The advent of Black History Month brings both excitement and anxiety, as we do our best to responsibly remember the contributions of blacks in America and field off annual commentary meant to cheapen the 28 days set aside for uplifting black communities.
And with some American citizens’ well-intentioned quest to make this nation “post-racial,” that commentary is sure to come.
In 2014, Black History Month may seem obsolete — after all, post-racial America will likely point out that we have a black president and anything designated to highlight the successes of any one race can be seen as divisive. But if we take into account why Dr. Carter G. Woodson created Negro History Week in 1926 (turned month because of its popularity), you’ll understand why we still need to honor it.
The purpose? To ensure the intellectual survival of the African diaspora by highlighting contributions and history in the face of racial prejudice.
And if current events are any indication (or the fact that the month has been diluted to a few MLK quotes, an inaccurate account of Rosa Park’s activism and a few facts about George Washington Carver’s peanuts), Black History Month still has a job to do.
In short, it’s essential to continue the celebration for the preservation of black culture so that our narratives are told authentically. Not like this:
But just in case that plea wasn’t enough to convince you how important the next 28 days will be, here are a few reasons you might want to take this time to educate yourself:
Because this is still acceptable behavior in America:
We’ve already done the job of explaining the hurtful history behind blackface for you, so if you’re interested, click here.
Because someone looked at this as only art, and didn’t think it would offend anyone:
Because Martin Luther King, Jr. is celebrated in this horrific way:
Because somewhere in America, all black people are poor and clearly a monolith:
Because MLK has been reduced to a pose for a selfie:
Because everyone knows Dr. King had a dream…but not much else:
Because Madonna clearly doesn’t understand the history behind this word:
Because it’s 2014 and we’ve updated some things:
Because clearly we need to set the record straight for TMZ:
Because members of the GOP need a lesson on when racism ended (and Rosa Parks’ role in the civil rights movement):
Because refusing to observe Black History Month, therefore invalidating the storied past of blacks in America, well…
If not racist, it’s just rude. Don’t be rude. Celebrate the times, come on.
SOURCE: Reddit, Twitter, BecauseOfThemWeCan, Instagram