Black history tends to be dismissed and marginalized during any month but February. Micro-aggressions can be displayed by educators in classroom settings supposedly designed to teach students of the significance and power of Blackness. Black history shouldn’t be limited to one month.
A small fraction of the year is focused on Black people even though they are a prominent part of American history. That’s what it is, really – American History. Rarely does the discourse of Black history leave the United States.
Black History Month started off as a week-long celebration, so why not prolong it to a year-long celebration?
“In 1925, Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson, known as the 'Father of Black History,' had a bold idea," according to ABC News. "That year, he announced ‘Negro History Week’ – a celebration of a people that many in this country at the time believed had no place in history.”
The week highlighted contributions Black people made and continue to make toward the development of our multicultural society. It was created to educate everyone on true, significant historical events and to act as a foundation for pride in Black heritage.
While Black History Month has continued to aid the education of historical events from a perspective other than the white male, it has also upheld the continued racial segregation in America. Black History Month existing as a single month allows the average privileged person to consume and discuss media written by, about and for white people – 11 months at a time. This shields people from their personal biases and keeps them content with acknowledging Black history for a single month.
This doesn’t mean we should stop celebrating, however.
While it is up to the individual to consciously seek out and consume non-white media, as it tends to be overshadowed, one person is limited in their advocacy for change. We consume media passively in various environments we have no control over. There should be more of an effort made by producers and distributors of media and historical texts (writers, historians and educators) to integrate all multicultural media.
The micro-aggressions, micro-insults and micro-assaults displayed daily, but especially during Black History Month, are part of a larger problem within the National Curriculum for History.
History cannot be showcased in its full glory through any one race – we exist together, always have and always will, and it’s time that was displayed in our books. To avoid further segregation, Black history needs to be celebrated every day.
By MARIYA GONCHARENKO
Featured image courtesy of Summer Smith.