Before you read my blog post, I invite you to watch this incredible video by Akilah Hughes, a comedian and popular YouTube video blogger. While her video on Why I Hate Black History Month is almost 3 years old now, it remains relevant and something worth watching.
The reason why I love this video is because it speaks so well to my experience. Throughout my life, I’ve gone through different phases with Black History Month. In elementary school, we solely learned about those 7 individuals Akilah mentions in her video: Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, George Washington Carver, Eli Whitney, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, and Malcolm X. However, back then, it was a much easier experience and sometimes even fun. We had peanut butter sandwiches for George Washington Carver and created art projects and book reports on MLK. Black History Month was seemingly a blast.
But as I grew older, the conversations and class experiences became a bit more difficult. The unforgettable tension when that one kid asks why isn’t there a White History Month, the lame jokes, and more recently, how Black History Month can be completely erased.
Akilah says it best, the incredible learning opportunities of this month are wasted. And while the works of those 7 Black History trailblazers are imperative, I do not want the knowledge of my culture and history limited to a few facts.
Back in 2005, Morgan Freeman famously expressed his feelings towards racism, and while I can respect his opinions, I do not agree that not talking about racism is the ultimate solution. If you broke a bone, would you sit there in pain and agony until it healed? In the past year alone, I have seen the positive effects of talking about not only racism, but other social, political, and economic issues. Why stop now when there is progress happening and progress that can still be made? I also want to point out that Morgan Freeman is not the spokesman for all Black Americans, and that the success of minorities does not mean that we live in a post-racial society.
Black History is American History. I should not feel uncomfortable about a month that celebrates that. I should not have to be shameful of wanting to expand my knowledge. Celebrating Black History does not diminish the work of other cultures. It does not divide us, but reacting negatively to what this month can be, does divide us. I am fortunate enough to have access to the Internet, which is a constant portal of information and resources. So why not use it for the better? Social media might seem bogged down with reality television recaps and sports, but it can also be a platform for change.
My objective for this post was to express my feelings towards Black History Month without it being overly preachy or an attempt at telling people what to do. I want to take back what this month means for me, but hopefully it will inspire you to re-evaluate your feelings as well. This month on my blog, I will be featuring important figures in Black History that are more modern and relevant to my interests. It is one thing to talk about something, but it’s the action that is more important. If I want to make any type of change, I have to start with myself.
Happy Monday, folks!