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Friday, June 19, 2020

Happy Juneteenth 2020!

Pinkerite has been observing Juneteenth for several years now: 2019, 2018 back to 2014 when I said I thought it should be a national holiday.

So I am very pleased that Juneteenth is finally getting the attention it deserves.

These companies are giving their employees time off for Juneteenth  
Google, Nike and Target have joined a growing list of companies around the country that have decided to give their employees time off for Juneteenth, June 19. 
The decision comes as businesses balance how to fight racism and support black employees in the wake of George Floyd's death and global protests demanding racial justice and an end to police brutality.
Juneteenth has been designated an official holiday for the city of Philadelphia, Mayor Jim Kenney announced Tuesday.  
As a result, all city offices and facilities will be closed to the public on June 19 to observe Juneteenth, which commemorates the end of slavery in the United States.
“Now more than ever, it’s critically important to acknowledge America’s original sin of slavery -- something we as a nation have never atoned for,” Kenney wrote. “The only way to dismantle the institutional racism and inequalities that continue to disenfranchise Black Philadelphians is to look critically at how we got here, and make much-needed changes to the governmental systems that allow inequality to persist.”
What is Juneteenth? It could become a state holiday in Virginia 
Juneteenth, celebrated annually on June 19, commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union general Gordon Granger read federal orders in Galveston, Texas, that all slaves in Texas were free. The day is also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day.

It's become big enough that Trump caught flack for scheduling one of his Nuremberg rallies on Juneteenth, so he moved it to the next day.

Meanwhile the Mighty Krugman makes some excellent points about the history of African Americans - the struggle was not over after Emancipation:
Freed slaves started with nothing, but over time many of them would surely have worked their way up, acquiring property, educating their children and becoming full members of society. Indeed, that started to happen during the 12 years of Reconstruction, when blacks briefly benefited from something approaching equal rights. 
But the corrupt political deal that ended Reconstruction empowered Southern white supremacists who systematically suppressed black gains. African-Americans who managed to acquire some property all too often found that property expropriated, either through legal subterfuge or at gunpoint. And the nascent black middle class was effectively subjected to a reign of terror. 
Which is where Tulsa fits in. In 1921 the Oklahoma city was the center of an oil boom, a place to which people in search of opportunity migrated. It boasted a sizable black middle class, centered on the Greenwood neighborhood, which was widely described as the “black Wall Street." 
And that was the neighborhood destroyed by white mobs, who looted black businesses and homes, killing probably hundreds. (We don’t know how many because the massacre was never properly investigated.) The police, of course, did nothing to protect black citizens; instead, they joined the rioters.
I find this part especially interesting though... not too long ago Krugman was saying and Steven Pinker was agreeing with him that we don't know why there was so much crime in New York City in the 1970s - 1980s.

Now Krugman seems to have gotten it:
Unfortunately, for many African-Americans Northern cities turned into a socioeconomic trap. The opportunities that lured migrants disappeared as blue-collar jobs moved first to the suburbs, then overseas. Chicago, for example, lost 60 percent of its manufacturing employment between 1967 and 1987. 
And when the loss of economic opportunity led, as it usually does, to social dysfunction — to broken families and despair — all too many whites were ready to blame the victims. The problem, many asserted, lay in black culture — or, some hinted, in racial inferiority. 
Such implicit racism wasn’t just talk; it fueled opposition to government programs, up to and including Obamacare, that might help African-Americans. If you wonder why the social safety net in the U.S. is so much weaker than those of other advanced countries, it comes down to just one word: race.
That last sentence tells you so much about why the American white middle-class is so opposed to social programs. They are always afraid social programs will help "those people" - so afraid that they are willing to hurt themselves economically to spite black people.

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