I didn’t get to finish this post. Sorry!!!! So the end of this is supposed to be - YES! We need BHM but I look forward to the day when Black History is just considered American history. The truth is you cannot tell the story of America with black history. They are the same thing. I wish we could appreciate it as such.
Is Black History Month (BHM) racist? Is it divisive? Has it outlived its purpose?
I get asked these questions a lot in my line of work. When I first started out in this business I felt very adamant about BHM being used more as a bludgeon than an education tool in modern times. I didn't care for the accusatory tone it had taken on in some sectors. I love being Black and I'm happy to celebrate my brothers and sisters across time, but I didn't love the almost smug tone some pundits adopted when extolling the virtues of BHM. It definitely felt divisive to me.
As time went on (and particularly as motherhood went on) I took a softer approach to the issue. To be honest, what happened was a move to California. Here, Black history takes a back seat to trans history, gay history, women's history, LatinX trans gay women's history...all the "buzzword" histories of the day. We live in a county with a very small Black population. When my son came home from school one day during his first BHM here in California, I asked what they were doing to celebrate the month. He was in third grade and his response was, "Nothing." I asked if there were any bulletin boards with pictures of important Black historical figures, or any school assemblies or plays coming up? Did they even talk about it in class? No. The answer was no.
That's because somehow the LGBT community has managed to usurp BHM and make March Gay History Month. So no Harriet Tubman, but the kids sure as hell have to read about Harvey Milk every February in this state.
I found myself shocked and deeply offended. I was surprised at the level of my own annoyance, but what I was reacting to was the complete erasure of Black history-makers at the expense of sexuality. My son, the only Black child in his class, was given no opportunities to celebrate his own racial identity in a month dedicated to such a thing, but he was expected to celebrate more recent political figures because of how they have sex. It infuriated me.
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What an awesome story!