Column: Black History Month draws wrong type of attention
Published: Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, March 12, 2013 22:03
February is not just the shortest month of the year; it is Black History Month in which many African Americans are recognized for the achievements they made to their race and society at large.
Black History Month is in February to mark the birthdays of the two most notable people significant to Black History: Frederick Douglas and Abraham Lincoln.
But everyone has a different view on Black History Month.
On a discussion on elegancy101.com, some think that the month is racist because “it rehashes what white people did to the blacks and it made white people feel guilty.” Others think that we should just put what happened in the past behind us and move on.
However, we all know that when it comes to anything racial, having perfect racial harmony between every race is not that simple and may be completely impossible because of the older generations, and the traditions they still carry on from the past that they teach to their children.
Is Black History Month racist? No it is not. And I am not saying this because I am African American myself. I think it’s good that we recognize people, holidays and traditions that we will otherwise not know about or pay little if any attention to it.
Black History Month is not about making white people feel guilty. It is about trying to tell the story of the unknown heroes and voices that are forgotten in most history textbooks that made significant changes to American history.
However, there are some issues with Black History Month.
Black History Month is supposed to draw attention to the overlooked accomplishments of African Americans but often draws attention to the major figures that we already hear about.
It is time we stop focusing so much on Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and Frederick Douglas. I feel as though they are the poster children of Black History Month and all I ever learned about in school. While they were very prominent people within their time and are very important to African American history as a whole, people need to learn more about Ida B Wells Barnett, W.E.B. DuBois, and many others.
Academy Award-winning actor Morgan Freeman made some controversial comments on Black History Month. He said that it is “ridiculous.” In a 2005 interview on CBS “60 Minutes,” Freeman said, “You’re going to relegate my history to a month? I don’t want a black history month. Black history is American history.”
Not to be funny, but Mr. Freeman has lived through the Civil Rights Movement and probably seen some of the struggles and victories personally. Freeman should be happy to have Black History Month, but I can understand his view.
To me, Black History should remain its own separate subject. I understand that African American History plays a huge part in American History. If it is ever integrated into American history, it will be forgotten and buried deep into the pages until it is erased. It’s like going into a book store looking for an urban fiction novel, but instead of having an African American fiction section, you now have to browse around the whole entire American fiction section to find that book. You will be searching for quite a while.
Some might ask why there is not a white history month. There is no white history month because a lot of accomplishments that whites make are acknowledged and appreciated everyday, throughout the whole year.
If there was a white history month, it would probably be seen as racist. But would it be racist if white history month is never allowed? That is a difficult question to answer. After all, there is no calendar date to remember the victims of the Holocaust, and that was a mass genocide.
While many still have problems with Black History Month, it is indeed not racist. It is not calling anyone from any race, religion or ethnicity out in any negative manner. Nor is it stereotyping. Black History Month is here to stay.