Black history month benefits all of us

William T. Robinson, Jr.

William T. Robinson, Jr.

As we all know the month of February has been set aside to honor Black history. Far too often, we find institutions, businesses and educational venues unwilling to adequately support this month when it comes to acknowledging the achievements and accomplishments of African Americans.

It is with great sadness and disappointment that there exist people who for whatever reasons refuse to or reluctantly refrain from educating and celebrating the history of people of Black ancestry. Only adding insult to injury is the fact that Black history is history and should be inclusive when teaching history, period.

The mere fact that many of our White counterparts feel uncomfortable teaching or acknowledging Black history is troubling and only add to the reality of a deep racial divide existing in this country. Why would a modus operandi exist in which one group trivializes the worth of another except if not to promote an air of superiority? And why would that be necessary unless for ulterior motives to maintain power and control?

Like it or not, if the pure undiluted truth of our nation were revealed, it wouldn’t (for the most part) be a pretty picture when it came to the treatment of African Americans in America. It is one of slavery, Jim Crow, unfair sharecropping, Black codes, discriminatory practices and pure unadulterated racism. Portraying African Americans in a negative light and abstaining from recording their true achievements and accomplishments was a way of minimizing their existence and purpose as true productive Americans.

When you control the media and the publishing of books, you can control the way a group of people are perceived and that is unfortunately the plight of African Americans, making it necessary to have a Black History Month. It is only right that the truth of a long suffering group of people be brought to light so everyone can attest to their significance and contributions to this country and the world.

The lies and fabrications of an older generation of Whites who lived in a society where Blacks were seen as subhuman and irrelevant are dismissed when young people see for themselves the truth of African Americans relevancy and their perseverance. All people (especially other Blacks) are given a better sense of respect and admiration for African Americans when they are exposed to the true picture of the African American’s struggle for equality and freedom. Appreciation for Blacks as a whole is only enhanced when the populace is exposed to the national and worldwide accomplishments and achievement of Blacks in general.

It can be deduced that many White administrators and White teachers do not feel comfortable teaching Black history because it may make their White students feel uncomfortable, especially if they honestly tell the truth of the African American experience in America. Ironically, it seems it is okay for a great number of Black children to walk around with low self-esteem feeling their race is inferior and unproductive when compared to their White counterparts, thus contributing to self-hate.

Parents should be vigilant in making sure that their children’s schools celebrate Black History Month by offering programs and activities recognizing the contributions and achievements of Blacks. It should be a learning experience for all, encouraging a greater appreciation and respect for Blacks, encouraging all Americans to work closer together to fight inequality and racism.

History is what it is, good or bad, and not acknowledging the truth won’t change it. But we can learn from it and go forward to try to correct a lot of wrongs, especially how we view and treat African Americans in this country.

Black history is history and hopefully one day it will be known and accepted by all our citizens, giving them a better appreciation for Black people. We must understand that Black history is a plus for all people interested in attaining and understanding the truth. Diminishing the purpose of this month only feeds the racism that we hope acknowledging Black History Month helps erase. Black History Month is about educating the world to the accomplishments and achievements of a beautiful, resilient people and eradicating untruths fueling racism.