I was reading Womanist Musings this morning and was reminded that it is Black History Month.
The following is all I'm saying about it.
There was a time when I was always excited about Black History month. I would help sometimes decorate the library or whatever classroom but then I think around high school age it wore off.
I realized then that Black history month was not important to my friends. That it was not important to much of my family and finally it just pisses me off.
My issue is that I hate that our (as in all of us Americans) this is our shared history. That there is so much more to know than there was a guy named Martin Luther King Jr, some folks protested, some former slaves wrote some books.
It pisses me off that for the rest of the year when people have plenty of time (and these days if you have the internets you have the access) to learn this history that they just don't bother. And don't even get me started on school curriculum.
I refuse to believe that a month of skimming over the highlights (or lowlights depending on your view) does a fucking thing.
Now, if you want to learn some Black history use the google machine.
So don't wish me a happy Black History month I will not give you a cookie.
Being that this is not just Black history, but American history a month will not suffice. Some collages and decorations are not going to fucking cut it.
Let me tell you a wee story here, here is some Black History.
When I was around 13 years old I heard the name Emmett Till. I'm not sure how I heard his name or where but I remember going to the library to read about him.
I read everything I could get my hands on about this poor murdered boy.
At 13 no one could explain it to me, all I could think about was that in recent history a boy hardly older than myself was murdered and no one did anything about it.
I started to read about more things like this. Public beatings, lynchings, harassment, etc. I had nightmares.
I was afraid to be a Black child in America because I saw the proof that if something happened to me, chances were nobody would do anything about it.
I knew no comfort.
I had family members who were old enough to have lived through Jim Crow. Family members who were still afraid to speak up for themselves in public. Family members who in these Grand Old United States who could not just live their lives because of their skin color.
As I got older, I started to understand that despite changes in law, and this nod to my history, too many people were not doing anything.
While I have lived to see a Black man become president, I also live with people telling me it's no big deal since he's mixed race anyway. I live with people who could give two shits about what it is actually like to be a person of color in this country. Who can't understand how it can mean so much to me to see a face that in some ways reflects my own running this country.
People who have no idea and don't want to know what it's like to be a child and know that there are people who would rather see you dead than give a shit about you based solely on the color of your skin.
Before you wish me a Happy Black History month, ask yourself what do you know about Black History? If it were June instead of February would you bother to know these things?
I'm getting frothy but you get my point.
To sum up, I don't want Black History month. I want Black history right along wide the dead white guy history. I want to open an American History book and find out about Black settlers in the old west. I want to flip to a page about industrialized agriculture and see Granville Woods' name.
I want English, American lit classes etc to cover slave narratives alongside Hemmingway and Willa Cather.
This country has never and will never do Separate but Equal well in any way. I don't want separate history because it's not separate history.
If you are an American, Black history is your history, Asian history is your history. It is OUR history and should be treated thus.
So don't wish me a Happy Black History Month.
Instead, in June pick up a book and learn our history.