Home / It’s About Black History, Not the Month

It’s About Black History, Not the Month

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Just because everyone has a sphincter doesn't mean everyone uses it well. In the same spirit, everyone has an opinion, but not everyone thinks thoroughly about what they say. I recently read a blog from a former model and reality show personality that annoyed me. It wasn't so much that she had a different point of view; it was that she probably didn't take the time to do any research on it. Then again, when you're so busy, what time do you have to just research what you're talking about before you spill it to the masses?

She has swarms of comments on her blog. It's fascinating to see the oblivion in which so many people out there live. If I read what they're saying correctly, I should believe in one united America, where there's only a smidgeon of racism and the days of slavery and institutional racism no longer exist. Maybe now we don't even have to have BET, TVOne, Black History Month, or anything else that segregates Americans from one another. Also, in this world, maybe we can even date someone from another race and not have a racist bone in our bodies.


First off, Carter G. Woodson, the creator of Black History Month, actually intended for Black History Month to be temporary, hoping that people would fully integrate Black History with American History. Of course, that comes with the caveat that Americans would have to recognize African-Americans in that history. Unfortunately, and to this day, there hasn't been a sufficient integration of any underrepresented group, (Latino, indigenous, Asian, or otherwise) in American textbooks.

The reason why there is no Caucasian/White History Month, a WET, or a White Remembrance Museum is because these already exist, in abundance, in the form of NBC, CBS, FOX, ABC, The CW, MTV, CSPAN, the local art museum, history museum, library, government building, school textbook, the New York Times, and the Daily News. In other words, there's loads of documentation of the contributions of the dominant society. The reason why these alternative outlets exist is because of the lack of inclusion in these outlets except when it pertains to criminals, athletes, and musicians.

People love to look at Obama as a beacon of hope, but that's derisive and indicative of where we are as a culture. Obama is the first legitimate Black candidate in the eyes of the dominant culture. He is not some racial obligation fulfilled. He is a starting point to a long and winding road.

Secondly, BET was created by Bob Johnson for entertainment purposes, but also because there was a niche whose need wasn’t fulfilled by the major networks or the cable networks. As many jokes as we make about Seinfeld or Friends not being friendly to underrepresented people, it's the truth.

It's not self-segregation when segregation is the precedent that has been set for half a millennium. People who don't actually take the time to research what they're talking about find themselves at a loss when they see the many Holocaust remembrance museums, the indigenous reservation tours, and the Black/Latino museums that exist. Many of these are losing funding for reasons like, "We are already integrated." Would these be necessary if the natural history and American history museums actually integrated these cultures more thoroughly into their edifices?

People who assert that we are all Americans immediately discredit their assertion by simply disregarding slavery as something people should just get over and move on from. Americans readily recognize — and give reparations for — the Jewish Holocaust as well as Japanese internment, but when it comes to African Americans, the government turns a cold shoulder – and that's the point.

No matter how many Black men or women you've dated, no matter how many Black friends you have, and no matter how many Black musicians and athletes you have pasted on your wall, none of it can atone for your insistence that there's no party responsible for these acts. There isn't a group of people benefiting from that legacy. Unfortunately, people still view the discussion of slavery and oppression as some pity card, while people may view other causes as noble and valiant.

Personally, I hate to make this a Black and White issue, but the entry I read prompted me. This is a real American issue. If we truly believe in diversity, and everyone being an American, then it concerns me that, in the eyes of this person, everyone should just meld into a monolith with one Anglo-centric culture, as if one culture is better or greater than the other. My focus is not against the common person; wherever you come from, I see so much potential in everyone to come together and make something beautiful happen.

If you choose to boycott BET, then that's strictly up to you. Personally, I'm not a fan of BET for various reasons. I congratulate those who take time to celebrate someone else's history all year round. However, until we are more aware of the systems that work against true integration, then we have no business flushing Black History Month down the toilet, much the way I wouldn't suggest flushing down Latino History Month, St. Patrick's Day, or Women's History Month. Everyone has had a stake in this country, and that stake is not fully recognized except in back pats and head nods.

Ironically enough, the very people who disregard observing other people's cultures always point to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as an example of absolute integration. Yet, he even said, "Law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and when they fail in this purpose, they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress." What, then, are we asking ourselves when we turn a blind eye to the continued injustices of the day and perpetrate this colorblind (as opposed to color-conscious) society? Will we ignore the atrocities of Jena 6 and ignore the racial component of it all? Will we simply call Elvira Arrelano an illegal immigrant when so many of us associate "illegal immigrant" with a Mexican face? It makes me wonder.

Then again, everyone has their own opinion, just like everyone has a sphincter. My problem is not with the way you use it, but with the mess you leave after you use it.

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About Jose

  • I enjoyed reading your article and I was taken aback when reading Adrianne Curry’s blog entry. Not that she was ever someone who inspired an educated dialogue, but she truly comes across as ignorant to the very history she claims to understand.

    One issue I’ve never been able to reconcile or fully understand is this: For those who support reparations for Slavery, what would be the cost? How could anyone offer a monetary settlement, in essence, to account for that level of human abuse, displacement, and sacrifice? If every eligible individual received a check from the U.S. government, how could that satisfy or even justify the actions it would aim to apologize for?

