Why I Didn’t Acknowledge Black History Month

DOES ALL OF OUR HISTORY FIT?

Here’s a post that I neglected to publish back in February because I forgot about it.  It’s August now, but my sentiments are still relevant because black history month is all year long as far as I’m concerned!  My new blog friend P Renee  (I like her name for some reason)  😉 reminded me of this post, so here it is.

This month is our first black history month of the new year and decade 2010.  And 2010 promises to usher us black folks into greater stuff than we ever saw before.  We have our first black president, and a host of other good stuff that I can’t think of right now.  Yet in this black culture blog, I didn’t say a word about Black History Month.  The reason, I think, is that I feel some kinda way about it.  It doesn’t sit well with me for some reason.  I appreciate all that my forebears have done that makes life easier for me as a black woman.  But still this “holiday month” just doesn’t feel right.  I don’t take an interest in my history just because a paragraph and a picture on a poster has been dedicated to a particular black person.  Let me try to put my finger on the reason for this.  I feel patronized, in a word. I feel the same way, even as a grown woman, as I did as a teen about history.  It’s the same to me as if I’m reading a civics book about old George Washington, the greatest American of them all.  BORING!!!!!
I don’t mean to say that I’m not interested in my black history, which connects to American history anyway.
But there is something in my spirit that resists the idea of a month set aside for my history–to be condensed in paragraphs, without getting to the essence of the person being spoken about.  It seems so flat and one-dimensional and far removed from my life.  History is history and we tend to be bored by it. How can we present our history in a way that more engaging?  I don’t know.  Maybe we should link the person in being honored with modern day reality.  How?
We are living our history right now.  Our history is alive, not dead and the way it’s been presented to us over the years doesn’t do enough to connect us to it.  Except for Malcolm and Martin, we dont evoke the spirit of the people we talk about.  Why did they do what they did? What kind of struggles did they endure and how do those struggles speak to us today–what do those struggles teach us about struggling? About perservering? About surviving and even thriving?  How often do we black folks take note of our accomplishments?  And are we able to give ourselves credit, or do we ignore our accomplishments?  Do we learn the lessons of history?  What did our forebears do in times of difficulty? What mistakes did they make and what were the victories?  We have to put the effort into studying what they did so we can learn from them and continue our march forward.  We also cant allow defeatism to enter the picture.
There is alot of work for us yet to do and I believe that we bloggers are the ready pen of our movement! God has given us this voice of power and we ought to use it in creating our history.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. p-renee says:

    Anna, thanks for the shout out and this post!

    Your words couldn’t have said it better– Black History Month is the “condensing” of a culture that is centuries deep and continues to change and develop. And, if we’re truly going to excite and engage everyone in discussing the big issues around our culture our learning needs to be integrated into our lives…not segregated into a mere month.

    I’m excited that writers and advocates like you push this idea and help to lead that bigger movement! Kudos! I’ll be pushing right with you!

    1. Anna Renee says:

      Thanks, Sister! Yes, I truly love my history and culture.

      I love uncovering it. I love digging it out of the dirt of obscurity, shining it up, and presenting it to the adoring black masses of folks, who are hungry for some truth. We know deep inside that we’re not pathological, but we don’t know how to counter the media attacks.

      Well Im here to do my part to counter those attacks! Peace!

  2. James McCoy says:

    This message by Anna was brought to you by McDonald’s in celebration of Black History Month.
    Because the month has been commercialized to the maximum,I too agree it’s a continuation of explotation.

    1. Anna Renee says:

      It’s foul how Budweiser, MacDonalds, Absolut Vodka and all of them are so into black history month, or black culture! And what’s even more foul is that there is ALWAYS some black celebrity who jumps on that train to help with the celebrations.
      I love that clip of Morgan Freeman at P Renee’s blog. He tears a hole in Mike Wallace concerning “Black History Month”!!! It’s hella funny and too true for words!!

      The month that started out as a week should be expanded to a year. That would then fit more with MacDonalds and Budweiser’s year round exploitation, I suppose.

  3. Reggie says:

    Excellent post!!!

  4. I must say thank you for this post, and this blog overall! WE have to take control of our present and our future, and I believe that you are right that bloggers will lead the way, by connecting us with our history. If we can manage to see the connections with our past we can see our way into our future more clearly.

    Mainstream media and popular culture, and history books do everything to blur that connection for us.

    Black history is American history and it needs to be taught and understood everyday.

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