My son and I were on a recent yogurt date and I asked him what he knew about Black history month. Read the conversation below.
Me: Son what do you know about Black history month?
Son: It’s the month that we got free.
Son: (He looks a little confused) Is it when Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves?
Me: Abraham Lincoln did not free the slaves and don’t let me hear you say that again. Are you guys doing a Black history project or having a Black history assembly?
Son: No. I don’t think so.
We continue the conversation where I have to school him on Abe’s role in the Civil War and what the Emancipation Proclamation really didn’t do. I was disappointed but not completely surprised that after being a student in the public school system, for the past four years, in two major cities, this is all he recalls. Which is almost laughable because American society has reduced Black history as importance of celebrating our contributions and now the few things they are teaching, they are giving out the wrong information.
This leads me to two points and one clever but serious suggestion.
We must teach our own kids
As a Black parent it is important that I make sure my son knows that our ancestral history in America may have begun in the bowels of slavery however, it stretches wider and goes deeper than most would like to acknowledge. It is no denying that we were an enslaved people however, next to slave put a comma and not a period. My son will learn that Black people were and still are queens, kings, inventors, scientists, writers, poets, musicians, scholars, actors, entrepreneurs, and the list goes on. Now we can include the distinguished honor of President. We were not a people looking to be led because we were already leaders. Clearly, if we don’t teach our children, who will? We can’t continually expect the education system to accurately depict the truth, can we? If we do, Honest Abe is going to be doing a lot more than freeing slaves and killing vampires.
Stop with the family secrets
It is just essential that our children know their familial history too. Unlike, those that immigrate to this country it is hard for most of us to definitively trace our linage back several generations, for several reasons. However, we need to make sure we share the information we do know. I grew up in a southern household in the heart of the big city, where there were many secrets, things left unaddressed, and information that has been taken to graves all in the name of family. The old heads thought they were doing the best to keep the family together but not realizing the generational effects these secrets, lies, and half-truths would have on the family.
Black History 365, Never!
In my opinion, learning, mentioning, or celebrating Black should not be condensed to one month out of a year. But I was thinking since it is too radical to actually celebrate it for…I don’t know 365 days a year, I have alternate solution. I think that only in the month of February, we should be allowed to use things like the stop light, eat peanut butter or peanut butter products, use refrigerators, or use any shape form or fashion of the beloved cell phone. That’s not to mention only listening to anything Beyonce or with drum beat or baseline for the next 21 days. If you don’t whip it, Nae- Nae, Twerk, or Dab by the 29th then you’ll have to wait until next year where there will only be 28 days to get all of this Black celebration in. I know too much, right? Please! Not enough.
Black is beautiful, 365!
Love black and Live Shamelessly!