We’re quickly approaching the end of another Black History Month, and the conversation surrounding the necessity for Carter G. Woodson’s ode to black excellence is just as intense as it was when we ushered in February four weeks ago.
In short, some people are upset that it still exists. Like this guy:
And this person:
And this other guy, who clearly had no idea Hispanic Heritage Month was a thing:
Idt we need a month to put a light on what black ppl have accomplished cause we dont have white Hispanic or any of that history month
— C Belton (@imthatCB) February 25, 2015
And while there’s an obvious reason why White History Month isn’t a thing (HELLO AMERICAN HISTORY), it seems some still think Black History Month is a ridiculous add-on.
In this Huffington Post article titled “Let’s Get Rid of Black History Month,” Joel Christian Gill wrote:
Well, it is simple. 28 days are not enough, and neither are 29. Black history is American history.
By getting rid of Black History Month, we will no longer allow the rest of them (whoever “they” happen to be) to relegate our history to 28 days out of every 365. If we get rid of Black History Month, it will be our (and I mean everyone’s) responsibility to fill all 365 days with a celebration of our shared history. Our inclusive American history will include the placed, the displaced, the oppressed, the aggrieved and the ignored. It will be a first step in removing the “us versus them” mentality that gets us to choose sides.
This is true. And we agree — to an extent. That’s why we support writer and Twitter user Mikki Kendall’s (Karnythia) viral hashtag, #HistoricPOC. In a Time article, Kendall wrote that she created the hashtag simply “to prove that people of color are part of the past.”
I encouraged fellow users to post pictures of people of color (POC) throughout history. Whether they posted family photos or links to famous images, I wanted there to be an easily accessible visual historic record. It doesn’t matter if someone had any training in history; all that was required were photos and some idea of when they were taken. Users of the tag posted pictures of family members’ celebratory moments, important events and even some of the truly mundane aspects of day-to-day life. All of that history is relevant. All of it is important. All of it is proof that they were there too. We cannot erase the people who lived through the past from the spaces they inhabited, and it is incredibly important not to whitewash the past as that can only lend itself to racist myths about the roles of POC in creating and sustaining society.
Operative word? Erase. Black people continuously fall victim to erasure in American history and it’s important, even in 2015, to remember what role we’ve played in the history of this country and continue to play. And in the middle of what is arguably the largest black liberation movement in recent history, it’s imperative to understand that history and use it as a tool for guidance in our future.
Check out GlobalGrind’s newest episode of The Retweet above to get News & Politics editor Christina Coleman’s take on why, if it’s up to her, Black History Month won’t be going anywhere.
See you next year.
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