It’s finally here! BLACK. HISTORY. MONTH.
And while many people in the world are rejoicing with us as we share this magnificent time that has been set aside for us to honor where we come from, there are still many people who wonder why this is important.
Why do you have to make everything all about race?
How would you feel if we had a White History Month?
I don’t see color. Why should you?
This message, my friends, is for you!
The need for black people to assimilate, often comes at the expense of our own culture. What white people have the privilege to overlook, is that the dominant culture in America often dismisses Black Culture, whether they intend to or not. It’s done subconsciously, and if not carefully addressed, it cannot be corrected, because well-meaning white people do not even know it’s there. It’s similar to when a spouse emotionally abuses their partner by saying that “they’re too sensitive” when they complain, or when they ignore the needs of their child because, ” they’re just looking for attention.” In reality, everyone wants to feel special, visible, supported, and validated and Black History Month gives us an opportunity to experience that.
White people get to have the ability to have their culture represent the norm. We don’t. To survive, we often change the way we talk, the way we think, the foods we eat, the clothes we wear, the way we dress, and we modify our values to ensure that we stay “safe” and don’t offend people because the truth is, black people need white people to make it in this society. To the contrary, very few whites need blacks to thrive. When this occurs, many white people, overlook the culturally relevant differences that occur between blacks and whites because blacks have been taught that it’s not welcomed within white society. But don’t be mistaken… just because it’s not welcomed in white society doesn’t mean its not welcomed… we welcome it and are using this month to express that.
We get to honor our own narratives. The media has done a number on Black America and has influenced how not only we see ourselves but how others see us. Black History Month gives us an opportunity to redefine that. Many of us gather among one another to celebrate our history by wearing culturally relevant clothes that remind us of our ancestry, listening to African drums that remind us of our roots, and listening to various speakers about the many black leaders who have paved, and continue to pave the way for us. By redefining the control of the narrative about us, we feel alive and important.
It increases our self-esteem. The media likes to create the impression that blacks are violent and devious. We look forward to having an opportunity to redefine our own blackness in ways that are positive and not inflated or misunderstood. We’d like to be able to remove the oppressive barriers that we feel encapsulated by during the other months of the year and it gives us a sense of value, and self-worth to be able to do so. We’ve learned that we can’t trust others to speak of us accurately but Black History Month provides a resource and tool for us to speak accurately about our own selves.
It reminds us of our resiliency. In a world that often renders us invisible, many of us still wonder and question your own value and self-worth, because our society continues to oppress us. Black men are still getting shot by the police. Black women are still being considered overly promiscuous and lacking of sexual morality. But having a moment to create our own narrative for Black History Month reminds us of what strong and powerful lineage we come from. We look forward to these moments as a source of strength and inspiration to refuel us so that we can continue to function within an oppressive society that would rather ignore the discomfort that comes along with it than acknowledge its presence and do something about it.
Black History Month allows us to honor people who look like us, in a world where we often feel invisible. And that feels good.
You get to do it everyday and no one asks any questions about it. That’s your privilege.
Black people want the basic human rights to do the same.
Happy Black History Month!
Need to talk to someone about this?