Akilah Hughes’ opinion on Black history month.
“We have so much to talk about in Black history month, but the curriculum dictates we talk about Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, George Washington Carver, Eli Whitney, Malcolm X…and you will read slave narratives.. but you won’t hear what all the other things Black people do and have done in this country since its inception”
“We have a month dedicated to Black history which is 8 people but we won’t take the time to break down stereotypes we won’t take the time to analyze the media which says Black people are a certain way, white people can be however they want to be…there’s a different way we can go about it. Black history is American history. Have we gotten to the point where we can teach American history that includes Native Americans and Latinos [and Asians, Eastern Europeans, Pacific Islanders, insert demographics I have not included]?”
Well said, Akilah.
While I I agree with some of her points, I think the idea of Black history month is not a bad one. Narratives especially from people of color and Black people, should not be forgotten. To forget is to disrespect, devalue the lives and experiences of love, pain, death, change of people who were living in societies that they were underprivileged in.
That being said, Why should there be solely ONE MONTH dedicated to Black history?
Too bad most schools teach the curriculum which is the history of White Americans (year round), while selecting only certain narratives such as slave narratives, Trail of tears, Cultural Revolution (omitting important parts and teaching from a skewed Western democratic perspective I might add…don’t even GET me started on how much Asian history and Asian-American history is omitted from the curriculum of schools I have attended).
The picking and choosing of which narratives are desirable (did I mention POLITICALLY APPROPRIATE, fuck politics) to teach in schools usually don’t focus on how people of color have, and are currently contributing to America since it’s inception [in Alikah’s words]? But that’s a whole other omission and another story.
But then, maybe I am putting too much faith in schools. Perhaps one shouldn’t expect them to be places where social ills are cured.
I’m still waiting to see a day when my future children will not live in a racist society or think their own culture inferior due to “whitewashing” and be interested in learning about their ancestors, native language, culture and take pride in their heritage.
Maybe that’s too much to hope for. Or maybe not.