Letter: Routt County Republicans need to stop co-opting Juneteenth


Advice to Routt County Republicans regarding Juneteenth — stop. Co-opting a celebration of, by and for Black Americans into another glorification of lies that built America exaggerates the theme of American white supremacy since 1619.

Inalienable rights have never existed for all. The U.S. was founded to protect white male landowners. The colonies were built as European enclaves using whiteness as a bond across economic classes to contrive protection against the indigenous tribes of Turtle Island plus a growing enslaved population.

The Revolutionary and Civil wars have a specific throughline — fought at a time of increasing fear of revolt by the enslaved to protect the white status quo. Our Revolution was not as much against taxation but rather fear that England, while ending their own role in the slave trade, would move to abolish slavery across their colonies or enlist enslaved Africans to fight against the colonists.

Abraham Lincoln, who was not “in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and Black race,” isn’t exactly the shining beacon of abolition you desire. Lincoln freed no slaves. His sole motivation was Union preservation. Juneteenth wasn’t the end of slavery as Union states — Kentucky and Delaware — held slaves until December 1865.

And what did abolition give way to? Slave catchers became cops; freed Blacks became sharecroppers living under Jim Crow. As Black citizens were no longer viewed as capital, lynchings skyrocketed, while lynchers were protected by local, state and federal courts that turned their backs.

The 13th Amendment and the 1965 Voting Rights Act were passed … then decimated by the courts. Black America was chained down in impoverished communities as whites flourished under New Deal legislation, the drug war and police terrorism targeting black and brown communities, aimed divestment from public education, public housing and health care … with absolute freedom to continue unchecked discrimination individually and structurally.

Now, while the Republican Party is taking continuously brazen measures to disenfranchise Black communities and gaslighting over critical race theory being taught in schools (it’s not), Black Americans represent just 13% of the population … but 90% of the imprisoned population, 24% of those murdered by cops, 23% of America’s population living in poverty and have 1/10th the average net worth of a white American family. Let’s ask ourselves: Did slavery ever really end? Or did it simply shift in a way to protect white America from your mythical “sin”?

Black Lives Matter.

Dylan Sanders

Steamboat Springs

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.