Yesterday was the start of Black History Month.
Black History Month (BHM) grew out of one woman's desire to celebrate the life and accomplishments of Frederick Douglass. The month is marked by discussions about the history of black people in North America (BHM is also celebrated in Canada), and our contributions in all aspects of culture and society.
There is a growing discussion in America about the relevance and need for BHM, considering the broad spectrum of achievement in this country. People, black and non-black alike, are now openly questioning the need for this particular celebration.
Unfortunately, whenever people question the efficacy of BHM, there are knee-jerk charges of racism leveled at the person asking the question... unless that person is black, when the labeling of "Uncle Tom", Self-hater, Oreo, etc... starts. I won't speak to that today, though... I have other fish to fry.
One problem that I find with BHM, is the cookie-cutter, watered down, Martin-Luther-King-Jackie-Robinson-Rosa-Parks crap, that all of the kids learn in school these days. They get a few blocks of instruction on these no-doubt influential black people and then that's it. I'm not blaming the schools here, but many parents, and I am talking about black parents here, don't do any more than that.
By now, you probably won't be shocked about where I come down in this argument:
I believe that every month is Black History Month. Black people have been involved in the building of this country since before there was a United States. Like all of the various peoples that were involved in creating what became this nation, black people have held a stake since the very beginning. From Jamestown, where the first African slaves in North America were imported, to the Boston Massacre, to Lexington & Concord, to the 1st Rhode Island Regiment at the Siege of Yorktown. We have served valiantly in all of America's wars. We have worked hard and prospered. Black men have been some of our top military commanders and Senators, members of the House of Representatives, Diplomats, respected clergy, business leaders, Educators, Academics, and authors.
For my part, I believe that if you talk about American History, you are already talking about black history... singling out a single month to celebrate what should be celebrated the year 'round demeans all of the things that we have accomplished throughout our history.
Get out your history books.