Black history month… Myth put to the test…
As the month of February draws to a close, the spirit of the month is examined. February is indeed called “Black History” month. The seemingly vague description implies so much. It provides some answers but creates more answers than it has the ability to answer.
For starters, what is Black History? Who are we defining as Black? How far back are we honoring those people’s history? If every aboriginal man on every piece of of Native land across this earth was of darker flesh, than who’s history are we really celebration?
I have a brief anecdote that may shed some light to some of these questions.
A good friend of mine, who I will call Richard Feltington, for the sake of the story, works for a government agency. At the beginning of February he noticed that he, as well as other people of brown hue, was added to an email list inviting him to various “Black History” celebrations. And rightfully so, he felt uncomfortable. For whatever reason he didn’t feel the need to be singled out on a list and had no idea what they were celebrating. He decided to pass on the majority of the events, until it was pointed out by a coworker that he had not attended a single event. So he decided to attend the next function which happened to be a pot luck. Apparently everyone in the office was looking forward to attending the celebration because he over heard everyone clambering about what they were going to bring to the pot luck. He overheard a middle aged white lady saying ” I’m gonna google a good southern fried chicken recipe to bring to the pot luck”, apparently this is appropriate food for the function– understandable. Any whoo, the day of the function Mr. Feltington walks in and immediately sees an Asian man with his eyes closed, bopping his head back and forth, vibing to a “Negro Spiritual”. Although he wa slightly put off, Mr. Feltington proceeded to the food and took notice of all the deep fried foods, greens, cornbread etc. Mr. Feltington did not just eat one plate but went back up for seconds and thirds.
This story gives insight as to the typical American’s mindset towards “Black History” month and why it goes unrecognized by so many. As history tells us, America was built on the slayings and enslavement of the native copper-man indigenous to to this land. As so many would choose to not to acknowledge this fact remains as a gross family secret no one speaks about, and when spoken about is quickly dismissed as something to “get over” not unlike 911 or “The Holocaust”. Each of which lasted significantly shorter time periods and cost significantly less lives in totality. Yet, I find it ironic that when “Black History” rolls around the only history that is celebrated is that of an enslaved people.
As though America is not so much providing a reminder of the atrocities it has done but celebrating its conquest of the people native to this land and the people brought over from a distant land. Perhaps the month should be entitled to a more accurate description “Enslavement Appreciation” month. Although it lacks PC, it more than makes up for it in accuracy.
Despite the lack of credit, black history reaches far back. Even if you restrict black history to the natives of this land it reaches far back. It definitely does not begin with American slavery. From a descendant of the enslaved I see that as nothing to celebrate, in any fashion or sense. As a conquered people who has assimilated to his conquerers culture, I still see it as nothing to celebrate.
And as a man living among the conquerers, I do see why the month goes seemingly unrecognized. Who in there right mind wants a constant reminder of their ills. Consciously, like I, they have no idea what they are celebrating and on a subconsciously level they have even less desire to celebrate the month– their guilt would not allow it.
I suppose it’s up to the individual to do what they want with the month. My life is a constant reflection upon the creators of the earth and original man. For one month to imply and sum up my history is nothing less than a slap in the mouth. But as a conquered people, beggers can not be choosers. We should be grateful for the titles we are given, and the acknowledgment that we are bestowed. Until next February rolls around….
Happy Black History Month!