Last week the nation honored Juneteenth by making it a national holiday. For those who don’t know, Juneteenth celebrates the day that Union soldiers enforced the Emancipation Proclamation by freeing all remaining slaves in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865. You can read the details about it here. There were parades and festivals across the nation abounding, such as in Denver, CO. (Shown below). Overwhelmingly, the holiday was enjoyed as it should have been.
Unfortunately, there were also one rather infamous occurrence that is being under reported in the news while simultaneously being shared ad nauseum on social media. First the backstory, courtesy of ABC News.
A 22-year-old man was killed and five others were wounded in a shooting in Oakland near the city’s Juneteenth celebration, though it wasn’t known whether the violence was connected with the event, police said.
The unidentified man was pronounced dead at a hospital after gunfire erupted Saturday evening near Lake Merritt, said Oakland Police Department Officer Johnna Watson.
The other five victims, males ages 16 to 27, and a woman in her 20s, were hospitalized in stable condition, she said Saturday night.
Investigators said they were trying to determine a motive for the shooting and identify suspects. Police said two men running from the scene with guns were arrested, but it was unclear if they were responsible for the shooting, the Bay Area News Group reported.
As tragic as that news report was, there was more to the story. When the ambulance arrived to attend to the shooting victims, they had difficulty getting to the wounded. Why? Juneteenth revelers would not cease their celebrations long enough to let them through. Moreover, they used the presence of the ambulance to take things to another level by twerking alongside and on the ambulance. You have to see it yourself to believe it. (And let me remind you that this was happening as the EMTs were dealing with wounded people on the street.)
What immediately When I learned of this, I immediately thought of BAAP, which stands for the “Black American Accountability Paradox.” I did not make that phrase up but, I wish I had because it is so true. I discovered it on the blog – The Policy. Here is a quote…
It will be near impossible to accurately address issues like crime and poverty in black America without having an honest and open dialogue about what happens inside black communities and the role blacks themselves play in hindering the development and advancement of black America. No one with credibility would argue that history and various outside influences have no effect on creating the problems blacks face, but maybe we are all guilty of downplaying the self-inflicted injuries on socioeconomic development within black American communities today.
There are some who would look at the twerking incident and find a way to blame others or some societal ill for that reprehensible behavior on display or simply downplay it as no big deal. And that is, and has been, a long-running problem. Until there is accountability and honest dialogue in the African American community about so many things (how to carry yourself in public, for example) the culture will continue to hold color back.
Another example of BAAP can be noticed in this meme.
And there are other examples I could list but, I think the point is made. I am so tired of organizations that claim to champion the causes of African Americans while ignoring its own self-inflicted wounds which are more significant than the racism ballyhooed in the press. While I am hungry for a cultural shift of accountability in the African American community, I am skeptical of soon coming change. As long as African Americans see themselves as victims in need of political saviors, there will always be political saviors at hand to liberate them. And like clockwork, they will arrive just before the next election.