Thursday, February 2, 2012

Black History Month Rant

Know who this is? Well that's a shame if you don't.

Every year around this time I am hit at least once with a question that almost angers me. “Well why do black people get a month and white people don’t?” First of all I am not the emperor of blackness and I don’t have all the answers so stop asking. What I will say is what I say every year. Black History Month isn’t an indictment of white people or saying black people are better, what it is to me is recognition of some of the Black people who helped in making this country great that let’s face it otherwise would not be taught. Let’s face it history classes most of the time are a wee bit vanilla with the possible exception of mentions of Dr. King, George Washington Carver and Booker T. Washington, history classes are filled with mentions of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Ben Franklin etc, why is it so wrong to recognize the accomplishments of the black community?

But Puma you might be saying, what about the other groups who have contributed? Where are their months? Right here:
National Hispanic Heritage Month - September 15 - October 15
American Indian Heritage Month - November 1 - 30
National Women's History Month - March 1 - 31
Asian Pacific American Heritage Month - May 1 - 31

Oh boy sure looks fair to the Puma. Boy this seems downright fair. A diverse history lesson spread out across the year so kids see that people like Thomas Edison weren’t the only ones doing shit back in the day. When I was growing up I was taught that people like Christopher Columbus were great explorers. Never knowing he was just a guy that was looking for the West Indies and ended up in Boston. I should have also learned about Matthew Henson. Who is Matthew Henson?

He was a black explorer who actually got to where he INTENDED to go. You see Henson went all the way to the FUCKING NORTH POLE! Who knows how many children he could have inspired if he was actually taught in schools.

The point is, when it comes to history there is plenty of room to accurately show those who shaped this country. It would be nice if while growing up I was taught more about people who looked like me at least once. A full view of history would help to inspire an entire generation of kids who just haven’t been inspired by people with whom they feel no connection.

I was lucky. I had a mom and older sisters who helped pique my curiosity which led me to seek these heroes out on my own. It made me a better person and I only hope that this curiosity to seek out knowledge won’t become just another thing of the past.

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