Tyson Food T-Shirt Sparks Debate

Tyson Foods, a major U.S.-based meat supplier and one of the largest companies globally, recently found itself embroiled in controversy over the sale of Juneteenth-themed shirts to its employees.

The shirts, offered for the company's annual Juneteenth celebration, featured messages that crossed out "July 4" as the nation's Independence Day, sparking a significant backlash.

Emails obtained by The Daily Wire revealed that Tyson Foods sold shirts with slogans proclaiming Juneteenth as the true Independence Day of the United States. One shirt read, “Juneteenth is my Independence Day,” while another, under a crossed-out July 4 date, stated, “Juneteenth 1865 because my ancestors weren’t free in 1776.” Many of these shirts also incorporated the black power fist, a symbol historically associated with Black empowerment and resistance.

After inquiries from The Daily Wire, Tyson Foods reportedly ordered its Virginia office to cancel the shirt sale and refund any purchases made by employees.

A spokesman for the company claimed that Tyson Foods was unaware of the t-shirt designs and that the shirts did not comply with the company's dress code policy. However, it remains unclear how exactly the shirts violated this policy, as Tyson Foods did not provide further clarification despite follow-up questions.

The controversy over the Juneteenth shirts is not the first time Tyson Foods has faced criticism for its political stance. The Arkansas-based corporation has been criticized for its progressive policies, including openly stating its intention to hire illegal migrants while shutting down a plant in Iowa that employed over 1,000 people. The company’s website also features a “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” section highlighting various internal identity groups, such as those for “Latinx” employees and another “Pride” group.

Internally, numerous employees expressed dissatisfaction with the Juneteenth shirts, which were to be created by a local vendor, Make It Happen Customz LLC. The holiday, which marks the day in 1865 when African Americans in Texas learned of the abolition of slavery, was made a national holiday by President Joe Biden in 2021.

Historically celebrated in Texas, Juneteenth gained national prominence following the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, during which liberal commentators argued against the celebration of July 4, asserting that black Americans were not truly independent on that date.

One author encapsulated this sentiment by stating, “Juneteenth — not the Fourth of July — was the real Independence Day,” further arguing that the ongoing "intolerance and oppression" in society makes it difficult to take pride in being American on July 4.

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