year, another February and we are deep into another Black History
Month. As has pretty much always been the case, various institutions
and individuals from all walks of life have taken it upon themselves
to celebrate the numerous milestones and accomplishments of people of
African descent. There was no reason to believe that 2018 would be
any different and it has not. Indeed, it appears to be business as
usual as millions of Americans and a few others throughout the world
celebrate the history of Black Americans.
28 days (some years 29), we will be introduced to and in some cases,
reminded of the innumerable contributions (and rightly so) that Black
people have made to this nation. Corporations will make bold and
brazen acknowledgments to various Black entertainers, athletes,
politicians, educators, ministers, historical figures and significant
facts as they relate to Black America. Black churches and other
religious organizations will sponsor dinners (mostly soul food) that
represent a culinary smorgasbord undeniably definitive of recipes
that originated in the African diaspora. Numerous educational
institutions from elementary schools to colleges and universities
will sponsor a multitude of cultural programs,showcase films and
documentaries, bring in various speakers, musicians poets and an
assorted array of activists of varied stripes as they make every
effort to salute Black history. Again, all is good.
truth is that Black people have a distinct, complex and vibrant
history. This can be said of all ethnic and religious groups. That
being said, the history of Black Americans in this nation is vastly
distinct from other ethnic groups due to the religious, economic,
social, psychological and educational experiences that have been
visited and inflicted upon us. By exploring and acknowledging Black
History Month, the nation is paying homage to a group of men and
women who are strong, resilient, innovative, forgiving (in some
cases, arguably too forgiving), distinctive and have contributed
immensely to the vitality and success of America. A nation where
certain people never intended for us obtain full citizenship or be
fully included within the full panorama of American culture..
a nation (and sad to say, in some other countries), where Black
people are often perennially depicted and showcased as pimps, thugs,
prostitutes, derelicts, baby commas, callous welfare recipients,
oversexed species and overall largely retrograde menaces to society,
(although there has been notable improvement, particularly in regards
to commercials over the past few years, ) Black History Month
provides a crucial and vital ingredient of facts, statistics and
notable, distinguished accomplishments. Triumphs that are far too
often obscured and dismissed from the public discussion. An opiate of
sorts to counter the often negative narratives that are often
ascribed to the Black community.
be fair, racism has always been a part of this nation. It is deeply
ingrained in the fabric of our culture and is American as apple pie.
Rather, what we are seeing now, is a case of blatant, undisguised
bigotry, the type that many White people had to keep disguised and
leashed since the 1950s or at least since the early 1960s, now being
unleashed and allowed to unapologetically permeate itself in various
sectors of our society in many cases, without consequences.
History Month explores and exposes the ample diversity and plethora
of talent that has always existed in the Black community. This
diverse exposure dispels the largely held myth by many (particularly
White America) that Black America is a one note monolith.
current political and cultural climate virtually necessitates the
need for such reinforcement.
who has a pulse and is socially and culturally woke is astute to the
current challenges we face in this nation. We have a brazenly
racially divisive president who routinely stokes the flames of racial
animosity and division and adamantly embraces White supremacists. The
time is ripe for a reinforcement of Black excellence to combat the
naysayers of such racial resistance.
the time of this nation's inception, we as Black Americans have had
to wage a historical long battle fighting to obtain rights that were
supposed to be guaranteed by our constitution that most other groups
have taken for granted. The mountains and minefields that our
ancestors had to climb, face head on and in many cases, triumphed
against, despite enduring seemingly unrelenting adversity is a
testament to their impervious strength and spirit. We are enduring
similar battles today in the 21st century. Indeed, the
fact is that being Black in America often means waging an ongoing
battle. It means dealing with a history and people that has been
defined by blood, sweat, tears, pain, occasional dashed dreams,
setbacks and periodic victories.
I see it, Black history is not some entity that should be confined to
one specific month of the year. Such an attitude is disrespectful and
patronizing. Rather, the history of Black people (as is the case with
the history of other ethnic groups) is one that deserved our full and
undivided attention. Food for thought.