I am 38 years old and just found out today, by accident, that the Juneteenth celebration that occurs, quietly, every year is a celebration of the legal end of slavery.
Why did I just find out today?
I could point to many things I suppose, but mostly, I’ve never bothered to ask and in my defense, nobody’s ever bothered to tell me. You see, in prison Juneteenth happens every year. Prison is the first time I’ve ever heard of Juneteenth and in prison cultural events are segregated, it’s not that I wasn’t allowed…but I wasn’t allowed and I didn’t see the relevance of pushing the issue, what was Juneteenth anyway and why should I care if they want to exclude me.
You see, did you see it? That word? They. That is the problem, right there. The problem is I feel that the black community is a “they” to me and I feel as if I am a “they” to…them. That’s the problem.
It’s the little things that add up to big problems, like systemic racism. Ask America if racism is dead 1 year ago and most whites would tell you yes, most blacks would tell you no. Whites would say “I’m not racist” and most blacks would say “I’m saddened you think that” but it’s specific behavior that is hardest to point out because much of it is somehow defensible.
So let’s stop. Why not be conscious? Why not make an effort to understand? Instead of becoming super defensive how about we try? No more “them”, no more “they”, instead it’s “us” and “we’re”.
My suggestion, attend a Juneteenth celebration this year. It’s a celebration of American freedom, let’s act like it.
Feel free to contact me, a little human contact is always welcome
jeff aka Ruth Utnage 823469 C-601-2
PO Box 888
Monroe, WA. 98272
or via Jpay email service (you have to use my birth name, but, please do not call me by it, my new legal name is Ruth)