One of many, many elegantly put quotes by this man
THOUGHTS REGARDING THE 28 DAYS SET ASIDE TO FOCUS ON BLACK AMERICANS OF AFRICAN DESCENT FROM A MIDDLE AGED AFRICAN AMERICAN MALE
As this year’s version of Black History Month is beginning to wind down, I have always wondered about a few things regarding this occasion, the most prevalent one being this:
Why is the month set aside for commemorating and celebrating the achievements of African-Americans the shortest month?
And that was an improvement, as it was originally slated to be a week when it was first introduced in 1926 and continued to be that way for fifty years until it was officially expanded by the U.S. Government in 1976, the first unofficial celebration of Black History Month being in 1970 at Ohio’s Kent State University after it was proposed by African-American students there the year before.
As many folks have shared this same sentiment, I see it as a legitimate concern, as is this:
Why – during this month and any other time that classrooms pay any attention to blacks in their curriculum – are the only things covered (seemingly) are Booker T. Washington, George Washington Carver, Harriet Tubman, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech?
At least, that’s the way it was when I was in school during the 1970s and 80s.
It’s true that Barack Obama certainly gets priority in school lessons regarding the contributions of African-Americans these days, but being that he is the President of the United States, I’m sure that there was no choice in the matter.
And I’m sure a few more figures like Malcolm X and Jackie Robinson are given some decent attention today during these 28 days.
However, here is my point:
As much as I feel that learning about the achievements and contributions that blacks of African descent have given to this country is very important, I must be honest and state that…
Black History Month has never excited me as much as it should over the years, simply because it’s my strong conviction that African-Americans should be given proper attention in schools and society every month of the year.
The same goes for Latinos, Asians, Native Americans, women, and gays as setting aside months for those different people gives a message that outside of February (for blacks), March (for women), and the period from mid-September to mid-October (for Latinos, as that’s when National Hispanic Heritage Month is observed), those groups don’t matter as if mainstream society is saying, “OK, you had your month where we had to pay attention to you, now go away.”
With those different groups being expected to say with gratitude and a happy face, “Thanks for the crumbs!”
Which in my opinion is exactly what these commemorative months are: Crumbs.
In this day and age where policemen are murdering young unarmed black men and are getting away with it thanks to grand juries, with riots (read: Ferguson, MO) resulting from those injustices,
Where according to John Legend at the recent Academy Awards, there are more African-American males who are incarcerated today than were enslaved in 1850,
And where there is seemingly a diminishing sense of sympathy over the plight of blacks and Latinos among certain groups of conservative whites, who feel that those so-called “minorities” need to stop whining about their lot and how things are so racist and unfair and pull themselves up by their own bootstraps,
The notion of African-Americans, Latinos, women (as well as Native Americans and gays) being given a few weeks for America to pay special attention to them should be changed to having all of those groups’ achievements, contributions celebrated all twelve months.
Perhaps relations between mainstream America and the different races, genders, and sexual orientations who are so vital to the well-being of this nation would improve as a result.
Just a few ramblings from me. What do you think?
The University of Dayton Singers performing in a Black History Month concert; Love the unity between the races being shown here