Growing up and attending elementary school, we were always taught about the importance of Black History Month. And I was all for it. We learned about Harriet Tubman, Crispus Attucks, MLK and all the important black people in American history. It was cool, I learned a lot and it was good.
But as the years went on in my life and now I am in my 20s, I start to rethink Black History Month. Is it important anymore? Do we still need it?
This is a tough subject because there are two arguments for it and I am on the fence because I agree with both.
First, let me show you what sparked my desire to write this entry. Check this out.
The basis of this argument comes from two points of view. Why do we still have it? Have we moved on from race consciousness that we don’t need it?
For the longest time, I had accepted that Black History Month existed because of partial guilt to slavery but also as a an attempt to help mend the wounds that racism has done to the country. And I was OK with it. The fact that we as a country were accepting and recognizing black people was fine with me.
But as any non-black person, I wondered where my month was too. When is Chinese History Month? Are my people not important enough to get a month? (Asian Heritage Month is May, but does anyone actually talk about it like it exists?)
Then that struck me. Is this month harmful for our attempt to recognize equality? I’ve always believed that in order to appreciate equality, we can’t single out people. Everyone should be treated equally, no special treatment or recognition. The fact that we have a specific month dedicated to certain people isn’t really equality is it? Unless everyone gets their share, it’s really going the opposite direction of racial equality.
Of course, that’s impossible to dedicate a month to every race because there aren’t enough. People will be left out because of these special months. Wouldn’t it be easier to not have any special months and to treat people equally?
But of course, there is the other argument which I also am on board with. Black History Month is good because it makes us appreciate the uniqueness of every single person. Not only just for blacks, but it gives us an idea that every person is unique and we can’t generalize people.
There is so much knowledge and love that comes from this month. It gives people the starting point early in age to help recognize that people are individuals. Appreciating each other for what makes us different is what makes America so great.
So yes, I am all for anything that does that. And if Black History Month does that, then let’s keep it.
But what do we do now? Which is the best way to look at it?
Are we so far away from our racist ways that we don’t need that reminder every February? Or do we still need it because we haven’t changed much at all?
Maybe I’d see things differently if I was black. But I am not and I don’t know how other black people truly feel about it. I might see it different if Chinese History Month existed. I only wonder what could be and what should be.
Black History Month doesn’t need to exist. But it has every reason to stick around. I’m on the fence here. There’s a good argument for both sides.