Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Case for Black History Month

What is Black History Month?

Black History Month is the annual monthly event observed in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom to celebrate the remembrance of important Black figures and key events in the history of African diaspora.

Argument

Many people argue against the concept of Black History Month. The main point always brought up is the history celebrated is just a glorification of Black culture and relegates this road of history to only one month. The people against the month are not just one race. Many people including black and white people are against this whole idea and want to homogenized this celebratory month with the rest of North American and British History.
A famous example of this is a 60 minute interview of Morgan Freeman where he expresses complete disagreement for the whole thing.
Like most people in my community, I was also against the idea of Black History Month and didn't see the whole point to it. At one point I found it insulting to give a "special month" for my history, I'm not any different from friends who are White, Hispanic, Semitic, Asian etc. "Why am I different?" I constantly asked myself in response to this month and then it finally made sense to me.

Why it matters

Black History Month matters because of where it is celebrated. Its definition even specifies "United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom." All of these settings have huge African diaspora. A majority of the Black communities in those specific places have their ancestry linked sadly to the horrific slave trade that began in the 16th century. Their cultures were violently ripped away from them and their history was lost forever. Long after the slave trade and slavery ended, the Black communities suffered centuries long oppression and treated as second class citizens. Its only recently in terms of American history we have seen an equal society.
American History is taught from a Euro-centric view. Black History in America started with the slave trade and long periods of oppression.
Black History Month is a celebratory event to see African history in its entirety inside America and meant to show us the richness Black communities have to offer. It is a way to see African history from a different point of view for everyone other than "civil rights" and "slavery's end."
Unfortunately places such as the Middle East who had their own barbaric slave trade and Brazil and the Caribbean who participated heavily in the Atlantic Slave Trade don't observe this month and that is unfair to deprive people of a different aspect of history those places wanted to destroy in the past.
And a last note Black History Month is not meant to be a celebration of racism against white people. Black Historic revisionist who have this twisted view of the world unjustly use Black History Month to spread their hateful agenda and create further divisions. Black History Month is meant to be a thoughtful, thought provoking and deep learning experience to learn about a history so often forgotten.