Why Black History Month Should be Celebrated and Respected

In the first grade, I remember being taught about the United States’ history—about slavery, Civil Rights figures, and there never being a President of color. I grew up being told, and knowing, there was a very real possibility that, in my lifetime, there may never be a female President or one of color.

Our President is just as much “white” as he is “black.” Though, collectively, the world sees President Obama as a black man. In the south, many view him as just that. He is habitually discredited. Blame Obama this and blame Obama that… Who is this “Obama” you speak of? President Obama is the most powerful individual in the world, he will be remembered until the end of time, and one’s refusal to address him as “President” cannot reverse these facts. During the 2008 election, a classmate said to me, “Do you know what Obama will do with the tax money? Paint the White House black.” President Obama is the epitome of black success, but he is also an example of the world’s racial awareness. Regardless of the magnitude of minority successes in America, the ideas that racism is nonexistent and that racial equality exists are false.  

There are cable channels, awards shows, and months dedicated to particular races and cultures. The celebration of African American culture and history is the most popular, and likely rightfully so. No other group of Americans has endured the depths of systematic oppressions as African Americans. Looking back at the nation’s history, one can conclude that the African American “come up” has been real, but so has been the African American struggle.  

To those who wish to discredit and disregard Black History Month, please consider the following points:

  • It must be nice to not be asked to speak for your race in history class.
  • It must be nice to be favored by media outlets, authoritative figures, and the justice system.
  • It must be nice to not be stereotyped as angry, violent, and underprivileged.
  • It must be nice to know your race won’t be acknowledged when applying for jobs.
  • It must be nice to not feel the need to be better than your peers because of your race.
  • It must be nice to be highly and positively represented in movies and television shows.
  • It must be nice to not be constantly made aware of your race.

Why is there a BET and no WET? Why does there need to be Black History Month? Aside from Tyler Perry’s productions and channels dedicated to minority races/cultures, nearly every show and channel is WET. Two months out of the year, we celebrate black history and Hispanic heritage; every other month in America heavily focuses on white history. Allow those who may feel or have been treated as second-class citizens (and historically as 3/5 of a person) to have their month out of the year. Dismiss ethnocentrism; respect, acknowledge, and celebrate others’ history, successes, and identities.