HAPPY BLACK HISTORY MONTH, Y’ALL!
HAPPY BLACK HISTORY MONTH, Y’ALL!
Of course, “ALL LIVES MATTER.”
No one was ever disputing that. They were reminding others that “BLACK LIVES MATTER” ALSO.
Black History Month was never to take away from Caucasian (White) History, which is the main history curriculum in American public schools. Black History Month was established so that the often disenfranchised Black Americans were celebrated and remembered ALSO.
“When there were no academic journals to counter racist scholarship, Dr. Carter G. Woodson created one. When no professional presses would accept materials about African Americans, he founded one.” (National Museum of American History Blog).
The HBU (Historic Black College) exists because before the Civil Rights Movement, the same educational opportunities were not extended to people of color. A place was made for them. For us. Certain organizations were founded to create community were there were none. Safe places for Black people to excel were founded to include Black people in a world that often did not welcome us.
Racism isn’t abolished just because we had ONE Black President. Racism isn’t abolished because we can now sit at the front of the bus instead of the back. And people who never have to deal with racism in terms of their privileges and basic human rights being denied, will not see how prevalent it STILL IS for many of us every single day. Yes, it’s gotten a lot better. But we still have a long way to go.
I was having a discussion recently with a Caucasian woman about what it’s like to be a Black person in a world still not 100 percent accepting of Black people. Not only being a minority, but also being labeled and judged by my skin/hair before I have to chance.
Her argument? She’s a minority when she goes to Black neighborhoods or cities such as Harlem. Ha! Must be nice to have to seek out those places where you’re a minority…or stared at when you walk down the street in Harlem. That’s the ONLY time she could think of feeling out of place. And somehow that ONE moment was equal to every single time I go to the office at work, the grocery store, the gas station, the library, the post office, and several places that I cannot avoid if I wish to survive in America.
When you have the option to choose whether or not you’re around people that don’t look like you, you don’t know what it’s like to be ‘othered’ in instances where you walk in and everyone that doesn’t look like you stares, EVERY SINGLE DAY.
Some people who aren’t of color are dismissive to these happenings when you try to explain your experiences.
“It’s all in your head. You’re imagining that.”
I know the difference. I’ve lived in this skin my entire life.
We as humans don’t have to pay attention to things that don’t directly affect us, unless we are empathetic people or perceptive enough to ‘get it’.
For instance, I have dark brown hair. I may not notice the lack of red hair products at the hair store. I don’t notice because it doesn’t affect me.
Another example, being an able bodied person, I may not notice the lack of handicap access at certain places or how inconvenient it is to be different in that way.
Another example, a movie is just a movie until it has more Black people than White people. Then suddenly, it’s not the standard. It’s a ‘BLACK MOVIE’. Why can’t both just be a movie? Why does putting Black people in it change it’s demographic entirely? Ever noticed that? That label often deters support from people who are not a person of color.
I cannot be the voice of all Black people. No one can. But when I’m the only one in the room which is often… it’s expected and annoying.
We need more representation in movies, entertainment, media, etc. We need to not be labeled as aggressive, thugs, and criminals all the time as the media would like. Black person does something wrong, the headline reads, “Unemployed Thug, killed neighbor… blah blah blah.” White person does something wrong, the headline reads that he was loved by the community and going through a hard time. Look at any of these mass shooter headlines across America. It’s so sad how we’re stereotyped and treated for something we had no control over that laughing is the only way to cope. Hahahaha!
It seems the only time most of the country celebrates Black people is when we’re entertaining them.
Last month I attended a Black Women’s Brunch on the same day that the Women’s march was being held in Las Vegas. I was told that some of the Black leaders wanted to be on the board at the women’s march, but weren’t invited until the last minute. So they made their own event. I’ve never been in a room filled with so many inclusive and welcoming women of all shades and hair textures.
We embraced our differences, shared our experiences, and talked about the difficulties we still face by looking ‘different’. It’s going to take ALL OF US to make changes come to light. Those of you who claim to support women’s rights, are you including women of color or solely those that look like you?
Black people are human too. We are kind, intelligent, powerful, strong, resilient, talented, funny, amazing, creative, and innovative. America was BUILT on their suffering along with the Natives.
Personally, I’m not looking to fit in with people that don’t accept me. Whether they are Black, White, or Blue. I want to feel safe. I want to know that if I am more qualified than someone who is not Black, that I have an equal chance and won’t be overlooked because of my skin tone. I want to know that I have equal access. Equal opportunity despite what I look like to people who don’t look like me.
Furthermore, can we as Black people stop shaming other Black people for having interests, friends, or an upbringing that wasn’t predominantly Black? So you’re BLACKER because you went to a HBU when the next person could only afford a local university in their hometown? Does being Black have to be a competition amongst Black people? Is the light skinned Black person less BLACK than the one with deep melanin in their skin? If a racist leader put those two competitive individuals side by side to prepare for hanging… he’s not going to swing the noose and ask who went to an HBU or who had more Black friends. You’re both going to be just as BLACK to him. 🙂
And to the non people of color who went somewhere one time where they were surrounded by people that did not look like them: You had to be uncomfortable for 10 minutes one time. We go through this shit every fucking day.
Happy Black History Month. Now celebrate and support someone or something BLACK. Instead of just saying, “I have a Black friend.”
With love, Your Black friend.