Tuesday, February 3, 2009

No More Black History Month?

I read a great editorial about ending Black History Month. Here is the link:
http://freep.com/article/20090201/COL10/90201021/Now+s+the+time+to+end+Black+History+Month

Here is a copy if the link doesn't work.

I'm curious what you think!


BY ROCHELLE RILEY • FREE PRESS COLUMNIST • February 2, 2009


Today, at the beginning of Black History Month, I propose an end to Black History Month.


I propose that, from this day forward, we stop telling the tale of two Americas and instead document and celebrate the full and storied, multicultural and multidimensional story that is America in all of its colors, geographies and passions, in all of its ups, downs and exhortations.
I propose that, for the first time in American history, this country has reached a point where we can stop celebrating separately, stop learning separately, stop being American separately. We have reached a point where most Americans want to gain a larger understanding of the people they have not known, customs they have not known, traditions they have not known.
I propose that this month, 142 years after Congress passed the Reconstruction Acts of 1867 that allowed for the Southern states to be readmitted to the Union, we adopt our own personal reconstruction goals to admit into our lives people who are different, people whose origins differ from ours, people who can teach us so much if we listen.
I propose that this month, we become not the America of Rush Limbaugh or the America of Al Franken, but to become an America where all opinions matter and hope trumps hate.
I propose that this February, we become not an America of black or white or Hispanic or Asian, but an America of black and white and Hispanic and Asian, an America where each of those heritages is a mandatory part of school curriculums.
We don't need more amendments to the U.S. Constitution; we need more amendments to our own personal behaviors, beginning with changing how we treat one another.
We cannot complain about how those outside America treat us if we treat one another worse.
So this Black History Month, 139 years after Congress granted black men the right to vote, 89 years after Congress granted women the right to vote, we can vote to no longer be a fragmented nation.
This Black History Month, we can do more than imagined to honor Dr. Carter G. Woodson, the son of former slaves who is credited with founding Black History Month.
We can do what he wanted and accept American history is the history of all Americans.
We can appreciate that, in response to history textbooks ignoring the story of black Americans, he established the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, created the association's Journal of Negro History and founded Negro History Week.
That was 83 years ago, and I applaud Woodson for asserting, in his words, that "the achievements of the Negro properly set forth will crown him as a factor in early human progress and a maker of modern civilization."
It was 33 years ago that Negro History Week became Black History Month.
It is now time that American history be American history every day, that Americans be Americans all the time and that we stop learning and living and celebrating separately.
I propose that we adopt our own rules to usher in a Second Reconstruction, and through our acts, unite a nation that is closer than it has ever been.
Today, in honor of black history, which is American history, I propose that Black History Month be no more.


Contact ROCHELLE RILEY at 313-223-4473 or rriley99@freepress.com.

7 comments:

Living on the Spit said...

I have pros and cons concerning this article.

I fully agree with this statement:

"We can do what he wanted and accept American history is the history of all Americans." I believe that we should not be divided any longer, but maybe change the month to influential Americans month.

On the flip side, I have learned about so many wonderful Americans during the course of African-American history month. This may never have occurred had it not been for this special designation.

Mental P Mama said...

A very interesting idea.

McEwens said...

I dunno, I always liked Black History month. But I guess if we keep focusing on the color we enforce the idea we are somehow different? INteresting

Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

Very Intersting article. I ditto Marlene.

Treasia said...

Very interesting. I personally think it would be a good idea as well.

pam said...

I have always wondered how our country would react if we celebrated "White History Month." If the idea is we are all created equal, then celebrate the accomplishments of individuals.
Every group in this country faced hardship. We are a melting pot. We all have a story. That story should be the American story. Individual chapters will of course reflect certain trials. But to devote a month to say that one group had a more difficult time than another, always seemed counter productive to me. I know the goal is to celebrate what Blacks have done, but so much seems to dwell on how a certain aspect of society was somehow held back. On a global scale, society as a whole, I am reminded not of the color of skin but of what is inside each of us, and through the eyes of God we are not a body but a soul. That soul has no color. We are the same. I always felt that Black History Month did little more than remind people of the very thing discrimination promotes.
The great thing about our country is we are free to celebrate anything we wish. Well, almost anything. Again, what would happen if a group of white people decided to run "white history" specials on PBS all month long? It's often a double standard. Some people might assume that they would somehow be against blacks. But yet, are black history promoters against whites? No. We all can celebrate the race we are without dwelling on it. Inside, we are exactly the same.
Prime example, the RNC elects a man who has been in the ranks of leadership for years to head the party. Everyone assumes it's because of Obama! Umm, people need to realize, this man was simply qualified and has been preparing for this job for years. Headlines read "RNC elects first black chair!" I wish the headlines would have simply read, "RNC elects longtime supporter Michael Steele." Everything doesn't HAVE to be about skin color! Most of the good Americans I know, know this.

Anonymous said...

If I could write I would ditto what Pam said...not everything is about color. It's an interesting idea and interesting article.

JoJo