California State University Los Angeles professor of pan-African studies Melina Abdullah issued a tweet telling white individuals not to request to attend a Juneteenth cookout.
“Attention white people… Please don’t ask if you can come to the cookout… #Juneteenth is freedom day for Black folks. It should be #Reparations day for white folks,” Abdullah tweeted on Monday.
Last year, President Joe Biden signed legislation to make Juneteenth, which falls on June 19, a federal holiday.
Abdullah’s tweet sparked pushback on social media, with some decrying it as “racist.”
In response to someone who described her comments as “extremely racist,” Abdullah replied, “1. Define racism. 2. Why do you think that?”
Someone else pressed Abdullah about how that standard would apply to people who are “part-black and part-white? Do they come to the cookout or pay reparations or both?”
“Kinda funny…and not. Short answer: Those who would have been enslaved in 1865 get to come to the cookout,” Abdullah responded.
Someone else asked Abdullah, “Do you seriously exclude your white father on account of his skin color? Is that progress?”
Abdullah replied by asking, “Do you know why we celebrate Juneteenth?”
“I guess July 4th is for the rest of us. Don’t come to the cookout,” someone else wrote.
“You can keep it,” Abdullah replied.
In her Twitter biography, Abdullah describes herself as a “#BlackLivesMatter organizer.”
Touré has contended that Juneteenth should be marked by everyone.
“Juneteenth isn’t just for Black people. If you believe slavery was wrong then you should celebrate the end of slavery,” Touré tweeted on Wednesday.
“Here’s why white people should be part of Juneteenth celebrations—because white people should be acknowledging that slavery happened. Many of them would love to not do that. It’s valuable for us to have them acknowledge it and see it as something that still impacts us today,” he wrote. “Slavery isn’t Black history. It’s American history. If we restrict it to Black history and restrict Juneteenth to Black people then we allow white people to escape having to think about it,” he declared.