Retailers Selling Wide Variety of ‘Juneteenth’ Merchandise

Various retailers and other businesses have begun selling an assortment of merchandise centered around the new “Juneteenth” holiday, but have drawn some criticism from social media for doing so.

According to the Associated Press, the sheer volume of Juneteenth merchandise ranges from such things as party plates and balloons to toothpicks, from sellers such as Amazon and J.C. Penney. Such companies have been criticized by leftists on Twitter for allegedly undermining the holiday, which was created last year to ostensibly commemorate the liberation of slaves in the United States.

Previously, Walmart was forced to pull a Juneteenth-themed ice cream flavor from its store after backlash, acknowledging that the theme was “inappropriate,” although the retail giant still sells other Juneteenth merchandise such as party plates and T-shirts. The Indianapolis Children’s Museum had to issue a similar retraction after announcing a Juneteenth-themed watermelon salad for its menu, releasing a statement that described themselves as “an imperfect institution” that would “work tirelessly to regain your trust” after the incident.

Since Joe Biden signed a bill into law last year officially designated Juneteenth as the newest federal holiday, many companies have now begun celebrating the brand new holiday despite its ambiguous origins and even more ambiguous underlying themes. There was an increased push for a new federal holiday specifically designated for African-Americans in the aftermath of the race riots in 2020, which were sparked after George Floyd, a black man, died of an accidental fentanyl overdose while in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

A recent study by Mercer shows that at least 33 percent of employers across the nation are offering Juneteenth as a paid holiday for all their employees, up from just 9 percent in 2021.

Others tied the commercialization of Juneteenth into a broader trend of materialism that plagues most major holidays in the United States, from special discount deals during Memorial Day weekend to the sensationalizing of Cinco de Mayo, among others.

Ramon Manning, chairman of the board at Emancipation Park Conservancy, addressed the commercialization with a simple question: “Who is this going to benefit?”

“I feel like it has also brought back everybody else out of the woodwork who are opportunists,” Manning explained, “more so than folks who are looking at the history of this country and looking at where a group of people have come from.”

About Eric Lendrum

Eric Lendrum graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was the Secretary of the College Republicans and the founding chairman of the school’s Young Americans for Freedom chapter. He has interned for Young America’s Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, and the White House, and has worked for numerous campaigns including the 2018 re-election of Congressman Devin Nunes (CA-22). He is currently a co-host of The Right Take podcast.

Photo: LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 18: Michael Simpliss sells his wares at the Leimert Park Juneteenth Festival in Leimert Park Village on Saturday, June 18, 2022 in Los Angeles, CA. Community-led arts and culture festival commemorating June 19, 1865 when enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas, were informed that they were free at last. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

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