It’s February and that means Black History month. The par for course is usually daily antidotes about MLK or the many inventions of Black People. Which is great, we need to know these pieces of history that aren’t taught in schools. But, in the grand scheme of things that’s basic and not enough to move society forward. If you intend to fully celebrate and embrace our lives and culture I have a task for you.
Black History is not history. Its today and tomorrow. Every moment in this country, good and bad, is shaped by Black History. That is the lesson I want you to teach…the whole year. If you are going to talk about “whites only” water fountains you better understand and be able to explain to your child why in 2020 there still aren’t many, if any, Black children in their classroom. Are you teaching that oppressive laws and government policy prevent generational wealth in Black families when your family purchases a new home? Or are you just going to say mommy and daddy worked really hard, setting in young minds a biased thought that others must not be doing the same?
When you watch Serena play are you not only acknowledging her historic talent but also pointing out the gaping disparities that one of the most famous women in the world has to endure daily? What about when your child downloads their favorite song by Beyonce or Kendrick Lamar? Are you able to provide an understanding to the message behind the beat? What is the point of reaching historic heights and the people who don’t look like you are clapping but still are not listening.
These lessons are in everything. Black culture is visible in every aspect of our lives but Black People are not. Until all of us come to that understanding and actively acknowledge it we will keep repeating these crimes against humanity. And yes, these are deep conversations but kids are smart. We ask them to understand complex ideas every day. If these conversations make you uncomfortable as an adult imagine the questions your children have. Information is power and its the first step in creating a better future. Do us a favor, See Color, Understand what is Blackness (as best you can), Teach our history and Respect our place in your lives.