My Obligatory Black History Month Article

 

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"You're going to relegate my history to a month? I don't want a Black history month. Black history is American history." -Morgan Freeman

 

I really didn't want to do this. I really didn't. I spent the month of February agonizing over whether I should write an article. I just want to be vulnerable for a second. At Regent University, most of the population is white, indisputable fact, and I am not. I'm from the D.C. Metro Area, practically ten minutes out of D.C. and I really miss home during Black History Month.

 

At home, I don't feel obligated to keep retelling the same story every year, publishing articles and trying to get people to care. Everyone knows the same history. We all grew up watching Our Friend Martin every year, singing "Lift Every Voice and Sing," and honoring an African American who contributed to our society every day. Here at Regent, I feel like I have to. I must keep reminding people of the issues black people face. I must always publicly make a spectacle of black history. And most of all, I must keep reminding myself.

 

Honestly, it's scary how easy it is to forget. Last year, it hadn't occurred to me how long it had been since I had remembered the sacrifices of those that came before me. At my current predominantly white church, they had one of the worship leaders sing the anthem. I cried. I hadn't heard the song since high school and I had honestly forgotten about it. What is even weirder is that not many people in my church knew of the song at all.

 

Confused when I shouted a "yes" with a little too much vocal, some people turned to me. "Do you know this song?" They asked. I looked at them with wide eyes and raised eyebrows. "Yes? Don't you?" It was a serious culture shock for me to find that not many non-colored people knew the song that I had been taught to sing since kindergarten. Every year. Every day of the month of February. We were taught to believe this is the song of my ancestors and we sang it in both remembrance and rejoicing.

 

Because of this experience and many others that reveal the ignorance of white people to the problems that people of different ethnicities face, I found myself taking up the mantle of the one who must teach black history and culture. But I don't have to be that. The thing is, it's not my job to make people care. People will care about what they want to care about.

 

They'll share what's going on in their lives, funny or heartfelt videos, and even dead memes. With the world wide web at our fingertips, it doesn't make sense why I should have to prechew black history for others. If you want to know, you can research it on your own. If you care, you can share.

 

It's simply appalling how little people care about other people, but that's exactly why I'm putting the mantle of "black people educator" down and I don't care if other black people come at me sideways and say I'm a traitor or I'm "switching sides." I care about more than just black history. I care about black people. I care about all people of color. I care about all people. The cultures and backgrounds of other ethnicities should not be bound to a month. We should seek to learn about them all the time instead of staying in our pristine, well-organized, and familiar bubbles.

 

And so here is my obligatory Black History Month article. I hope that you all will find your own ways to celebrate and commemorate our victories and the battle that still goes on.

 

Educate yourself, it's not my job.