Friday, March 02, 2012

Fed Up Friday - No More Black History Month For Me

I have decided not to celebrate Black History Month again. At least not the way that most people celebrate it. I have grown weary of the same information, the same pictures, same speeches, same everything; I am not participating anymore. I am not sure who is responsible for teaching us that Black History Month is for the celebration of the same six people every year... or that Black History Month should only highlight the victimization of the entire Black race, but I am not buying it! Listen, you can take the Big 6- Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, Oprah, Maya Angelou and Marcus Garvey (if you are fancy) and have a long sit down, in the corner, because I am ready for other Blacks to be showcased in a month that is supposed to be the uplifting/praise of a race of people that helped build the country that we live in- flaws and all. People are going to be pissed, yeah, I know. Somebody, right now, is shaking their head and thinking "No this bitch did not say that Malcolm X can go sit down... she must be crazy" and maybe I am. But tell me, really, how long are we going to pretend that Black people have only made a difference in slave revolts and the Civil Rights Movement? Am I to conclude that an entire race of people have not contributed anything except militancy and civil disobedience? We have nothing else to show for ourselves except being victims of a system that has set out to destroy us? We have NO ONE else to serve as examples besides the six people named above? Well, and the President... he is half Black. Nothing? We have given nothing else to this country in 400+ years except one President, a billionaire who talks on TV, slaves who revolted and people who staged marches and bus boycotts? 

Clearly, that is not all we have done. If it were then I would close my eyes and, like many of you, join the herd of sheep that learn these few names each year and be satisfied. I am not satisfied and you shouldn't be either. You should not rest easy with the fact that your children are being taught the same things that you were taught... and nothing else. You should want and DEMAND that they learn more. Our kids should be learning about other contributions; the rich history that courses through the veins of the Black people they see today. Their knowledge should EXCEED yours, not just barely meet it. 

I am done "celebrating" with y'all because you stopped learning about other Black people (besides the big 6) so that you could catch "Linsanity." I am done because instead of celebrating the lives that we lost in February (namely Whitney and Don Cornelius), some of us reenacted crabs in a bucket, dragging everyone down and making remarks that would only serve to make us look better than the dead. Don't believe me? GO back on your facebook timeline and see what you talked about after Jeremy Lin's second big game. What did you post after Whitney was found dead? Then, what did you post about Black History Month after that?

I am done celebrating with people who don't know who Jessie Fauset is. I need you to know who Charles Drew is and why what he did in in the 30s and 40s is saving lives right now. I want to be able to hold a conversation with you about the life and times of BK Bruce and how he (and people like him) helped plow an avenue for our current President. Chicago people MIGHT know, but I need all of us to recognize and revere the name Jean-Baptiste Point duSable. How about Sarah Goode, are you familiar with her? Mae Jemison? Garrett Morgan? William Still? Thomas Jennings? Granville T. Woods? Percy Julian? 

Well, I'll be damned. You mean we aren't all shucking and jiving, illiterate, slaves running for freedom in the middle of the night? We aren't all victims of circumstance? We aren't all waiting to be saved? We aren't all waiting for the reemergence of another MLKJr type? Some of those people mentioned above created things that we use every day. Some of those people are Chicagoans, Ohioans, next door neighbors, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers and, sadly, they will eventually be forgotten. Forgotten because we have become too complacent to make sure that our children know more than MLK and Malcolm X. More than "I have a dream," more than the Black Panther Party, the 1960s civil unrest, the slavery revolts. 

So come next February-- I am doing nothing out of the ordinary. I won't be changing my facebook page every day to reflect another picture of Martin Luther King Jr and his stint in jail in Birmingham. Or Malcolm X on that fateful day in NYC, or Rosa Parks staring longingly out of a bus window. I am not doing it for y'all. My plan is to learn all that I can, every day, about Black History. About American History. So you can have the 28 days of February and your same six people. I'll take 365 days and as many Americans as I can fit into that. My suggestion would be for you to follow suit.  


Quiana said...

Did you watch this documentary? I think you'd find it interesting.

Miss Mox said...

I did watch! It was interesting. He and I have come to different conclusions but it was interesting to see his process.

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