Happy Juneteenth!

This is an African American holiday started in Texas, for obvious reasons. Wikipedia has a nice summary of key info:

Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, commemorates the announcement of the abolition of slavery in the U.S. State of Texas in 1865. Celebrated on June 19, the term is a portmanteau of June and nineteenth, and is recognized as a state holiday in 31 of the United States.

That is, word of President Lincoln’s emancipation proclamation of January 1863 reached Texas only in June 1865:

The holiday originated in Galveston, Texas; for more than a century, the state of Texas was the primary home of Juneteenth celebrations. Since 1980, Juneteenth has been an official state holiday in Texas. It is considered a “partial staffing holiday” meaning that state offices do not close but some employees will be using a floating holiday to take the day off. Twelve other states list it as an official holiday, including Arkansas, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Alaska and California, where Governor Schwarzenegger proclaimed the day “Juneteenth” on June 19, 2005. Connecticut, however, does not consider it a legal holiday or close government offices in observance of the occasion. Its informal observance has spread to some other states, with a few celebrations even taking place in other countries.

As of May 2009, 31 states and the District of Columbia have recognized Juneteenth as either a state holiday or state holiday observance; these include Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming.

This is also a day to remember the 500,000 African Americans, who as soldiers and support troops, many of them formerly enslaved, volunteered for the Union Army at its low point, and who thus played a (the?) key role in winning the Civil War. This is an ironic day, too, given the very weak apology for slavery voted on this week in the mostly white US Senate. A bit late.

Race, Racism & White Supremacy: Link Roundup

Here are some interesting links on race, racism and white supremacy. The blogosphere seems to be heating up on some of these issues. There is no shortage of racism material to write on!

The Holocaust Museum Attack and Cyberhate

  • Rinku Sen writes about The White Supremacist in All of Us at the Huffington Post.  Sen criticizes the discussion of the Holocaust Museum shooting has boiled down to the idea that racism is an intentional, violent act of a lone crazy white man.  She writes “Collectively, we bemoan the backwardness of ‘some’ people before we move on, thinking of racism as isolated extremism.”
  • David Niewert writes at Crooks and Liars about the infiltration of the army by neo-nazis, first reported by Salon this week.  Jim Burroway at Box Turtle points out the irony of a military that is happy to include white supremacists but not openly LGBT members.
  • Jesse Walker thinks the threat of right-wing terror has been blown out of proportion.
  • Joshua Holland at Alternet has some probing thoughts on the Eliminationist (that is, killing) Mindset of many on the racist right.

Judge Sonia Sotomayor

  • Transgriot calls out Pat Buchanan – and others of the “vanilla privileged” class –  for their treatment of Sotomayor.


  • Over at DailyKos, Tristero 312 has a good analysis of the Caucus of Rank and File Educators (CORE) charges at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that argue the educational policies of school “turnarounds,” one of the “Renaissance 2010” policies, is discriminatory, especially for black teachers.


  • Over at Asian-Nation, there is an interesting analysis of some U.S. demographic data showing that among Asian-Indian, Chinese, and Korean Americans, there is a significant gender imbalance among children, boys being more common than girls, as in some Asian countries—apparently mainly for Asian immigrant couples in which both spouses are foreign-born.

Pop Culture

Idiocy in America

  • And, though not online and not exactly on racism issues, there is the new book Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free by Charles P. Pierce. The book is uneven, full of ranting on conservatives like Limbaugh (who deserve it), but the general points are quite accurate about stupidity becoming a virtue. Here is his response to a question in an interview: “With the election of President Obama, is Idiot America coming to an end? Or, will there always be a place for idiocy in America?” [Pierce answers]: Look at the political opposition to President Obama. “Socialist!” “Fascist!” “Coming to get your guns.” Hysteria from the hucksters of Idiot America is still at high-tide. People are killing other people and specifically attributing their action to imaginary oppression stoked by radio talk-show stars and television pundits.

Black Masculinity