Dear Students, Faculty and All,
As we begin to up our game and dive further and further into this semester, we must not forget about February.February is an important month: Black History Month.
The very fact that Black History Month exists makes a lot of people uncomfortable and sometimes outright hostile. African Americans have a complex history in this country that they did not have any control over.
Part of the significance of Black History Month is to help the Black community remember where they come from, and to provide an opportunity to teach the rest of America, and the world, about tolerance towards Black people.
Black people are a displaced people, and they experience diaspora constantly as they try to discover their identities and how they fit in America. Black History Month is an opportunity to help towards coping with this fact.
A lot of Black people are deprived of learning about their history because Western World education usually takes precedence; it is believed to be more refined and “universal.” This should not deter anyone from learning about Black History (especially outside of the month of February) because it is a rich history full of discovery, innovation and advancements in the world.
Black people have a unique way of looking at the world from their roots in Africa and influences across the world, and African Americans specifically display a particular strength and sense of community because of all of the challenges and injustices they have had to overcome.
Slavery was an institution of oppression. Whether or not you believe Black people should have gotten over it by now is irrelevant, because Black people have not. It is an extremely painful side to their history.
Have some compassion. As we argue back and forth about whether or not we should be politically correct, we should always be emotionally correct and remember that human beings live different and yet very similar experiences.
Remember to look for the humanity in everyone, even the people you may disagree with (I know it is hard, but it is still a must towards great change). Recognize that Jim Crow laws were a form of keeping Black individuals as second-class citizens. If you are incapable of understanding that part of history, then there is a wonderful opportunity to educate yourself or find some assistance in doing so, and it is called Black History Month.
The most important reason to participate and take advantage of the awesome and amazing opportunity to learn as much as you can during Black History Month is to help you understand why so many African Americans are protesting right now. It will help you understand why Americans are deeming this country to be under a new Jim Crow with the mass incarceration system.
You cannot have an honest, productive dialogue about the state that African Americans are in without having knowledge that is not racially biased to back up your statements.
You will not get listening and understanding ears; you will only receive anger and hostility. African Americans must learn to remember to listen at the end of the day, no matter how difficult and painful it may be.
It is difficult when a whole people have been through so much and are forced to continue to go through more. Prevailing through justice and love is the ultimate goal, and we must all remain optimistic and continue to work together to reach that goal.
Challenge yourself to do more during Black History Month if you care about this country.
Remember it’s not only knowledge that’s important, but active participation as well.
A Voice That Matters
(A young Black woman)