Black History Month: Let’s Talk About It

By Gina Bompiedi

While Black History Month is officially over, and we are now transitioning into Women’s History Month, I still wanted to take some time to explore the notion of Black History Month and why we should take more time to acknowledge and understand it. Even though the month itself is over, its message remains timeless.

. . .

February. The shortest month of the year, also the month where an entire collection of people’s history is crammed into the confines of 28 (or if we’re lucky, 29) days. While I could hypothetically debate the pros and cons of having a Black History Month, it seemed to me to be much more effective and beneficial to debunk some of the common rebuttals against the acknowledgment of black history month.

“Why isn’t there a white history month?”

There are 2 issues with this logic. One, all history (that is taught in the Western curriculum) is white history. It’s a fact. To deny the Eurocentrism of our curriculum would be a silly as denying the existence of the sun. Sure, we can often overlook this and take this reality for granted and without question, but it is important for us to understand that the United States would be nothing like it is now without the hundreds of thousands of contributions and changes made by minority groups. Secondly, if you really wanted a white history month to counterbalance any sort of black “favoritism” then be willing to also accept and acknowledge history months of other minority groups. We can no longer ignore and marginalize Asian Americans, Native Americans, Latinos and Hispanics, Pacific Islanders, and many more.

“You have an entire month for your people. What more do you want?”

Respect. Acknowledgement. Appreciation. To be treated with the same fairness and dignity as any other human being. That’s what everyone wants. Yet they don’t get it. Again and again blacks are discriminated against, overlooked, and silenced. If you don’t understand this or are hesitant to believe it, then please look more skeptically into the fabric of our everyday lives. And if you wish to belittle someone to the point where they only have 27 days to validate their own identity and history, then I think you really need to reevaluate your actions.

I am not making these arguments to be obnoxious nor aggressive, though some may interpret it that way. What I am merely trying to stress is that the American history curriculum is significantly incomplete of the bigger picture, and it’s time we realize that.