After Stacey Dash ruffled many a feather with her statement to Fox viewers "There shouldn't be a black history month," I felt it was my due diligence as a biracial woman and an American to counter her argument with some facts. So here goes: In case you've missed it, Black History Month is a yearly recognition paying homage to the essential individuals and events in the historical backdrop as it pertains to African Americans. It is commended every year in the United States and Canada in February, and the United Kingdom in October.
Let's get right to where this February celebration comes from. It initially started as Negro History Week in 1926. It occurred amid the second week of February since it concurred with the birthdates of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. Harvard-prepared student of history, Carter G. Woodson, is credited with the production of Negro History Week. In 1976, the bicentennial of the United States, President Gerald R. Portage extended the week into an entire month.
Black History Month has been the subject of feedback from both Blacks and individuals of different races. Some contend that it is uncalled for and out of line to dedicate a whole month to a solitary social order (ahem, Stacey Dash). Others battle that we ought to observe Black History all throughout the entire year.
Here are 10 reasons we need a Black History Month:
10 Observing Black History Month Honors The Historic Leaders Of The Black Community
We have so many people to thank for some of the most prized inventions, schools of thought and civil rights. A basic pattern that is easily spotted is how an African-American invention was noted as a White invention instead. During that time, recognizing blacks were unheard of and for that reason there are many unacknowledged African Americans that have shaped the country as we know it. We would be irrational to strip someone of their legacy for simply being black, but that's the kind of injustice African-Americans faced. Observing Black History Month permits us to stop and recall their stories with the goal that we can honor their accomplishments.
9 Observing Black History Month Helps Us Become Better Stewards Of The Privileges We Have
Sometimes it's really hard to appreciate what you've got when all the work has already been done for you. For many African Americans slavery, Jim Crow Laws and many other misfortunes for the Black community was endured just so we could embrace those who believed in the radical notion, at that time, that blacks were equal to whites. As a result of their fight, they were either incarcerated, brutally beaten, or lynched. Only by way of activists and an inner strength was America able to survive this era. The criticalness of the Harlem Renaissance and the Tuskegee Airmen to kids who had never learned of such occasions and the men and ladies who partook in them is astonishing as this is U.S. History. Rather than being breezed over, we should educate our youth so we can eliminate the Stacey Dash mentality.
8 Observing Black History Month Provides an Opportunity To Highlight The Best Of Black History And Culture
Very frequently just the most negative parts of African American society and groups get highlighted. We find out about the destitution rates, detainment rates, and secondary school dropout rates. We are immersed with pictures of rowdy competitors and boorish unscripted television stars as ideal models of accomplishment for Black individuals. Also, we are day by day subject to uncalled generalizations and presumptions from a society that is still figuring out how to acknowledge us.
7 Racism Still Exists
No matter how much we tell ourselves racism is a thing of the past, we can't deny that racism, be it outspoken or passive, still exists today. Many African Americans will be victims of prejudice for the color of their skin in their lifetime. Saying you have a black friend does not mean you can't be a racist, sorry.
6 School To Prison Pipeline
Educational institutions have been the backdrop for segregation until Brown v. Board of Education addressed the state of Kansas' decision was a violation of the 14th amendment. Black girls are 6x more likely to be suspended than white girls for the same offense. But are we aware that we are now making resources nearly impossible for black students to succeed past high school. There is an assumption that black students, particularly those who in poverty are troublesome and by that are treated like adults when they are punished for even the smallest of offenses - like students bringing nail clippers or plastic safety scissors.
5 Police Brutality
We've seen more than enough fatalities in the black community to understand how critical time it is in history to fix institutions that are trained to treat unarmed black people as a threat for tail lights to walking with a hood on. Police have been harrassing and abusing their power for decades and for this reason, many men have been disproportionately incarcerated for the same crimes committed by white people.
4 Because Black History Is Not Just For Black People
Black history month is usually a target for two consumers; School-aged children and black people. Instead, we need Black History Month to inform adults of all races because black history is American History. Many people have their own personal problems with how black topics are breezed through in the shortest calendar month of the year.
3 Black People Were Seen As Disposable
Between 1932 and 1973 400 black men in rural Alabama participated in an "experiment" where syphilis treatment that could have cured them was deliberately withheld, and many of the men were prevented from seeing physicians who could have helped them, leaving each participant blind, ill, or dead. The Tuskegee Syphillis Experiment is the longest nontherapeutic experiment on human beings in medical history. Why did they participate? Doctors and nurses used socio-economical leverage by telling the black participants they would be provided with free healthcare.
2 Claudette Colvin Came Before Rosa Parks
A 15-year-old African American girl in 1955 refused to give up her seat before Rosa did. She was arrested and thrown in jail for this but the NAACP at that time thought Rosa Parks would make a better icon than a teenager. Because there was a sense of assimilation and comfortability that Rosa Parks was middle class, the NAACP felt this was more relatable for people to grasp.
1 Because Of The 12.5 Million Africans Shipped To The New World During The Transatlantic Slave Trade, Fewer Than 388,000 Arrived In The United States
Between 1500-1866 slaves were shipped off, stacked and left for dead with poor living conditions and selfish hopes that their slaves would make farming and living easier. At that time, blacks were seen treated like animals, not people. It took several hundreds of years to finally get their basic human rights.