National Holiday

There is a movement afoot to make Juneteenth a National Holiday. People likely think this is free, and is just a nice way to show African-Americans that we care about them.  Who could be against that?  You wouldn’t want to be against that, would you?  That would be unkind, impolite, and racist.

Articulate what Martin Luther King Day is for.  The first meanings of that verb are “utterance,” “putting into clear words,” and that’s what I mean.  If you want Juneteenth, you should first have to put into words what MLK/Civil Rights Day is for, not just think about them vaguely and have a feeling. Only then can you go on to describe how Juneteenth is different and brings something new to the table.

I’ll just wait here while you scratch some things on the page and imagine delivering those words before an audience.  They have contests for that, don’t they, asking schoolchildren to write speeches about what MLK Day is about?  What do they say, do you think? 

When you have finished that, scratch down some percentages of what a new federal holiday will cost businesses and governments which would then have to pay people to stay home, or at minimum pay them a higher wage. Describe to me where that money will come from. As a starting point, people work 5 days/week for 52 weeks, minus ten days vacation minus fifteen holidays minus sick days – about two weeks. Call it 225 days a year. Back of the envelope is fine.

Now remember that this will feel good to do but have only psychological effects on people who really dig this stuff.  There will be no improvement in policing, or schools, or job prospects, or city infrastructure, or, well anything. Hispanics might rightfully wonder why they got left out.  At least “Civil Rights” applies to everyone, at least in theory.

11 thoughts on “National Holiday”

  1. You have missed your calling. You really like to assign little things for people to do, and have refused to continue conversations until the lessons you have set are done. Being older than you, and long out of school, that’s not gonna happen in my case.

    Oh yes, a school teacher career would have been perfect, to get this need, out of your system. ;)

  2. I am 67. I do like to set people who have not done some very basic thinking about a topic a few little tasks to do – ones tht involve thinking. As these will take a only few minutes and they will be taking much longer than that to organise protests and tell the country what to do, it seems fair.

    You will notice that simply by observing the design of my tasks they can see that I have already heard them and engaged their arguments. If you prefer, I could have just lectured others on how much this is going to cost. Would that have been better?

  3. National holidays? Thanskgiving is for eating too much, and Christmas is for accumulating unnecessary stuff. Columbus Day? — Do we still do Columbus Day?

    Juneteenth might actually make a good National Holiday. Descendants of slaves the English brought from Africa could visit Civil War gravesites, clean up the graves, and spend the day thanking the spirits of the men who died to free their ancestors. Descendants of Union soldiers could also go to those gravesites and accept the thanks from individuals of African heritage on behalf of their ancestors. Then in the evening, there could be big multi-heritage parties in the graveyards — sort of a Day of the Dead. Festivities could culminate in descendants of slaves making public solemn promises to make the most of their dearly-bought freedom which other Africans stole from their ancestors when they enslaved them.

    It would not increase the GNP — but it might make the world a happier place.

  4. Gavin, I agree with SGT. MOM. However I know that what it will end up as is yet another holiday to declare everybody but Blacks and Hispanics as irredeemably racist.


    Subotai Bahadur

  5. Juneteenth might actually make a good National Holiday

    Every national holiday costs billions with all federal workers getting a paid day off.

    Lincoln lost his holiday to economy.

  6. Lincoln’s birthday was never a national holiday, but there’s an interesting parallel here –

    The stories we are hearing this week about the way Juneteenth celebrations developed – the activities, the exclusion from city parks, the clothing, the ceremony, the activities such as barbecue, are reflected in eastern seaboard black-community celebrations of the same era which took place near February 12-14 in celebration of emancipation AND Lincoln’s birthday or Frederick Douglas’ birthday. The reason that Black history week (now Black History Month was placed in the 2nd week of February at its inception in 1924 was to encompass and piggyback on those existing emancipation celebration.

    It is almost as if the communities with strong post-emancipation-Texas diaspora celebrated on Juneteenth, and the earlier diaspora north from more eastern states celebrated on Lincoln’s birthday.

  7. Sgt. Mom: “Gavin, I like the cut of your jib. Do you have a newsletter I can subscribe to?”

    Thank you for the compliment. Fortunately, the world is safe — there is no newsletter. :)

  8. Lincoln’s birthday was never a national holiday, but there’s an interesting parallel here –

    February 12, Lincoln’s birthday was a national holiday when I was a boy. So was Washington’s. Both were combined in the 80s as “Presidents’ Day

  9. Instead of Juneteenth why not celebrate the day Lincoln was shot. John Wilkes Booth should be a hero to black folk . Lincoln wanted to repatriate the freed slaves slaves to Africa. As I remember the ones who did return promptly enslaved the locals.
    We should have picked our own damn Cotten .

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