I fully understand the need for Negro History Week back in 1926, correcting numerous instances where great people and great accomplishments had been omitted from the history books. I fully agree with the motivations behind its expansion into Black History Month in 1976 – the Golden Jubilee of Negro History Week and the Nation’s Bicentennial, in addition to coming on the heels of the anguish brought about by Segregation and the Race Riots. But nowadays…
Isn’t the entire point of equality to NOT pay any attention to someone’s ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation? If so, why do we spend four months of the year singling people out based on the color of their skin?
In a 2005 interview on 60 Minutes, actor Morgan Freeman put it pretty bluntly by proclaiming Black History Month is “Ridiculous!” “Black history is American history.” He also said the best way to end racism is to “Stop talking about it!” Yet this is precisely what we do for the entire month of February, year-in and year-out.
In their 2012 report on statistics of hate crimes, the FBI reports that per capita, black people commit twice as many hate crimes as white people – as well as most white-on-black hate crimes being vandalism and intimidation, while most black-on-white hate crimes are assaults. The FBI also reports that racially-motivated hate crimes occur far more frequently (and of greater average severity) during February and early March – double the average for white-on-black hate crimes and more than triple the average for black-on-white hate crimes.
Propaganda is an extremely powerful tool. Makes one wonder what benefit there is to calling so much attention to black slavery (outlawed 127 years ago) and black oppression (outlawed for half a century) as if they were current events.
As Martin Luther King Jr. put it, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
Let’s make King’s dream a reality and quit singling people out based on the color of their skin. Let’s end the racism and end the hate by ending Black History Month.
— Shelia Clark
This Letter to the Editor was sent to Globe SLCC (www.globeslcc.com)