:   
Media:  Crazed man shoots in retaliation.
Black man shoots two NYC officers in retaliation for black victims.

Rachel Dolezal:
Media:  I am transracial.  
White women turns black to “identity” with the black community.

Dylann Roof:
Media:  White serial killer gunned 9 down black church goers.
Crazy serial killer.

I am sure seeing these bring different emotions to different people. EVERYONE has their own opinion based off of life experiences and their culture. But if you peel the media’s spin off of these particular instances, I don’t feel that it becomes a race thing. It becomes a “don’t be an asshole” thing. If you strip off the title of what happened it was simply people acting like irresponsibly, cruelly, and insanely.  Discrimination will be around as long as there are people of different races and nationalities, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t come a very long way, since the times of slavery, in respecting and appreciating each other. 

Slavery is and has been around since the beginning of time as well as the social class systems. How do I know this, we still see it every day with every other species on earth. How could we think, at our most animalistic nature, we are any different? Power equals survival, and that is all we are all trying to do. The early people of America wanted power. We wanted to be better than the Monarch rueld island that we had come from. But in treating people savagely to be better, people realized it was not the right thing to do.  America was able to overcome and think outside of the historical box. We were able to overcome this horrible treatment of people and become a prosperous nation like none other has been able to do.

So does the question of race need to be addressed in 2015? I personally feel that no conversation should be off the table, BUT I do feel that there more ways to view all situations, and as Americans were able to look outside of box with the end of slavery, we should do that same today.  

~ Megan Nikole


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