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June 19, 2021

Juneteenth and Critical Race Theory Can’t Coexist

For CRT to exist, white people in power are supposed to always play the role of the oppressor.

There’s a lot of hoopla about Congress passing a bill that would make Juneteenth (June 19th) a federal holiday. It’s suspicious pandering at the very least, namely because few people actually understand what Juneteenth is. In fact, many people in the black community — the very demographic with relative context to the annual observance — don’t agree on what it means to celebrate it. But somehow, with the flick of President Joe Biden’s pen, everyone will begin honoring it by way of the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act.

Interestingly enough, news about this new holiday is juxtaposed against much talk about Critical Race Theory (CRT), a concept that could be coming to a school near you.

If adopted, CRT would retell the story of America’s founding in the light of racial oppression. In the CRT world, there are oppressors and the oppressed — even to this day. Adherents of this theory trade 1776 — the year of our nation’s independence from Great Britain — for 1619, the year that “twenty and odd” African slaves arrived on the shores of colonial Virginia. To progressives, the African slave trade is at the very center of why America came to exist at all.

And if malleable young minds get into their hands, they will certainly reshape how black youth interact with whites instead of allowing them to engage with one another naturally — as God intended. Fortunately, states like Tennessee and Florida have moved to ban any traces of CRT in public school curriculums, though some belligerent teachers insist they will ensure the theory reaches their students.

The timing of these two ideals — of Juneteenth and of CRT — couldn’t be discussed at a better time. In fact, the existence of both initiatives has a negating effect. Simply put, to have CRT means that Juneteenth cannot exist. And vice versa.

For CRT to exist, white people in power are supposed to always play the role of the oppressor. This is logically and temporally inconsistent with Juneteenth, which is acknowledged as the day a white Union Army major general by the name of Gordon Granger went to Texas to inform black slaves that they were free persons by federal law. Though the Civil War was won in favor of the Union, and President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was set in stone in January 1863, the message wasn’t communicated to the southern states. So more than two years later, on June 19, 1865, Major General Granger went to Gavelston to deliver General Order No. 3, which reads as follows:

The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection therefore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer.

So, was Granger acting out of his predestined role as a white oppressor? And if CRT is a fundamental truth, why would the federal government order the freeing of slaves at all?

The fundamental premise of CRT invalidates the undeniable fact that all people regardless of race are freed persons in the United States.

While people get out their barbecue grills and gather for their first Juneteenth celebrations, my hope is that we thank the good white Republicans and Union soldiers for risking everything for our fundamental right to freedom the same way we thank our veterans for serving this great nation. And should teachers decide to teach CRT, then students will watch them stumble to explain how Juneteenth even came to be.

Typo correction: The date the slaves were freed was 1865, not 1965 as originally stated.

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