It makes me sick to think that we as a population need to celebrate Black History Month. The only thing that hurts worse are those that ask if this is necessary. Yes motherfucker…it is absolutely necessary. Its people like those who question its necessity that make it so. They are right about one thing though – Racism isn’t a problem in this country. Racists are the problem.
In grammar school we weren’t taught much about black figures throughout the year. We didn’t study much outside the cookie cutter mainstream curriculum. The school didn’t cover any foreign countries with a few exceptions and that was if they were directly involved in some war. We certainly didn’t go over the rich history of Africa or African Americans. If slavery was mentioned it wasn’t discussed in depth. I’m sure we learned about George Washington Carver during Black History month. That has an effect on children and how they view the world.
Overtly and purposefully positioning one race as superior over another is problematic but so is whitewashing history. Its passive aggressive bullshit and its racism 2.0. Racism light. My children are half black. They aren’t exposed to any overt racism. I’m certainly not racist and I don’t ever joke around about race let alone spout racism. I have my doubts that my wife is a black white supremacist. And yet I noticed a pattern developing that he didn’t like black cartoon characters or black people on TV. He didn’t think they were smart or attractive. My wife and I pounced on that quickly and nipped it in the bud and counteract it with exposing our children to as much black culture as we can. We let him watch racially ambiguous cartoons where they are animals, machines and so on but aside from that we stick to either predominantly black cartoons, movies, and shows. I even found real cultured classic and underground hip hop with the curses removed….and they fucking love it. My kids love Immortal Technique and Public Enemy.
A single month’s worth of black history isn’t enough. My children are being immersed in it.
One thing I’ve noticed is that we humans like to distance ourselves from things. We like to place labels on things. One of those labels is racism. As if its a thing in and of itself. People say “racism must be addressed” or “end racism.” I mean sure. It should be addressed and it should end but it won’t end until racist people either change their mind or die. But its people that are the problem. We all need to accept that and address it on a personal and local level. If my friends or family talk some racist nonsense I ask them to stop and if applicable I address what they said.
What are your thoughts on how we could affect change?