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‘Why would y’all think profiting off our suffering is OK?’ Black people are begging brands not to do Juneteenth sales

'Juneteenth is going to be commercialized so bad and it’s absolutely infuriating.'


Kahron Spearman


Published Jun 17, 2021   Updated Jun 18, 2021, 10:28 am CDT

President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth bill, making Juneteenth—which celebrates the emancipation of Black people once enslaved in the United States—a federal holiday in the United States.

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Though Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation went into effect on Jan. 1, 1863, it wouldn’t be until June 19, 1865, when Union troops in Galveston, Texas, fully enforced the doctrine within the state. That day, which was the unofficial end to slavery, marks Juneteenth.

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The Senate unanimously pushed a bill on June 15. The next day, the House also passed the bill by a wide margin. Juneteenth has been a Texas state holiday since 1980.

Twitter users are thinking long-term about the ideations of what a Juneteenth holiday means for all Americans, especially at places of business that are known to host holiday sales.

User @Afro_Herper tweeted: “If you’re a white/non-Black business owner catering to a similar clientele, don’t offer Juneteenth merch/discounts. Why would y’all think profiting off our suffering is ok? Instead take 100% of sales & give it to Black ppl/led orgs & don’t collect a tax write off when you pass go.”

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People are noting how a sale on Juneteenth, especially by white retailers, would be offensive in numerous directions. More specifically, user @Afro_Herper presents the phantom of slavery recurring by discounting products in the name of the lives (and former property) that provided America the foundations for its capitalist complex and might.

And even the surface-level notions of Juneteenth sales aren’t great to consider.

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Some retailers are attempting the right idea in donating to Black causes as well as using the correct language around the holiday.

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The other reality is that it appears, for many Black people, that the Juneteenth holiday is performative that means nothing for them materially, much less in any restorative sense.

“It went from being about Black liberation to juneteenth sales and performative activism, ” tweeted @hopegabrielleee. “Capitalism and white supremacy truly do not take any days off.”

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*First Published: Jun 17, 2021, 12:36 pm CDT