Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Is Black History Month Still Relevant in 2022?

I was raised in the South (or, some people consider Texas Southwest) so my upbringing was filled with both some of the most inspiring and miraculous accomplishments of African Americans while also being always reminded of the cruelties and barbaric nature of our country's history from slavery to police brutality today. 

 This duality has shaped my lifelong thoughts on how at any given point, no matter what you are experiencing in life, it can be both amazing AND be littered with hardships, some completely outside of your control.
black dancers in hopeful stance
So when I think of Black History through the lens of this viewpoint, I really think it's sad that our American History, which has been so richly shaped by innovations and contributions by African Americans despite such a horrible past, has to be carved out so that those contributions aren't white-washed or lost...or worse, ignored in the name of ensuring that only one race gets credit for the vastness of America's greatness.  

And it has not only been just African Americans. 

The contributions and impact of immigrants in building some of America's greatest and most pioneering products, services and technology can't be ignored because without it's highlight, we'd have to erase the very inventions that have made our modern day American lives brilliant. 

And I don't proclaim to know or understand the divergence of Critical Race Theory because in my world of arts, culture, business and food, there is not the polarizing negativity of race, politics, and religion. Diversity is apart of invigorating discourse of these cultural communities. 

But what I do know is that to not envelop the contributions of all who have made our country the model of hope, we are only telling a segmented part of our history. And unfortunately, the only way to ensure that the full story is told, is to highlight segments along racial lines. Thus, Black History seems to be as needed and prevalent today as it was when first added to America's bicentennial (1976), which, ironically, is close to my age. 

My question is: will there ever be a time when Black History Month will be considered an antiquated idea because, dare I say, full acknowledgment of the full history of America will not be buried, but will be given it's full, truthful spotlight and while parts maybe ugly, what will hopefully overshadow the dark will be the hopeful light of an America of (all) the people for as our Ancestors desired, "We, the People..."

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