Acknowledge Black History Month

By Bridie Beamish

Culture Editor

When thinking about February, many consider it the month of love and soon-to-be discounted chocolates. People flock to Target aisles, gathering up many heart shaped boxes and cuddly teddy bears to romanticize the month. What these individuals fail to acknowledge is Black History Month (BHM), forgetting to recognize this important celebration while getting caught up in the commercialized Valentine’s Day.  

This year marks the 47th official BHM in the United States. There are no excuses for underappreciation of the significance of this month and the remembrance it brings to the impactful people and events that changed the course of Black history. Similarly, there are no reasons not to recognize and support Black success. 

When you choose to minimize the hardships along with the accomplishments of minorities in America, you acquiesce to a racist system and contribute to the problem. The phrase “silence is compliance” is familiar to many, but it is vital to recognize that ignorance is just as dangerous. Failing to educate yourself about the historical struggles of Black citizens and other minorities enables a shield of ignorance that protects you from acknowledging the faults of contemporary society. Furthermore, not recognizing positive contributions made by Black doctors, artists, writers, and politicians enforces White supremacy and the exclusion of Black success. 

 To clarify, ignorance is compliance; it gives consent to the challenges that many still face today, and showcases an unchecked privilege that depicts one’s disconnection from reality and ability to live in a society created for them, not against them. Additionally, ignorance illustrates society’s failure to keep everyone educated about history and its horrors. Further, this creates the possibility of history repeating itself, allowing ignorance to embed systemic racism even deeper into society. 

As many states implement measures that limit the discussion of race in school classrooms, society shows that it is not afraid to conceal its disgraces. Yet, for the teachers who continue to implement Black history curriculum in their classrooms, many fall short of representing a robust African American experience. While numerous schools offer representation, they don’t provide quality texts and curricula supporting Black writers, artists, politicians, etc. Only focusing on the negative aspects of Black history omits positive representation, continuing the ongoing portrayal of White people in an idyllic light and placing them above Black individuals. 

Acknowledging and educating oneself on BHM is one of the best ways to promote awareness. Reading a short article or watching a summarized YouTube video on historical struggles is not enough. It is essential that people respect and acknowledge Black culture and contributions in order to avoid perpetuating White supremacy and systemic racism through their compliant ignorance.

Categories: Opinion

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