Repost from an article I did last year
I had an interesting exchange with a friend on the value of celebrating Black History Month. My position: A study of Black History is essential to making us powerful… individually and as a people, while celebrating Black History Month has become a stereotypical caricature attached to Black people, particularly Black Americans, just like eating fried chicken and watermelons.
In my research on the origins of BHM, I learnt that African American educator and historian Carter G. Woodson in 1926 started “Negro History Week”, to be held in the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. His goal was not only to bring attention to the historical contributions of Black Americans in the USA, but he had also hoped that “Negro History Week” would one day be eliminated as black history would one day be a fundamental part of American History.
Today BHM has become at best, another sanitized and anesthetizing commercial enterprise, beneficial to the dominating eurocentric society. This month all throughout America and Canada, you’ll have municipal Mayors and/or Police Chiefs, hold BHM opening ceremonies at City Hall, surrounded by Black political, religious and social leaders… those whom they recognize as “Black” leaders… starting with a prayer from a Black pastor, followed by an empassioned speech from Mayor and/or Police Chief, brimming with civic pride on how their local negroes have
behaved as expected made positive contributions to the community over the years… although historically they suffered and continue to suffer personal insults, as well as institutional discrimination, persecution and injustice at the hands of the city’s “White” elite. They will then have a Black woman from the church choir sing a Negro spiritual, followed by a Black teenager reciting a Black History themed poem, then have little Black children in African costumes perform a dance to an Afro drumming ensemble and finally top it all off with a “soul food” meal, featuring fried chicken and watermelon… fo’ sho’. At the end of this minstrel show ceremony, or at best by the end of the month, everything will return to “normal” and Black people will be regulated back to “their place” in society.
The above scenario will play out all this month, to a greater or lesser degree, throughout Black churches, as well as Black cultural and social organizations, with the customary yearly donning of African clothing and head dress, spirituals, drumming, dances, poetry and culturally inspired soul food meals. Unfortunately celebrating the accomplishments of ancient Black Egyptians one month a year, isn’t empowering us into producing Black mathematicians, physicians, astronomers, engineers, physicists, etc., today. Unfortunately celebrating the accomplishments of Black Americans and Canadians one month a year, isn’t inspiring us to build upon their achievements to create a positive legacy of accomplishments of our own to pass on to the next generation. Instead we are conditioned into idolizing the Black icons marketed to us by the dominating culture, such as Li’l Wayne, Trinidad James, Beyonce, Nicki Minaj, Lebron, Nene, Oprah and Barak Obama.
If we sincerely embraced and utilized the power of Black history in our lives everyday of the year, we would truly understand the enormous historical significance of the irreplaceable afro-futuristic power, potential and accomplishments that the murder of Hadiya Pendleton has denied the Black community… not just for this month, but lost forever… instead of debating the merits of Beyonce’s fake and valueless 2nd Inauguration performance.
“There is no way to understand world history without an understanding of African history.” John Henrik Clarke
An interesting read: Black History Month Has Been an Epic Failure
In light of the all the media buzz about Good Morning America host Robin Roberts publicly announcing her same-sex relationship (here), and in the wake of the Duck Dynasty Phil Robertson controversy (here), I wondered to myself: “why are we as a society so fascinated in who’s f*cking who!?”
There are numerous media outlets, from TMZ to Bossip, which feeds our cravenous appetites for such
information gossip. Although there is nothing constructive, let alone enlightening, by nurturing and feeding this addiction to spy into other people’s lives, celebrities or not, these latest round of media stories did conceive this question for my consideration: “what is more detrimental to the Black community: gay marriage or interracial marriage?”
In an effort to legitimize their cause, one of the arguments proponents for gay marriage use is to compare their struggle to the fight for the legalization of interracial marriage. This is a similar tactic used by those who are fighting for gay rights, to compare it to the (continuing) struggle for civil and human rights of those with black skins. I discussed my feelings on that issue previously: “Is Gay the new Black?”
I recently had this discussion with a friend who was ranting that about how one the main ways the morals of society was being undermined, was by the cultural shift that has become more accepting of homosexuals. We’ve also had numerous discussions on a variety of strategies to empower the Black community. We both agree that everything starts with the Black family. Ironically, this is a black man who is married to a white woman.
Me: How many gay couples do you know?
Him: A couple maybe
Me: How many black people do you know who are in interracial relationships?
Him: Too many to count
Me: What more undermines the development of the Black family and the progress of the Black community: gay marriage or interracial marriage?”
Regardless of my personal and political beliefs on gay and interracial marriage, both in their owns ways, undermines the development of a strong Black family, which is the foundation of a strong Black community. However, the latter being more prevalent and acceptable, makes it more detrimental to the progress of the Black community.
What we need to do as a people is not spend our time and energy focussing on “who’s zoomin’ whom”, but on building, nurturing and developing, positive, respectful, life affirming relationships among and between black men and women, so as to lay a solid foundation of the Black family, upon which the Black community can firmly stand.
“Family, is it politically incorrect for a Black man to say that Black men should marry Black women and that we should be deeply concerned about the effeminization of the Black male? Is it strange to be alarmed about the erosion of whatever values our communities once possessed that held those communities together even in the worst of times? If so, I suppose that I stand on the outside looking in. When I see so many prominent Black men sporting non-Black women on their side and see a strong looking Black man in a dress with high heels and curlers, to me it is a cause of disgust and alarm. And I am not shy about saying it. Is that what our Ancestors survived enslavement and colonization for? My god, what is happening to us?” Runoko Rashidi