    I welcome any insight you could provide.

    -Donald Gibson

  • Why is anyone reading Adrienne Curry’s blog. Wait, who is Adrienne Curry? Is that the chick who bangs the buff former brady bunch guy? Yeah, that’s who I lock towards for racial and political commentary.

    Anyway, I don’t like when people act like black people having Black History Month or having a BET is segregation. For one thing, the company behind BET is not all black, and definitely not segregated. Secondly, why can’t you have a station about caucasians? Isn’t that what CBS is? 🙂

    Seriously, no one will stop the establishment of a “European channel” if there’s money in it. People want to try and turn segregation around as if Black people are now free to mingle but they have chosen to stay separate instead. The fact of the matter is that there are “white things,” “black things,” “asian things” and so on.

    It’s culture. We all live together, but at a certain point we have aspects of our lives that are ours.

    I think that if we want to talk observing cultures, there is not enough observation of cultures. If that were true, then every week there would be a parade in the streets of Manhattan.

    Back to Adrienne Curry. She wants everyone to become one, as if we have not been at least attempting that. She acts like we don’t work with each other, live in the same neighborhood and hang out. I, for one, would like to see the diverse, unified neighborhood she lives in. I bet she feels at one there because there’s little difference between her and her neighbors.

    I wonder how Adrienne Curry is helping to bring America together. I wonder how many neighborhood she visits to get them to realize that our differences mean nothing and we should all just get together. What a dream world she lives in!

  • Great article, Jose!

    I started reading the Tyra Banks article you references but, as you indicated, it it all reminded me too much of your sphincter analogy above; I couldn’t read to the end.


  • duane

    Choice quotes from Ms. Curry:

    Yes, I get it. Black people were slaves here once. You know what? That does suck some major balls….

    Think I am racist? I am not. I know what racism is. I dated a guy named “Justin” in Junior high.

    This is unexceptable!

    I am asking you ALL to join me. Black, White, Indian, Asian, Russian, Australian, etc etc…..lets be AMERICANS together!

    I love our history, good and bad.

    I hope one day aliens land and try to kill us.

    My number one priority here is being able to die ….

    No commentary is required.

    And just to add to her magisterial impressiveness, she quotes Bono.

    And she has nice hair. I doubt that she will ever suffer from any kind of discrimination, unless it’s for being an airheaded ditz.

  • London aka MB


    Unfortunately, Adrienne Curry is just showing her ignorance. It is good she is speaking her mind and has created at least an open dialog on the subject. She is honest about her beliefs, and I respect that. She legitimately sounds like she is confused and just does not know. I don’t think it is coming from a place of hate but it sounds like she has not had a lot of experience with having very close Black friends for an extended amount of time. Trying to be a quote “Credential Carrier” by dating one of the Blackest guys in high school does not count. There are a lot of people just like her who truly do not get it.

    Black History Month,BET, JET Magazine and Ebony magazine are not racists. It is not an exclusion but a celebration. There is mainstream American and then there are those who are typically left out or not really recognized on a daily basis. Those particular groups homosexuals, hispanics, Asians, African-Americans create their own culture and celebration to uplift themselves and bring up their self-worth and celebrate their culture and differences. They have to create their own magazines, televisions stations, radio stations,Heritage months, Parades ect…because if they did not they would be ignored. Everyone is looking out for their own agenda.

    It is just like moving to China and being only 3% of the population. Sure you want to assimilate and learn the culture and join with the natives but how many TV shows, radio stations, magazines are going to be 1st of all in English, secondly, how many are going to be based on American culture and tradition. Most will be in the Chinese and the traditon of the Chinese culture.

    Everyone needs to stop being so offened when someone wants to celebrate their cultural difference, or set aside a particular time (a month) to educate everyone about the history and contribution of certain races. Racist is describe in the webster dictionary as based on racial intolerance, discriminatory, especially on the basis of race. I do not hear Adrienne complaining about the Gay Parades or other separate cultural or sexual events and celebrations. I do believe Adrienne is racist but her racism I believe comes from a point of ignorance not hatred.

    Too bad she let her emotions get the best of her by writing a very deameaning, accusatory letter to Tyra Banks, otherwise Tyra could try to help educated her even more. It is ironic that Adrienne would not be where she is today or even know the husband she has if it were not for a Black woman, but she does not even remotely understand the plight or struggles of the African Americans. Again I will say take an African American History course…as a matter of fact take at least 3….

    Girl……get informed and open your mind and time to spend with other cultures, especially African Americans. Slavery has everything to do with it. Not that Black people cannot let the past go but being enslaved for over 400 years and having other races come to America on their own free will, has alot to do with it. Do you tell a child who has been molested to get over it, or a woman who has been abused by her husband for years to get over it, or someone whose family has been murdered or someone who ecounters racsim on a daily basis to get over it? Do you tell the Jena 6, Mychal Bell, who has been tried as an adult when he is a child, who has been in jail for almost a year to get over it? Do you question Cino de Mayo? Hispanic Hertiage Month? Green Day? Asian Pacific Month? Chinese New Year? The Gay Parade? Give Black people a break. They, we have been through enough……but again the fight to peacefully educate continues….