The other day while at work I was asked to create a slide show of some sorts to be broadcasted during the day. They wanted a fresh young perspective on Black History Month including the people that would be relevant and important to the current students beyond the normal Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, and Harriet Tubman references. I figured I was asked for one of two reasons… because I am young and because I am black. With both reasons not being substantial enough to be worthy of my time or effort I politely declined the request and stated that I don’t celebrate Black History Month anyhow. I was met with a strange look and several jokes ensued in which I ignored and brushed off as common ignorance.
It has become tiring at this point to have to explain my genuine distaste for the yearly Black History month celebration. Its not so much the explanation part that I have grown tired of its the constant repetition and battle that ensues after I have unintentionally offended whomever I am currently conversing with. It seems that even still in 2014 I am seen as the self righteous one for believing we should be accepting more than just the symbolic crumb offering off of the silver platter. Accepting the fact that the history of an entire culture has been tightly and neatly squeezed into a 28 day manifestation deemed as a celebration is more than a bit of an insult to me. It falls under the same criteria of insult and level of distaste I felt when my predominantly Caucasian alma mater began offering “African American studies” as a minor. There should be no such thing as “Black History” or “African American studies”, and as we continue to perpetuate an acceptable form of segregation we continue to blur the lines of reality as well.
“Black” is such a vague term used to classify so many different types of people from so many different backgrounds, whose only common factor would be the color of their skin. What would be an even greater concept to celebrate is the actual true pure integration of this “Black History” into the curriculum of the standard history classes offered on a daily basis in every level of education. “Black History” should be thoroughly weaved into US History and Global History courses rather than offered as an after thought. While I know many may argue that we as a black culture have over come so many barriers, and made many strides therefore we deserve recognition and remembrance for all of our success. However I disagree. I believe we have done a little more than “deserve recognition” but more so have earned the right to be treated equally on the same playing field. That accomplishment would go further than a mere pat on the back for 28 days only to be returned to the shadows for the remaining 11 months of the year.
Complacency has made us content and has therefore prevented further growth. As a culture we should not revel in temporary celebration but should rather invest time in educating our selves and others around us about ALL history or we will forever repeat it. However when you are truly educated on what has happened before you, you possess a weapon they can never away take from you, and that is what makes you incapable of being defeated.