Black History Month – I Hate it!

Not really! After writing about progressive causes on this blog you would think that I would be recovered by now. Black history month carries mixed emotions for me. The news is a bit disengenous with it’s portrayl of black folks on TV and other mass media.

I have had white co-workers exclaim, “you have a black president (Obama) you don’t need to celebrate black history! I beg to differ! Until we gain economic parity with our
white counterparts, we need to recognize black history month.

I have republican friends who don’t want to discuss the issue of celebrating black history. Everyone has an opinion about what and how we should celebrate black history. Both Obama and his republican colleagues should try and find middle ground on this sensitve topic.

Political news being what it is, you can’t expect a non biased opinion on the state of black America. The American public would be better served if black history could be embraced by republicans and other concerned citizens who want their land free to do as they see fit! News outlets should support the position that black history is American history. As shameful as some episodes of our history has been that is no reason to throw todays civil rights worker under the bus.

News organizations across the country and the planet are looking for ways to assist readers in finally finding a way to recover from all the propaganda that’s out there. News blogs are chiming in all over the internet and opining about the importance or lack thereof of support for celebrating black history.

While having coffee with a white colleague we discussed the most appropriate way to celebrate black history month. Immediately he was very resistant to discussing anything about the past. I suppose this was an attempt to deny slavery and our governments complicit role in the “peculiar” institution.

There was an attempt to circumvent the past and focus on the present as if the past is not important. I have been having the same tired discussion with this colleague for years. It never changes. My position was we can’t celebrate black history in a way that assuages white guilt for the evil institution and the decades
of Jim Crow that followed.

Finally, we agreed to disagree and decided to get input from a group of black managers who wanted to share the news and the rich history of the black community to our coworkers and peers. News organization, news blogs and other media outlets will put in their two cents about black history and what it should mean to America and it’s future.

You can’t know wher you’re going if you forget where you’ve been or come from. The Jews say, “never again!” I’m all for that, however folks get uncomfortable when black folks talk that way. It seems to much like survile insurrection. Those who don’t learn the lessons of the past are doomed to repeat them! That is more true now than ever before.

Black history isn’t being celebrated to make white folks uncomfortable. It’s being celebrated to connect with our past, our ancestors and a sense of belonging to the “American experiment.” Having a connection to your past or history helps with your self esteem and sense of self worth. News programs and news bloggers seem to miss the mark on this.

Even with all the attempts to connect with our heritage and past. Black Americans are the “bastard” children of America. We are the only group of people with no language, culture or customs from the “old” country. We have made it up as we went along in the great “American experiment.” Talking to friends from Ghana, Nigeria and Liberia, I have often asked, what do you think of African-Americans and our concocted “African” culture e.g. dashikis and the like? They just shake their heads with a grimace and proclaim, you guys are trying so hard.

Bottom line, America could not exist if not for the sacrifices of black Americans. Slave labor gave America a tremendous head start on world domination. News media and news bloggers are quick to ignore that little detail. It is America’s original sin. Thanks to the U.S. constitution we have been able to right some wrongs and offer an entire race redress through the American system.

In conclusion, there is no need for my white brethren to feel guilt or shame. Just acknowlege past wrongs and move forward. And by all means allow us to celebrate Black History as we see fit without censorship to assuage feelings of gulit; Never again!

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