Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Time for My Annual February Rant

It’s that special time of year again. Each February scores of newspapers, magazines, television networks and big-name corporations revel for 28 days (29 days in leap years) in sharing with the rest of us the exploits and triumphs throughout history of people of color. Yes, the proverbial Black History Month.

I simply detest it!

Now my problem has nothing to do with the desire to trivialize the contributions made by blacks to American and world history. It also has nothing to do with the bigoted and asinine complaint of reverse discrimination – “Well, we don’t celebrate White History Month.”

No, my anger with Black History Month concerns the fact that we as a society still need to designate a particular time period to recognize the contributions of an important segment of our population. Just the act of reserving February to celebrate one particular ethnic group tells us that we have a long, long way to go before we realize the American ideal of the melting pot.

The goal of this annual designation trivializes the very thing it seeks to promote. By reserving one month – the shortest one at that – for the recounting of these important stories and events, it allows the vast majority not to have to think about blacks the other 11 months of the year.

It’s very similar to the way most people participate in our political process. For the majority of the year, most people don’t give a hoot about anything political. Accidentally say the word politics at a family gathering or around the office water cooler and most people will immediately change the subject or briskly move away from you.

This all changes come October. Now, all of a sudden, every single conversation is about all things political. People talk and talk and talk. Then they vote. As soon as their votes are cast, they don’t want to hear the word politics again.

Too many people follow this same formula for Black History Month. Before or after February, the accomplishments of blacks just aren’t important – Who cares? Accidentally mention race relations or something of that ilk and nobody wants to talk to you. However, during the wonderful days of February, far too many whites try to absolve their guilt, for the rest of the year, by engaging in a media and corporate orgy celebrating all things black.

The best way I know to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of our black brothers and sisters is to acknowledge them 365 days per year. Further, such acts should not be viewed solely as black accomplishments but as human ones.

Every month is White History Month – It should be the same for Black History Month too!

2 comments:

  1. People like you simply perpetuate racism with words like this that continue to cause division.

    I see no boundaries between black and white – you do. I believe every person, no matter their outward appearance, has the same potential as every one else. How a person succeeds depends on what their goals are. If they are to whine and complain then they won’t get far.

    Somehow I feel you haven’t got far with your own life, have you Trey?

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  2. anybody who doesn't see divisions between black and white isn't looking very hard.

    everyone may have the same potential, but everyone doesn't have equal opportunity. when the playing field is level, then you can talk about success being dependent on goals, einstein.

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