Black History Month is here...again. And again, along with the posts, commercials and discussions about Martin, Malcolm, Marcus, Harriet, Sojourner, and Madame CJ Walker...there is...outrage?
Yes. Outrage at another "entitlement" given to Black people who need to just get over "it" already. Interesting that we haven't "gotten over" the Revolutionary War "already"...we celebrate that victory every year. Of course, we don't see remembering the independence of this country as some inability to let go of the past. We celebrate the wisdom and bravery of those who fought to end oppression. But, maybe I'm misunderstanding the argument.
Mayyyybe the argument is "the Irish/Italians/Asians/Native Americans/insert oppressed" were also mistreated. Why do Black people act like they're the only ones? Well...the Irish-American Heritage Month exists One for the Irish as does Asian American/Pacific Island Heritage Month Shout Out to the AAPA crew! Same goes for every ethnicity that exists in America. In fact, several states even observe Confederate History Month The South Shall Rise Again? and yet...most of the "divisive" arguments are about Black History Month.
There are a few reasons why people have a problem with Black History Month. All of those reasons are shortsighted reactions. Celebrating the accomplishments of Black people isn't a guilt trip. It's a chance for everyone to see the foolishness in judging people by a partial narrative reinforced by media images that are disproportionately negative. It's important for all of us to recognize that we ALL contributed (and continue to contribute) to this country. History gives perspective. There have been educated, creative, brave, and patriotic Black people since the dawn of this nation. Without Black History, many people would not know they existed.
If you don't believe THAT argument...consider this: many Black people have no idea that the Irish slaves even existed. And while comparing atrocities seems foolish to me ("my broken back is worse than your broken legs" doesn't help either of us move) being aware of oppression of others can lead to empathy. Being unaware can lead to assuming people are being insensitive...or hypersensitive.
Bottom line? History allows us to grow...together. Fighting against Black History Month accomplishes nothing. Embracing it, helps us to appreciate each other in ways that civil rights laws can't. You do what you want...but this year, i'll be celebrating ALL of the history months. Because I'm American...whether anyone else likes it, or not. Waffles!
Felonious Munk is a father, standup comedian, TV news commentator (touchvision.com), prolific tweeter (twitter.com/felonious_munk), and guy who still does the FaceBook thing (Fan Page)