Black History Month is giving Effie Trinket-Uncle Tom-Samuel Jackson in Django-yes masta’-Obama being voted U.S. president-Raven Symoné being American-MLK Jr. didn’t believe in violence-it happened so long ago energy.
So, I’m not particularly interested in celebrating Black History Month anymore.
Black History Month is an allotted time given to Black people in which we proudly share our accomplishments and unseen conquests. It is a relegation of Black people and our experience. It is the sheep-herding of Black expression and progression.
Other than when an unarmed black man is killed at the hands of a white police officer or a self-empowered white civilian, I never see more hurt from Black people than during Black History month. I see the posts about our accolades and triumphs, but deep down I witness a longing to be acknowledged. We’re trying to prove our value in a society built on the idea that we are not valuable. We are fighting for what is intrinsically ours.
I’ve thought to myself, “Maybe we should be grateful that we even GET a month”—when thinking about how it happens to be during the shortest month of the year. “At least [fill in the blank]…” I wonder how this perspective develops in the psyche of a Black person. Insert sarcasm here.
According to Torah, to ensure wholeness in the nation, offenses must be actively pursued by the party that has offended. This brings restoration and reconciliation. The longer the offense is gone unaddressed, the wider the chasm and deeper the wound goes. It becomes traumatic and is perpetuated for generations.
“That was so long ago,” the negotiating Whites proclaim. Blacks are being conditioned to forget the past while never having been given true restitution as Scripture calls for it. White people get to proceed without sincere acknowledgment and action to restore the hurt they have uniquely caused. In the Torah and the prophets, there is a consistent retelling of Israel’s unique failings and triumphs. There are accounts of how Israel stayed connected with YAH and each other despite breakdowns in the relationship. At no point is Israel told to sincerely forget those times of failure or offense. A society that supports forgetting the past to create a false future is a rootless, lightless, and idolatrous society.
Unfortunately, Black people are doing all the work in this system. The weight of forgiveness has been placed on us without having had proper restitution initiated. Proper restitution is given when a community understands intrinsic value. Simply, if America’s society had a true grasp on value, Whites would make things right, Blacks would experience healing, and there would be true racial peace. Without this understanding, society will always demand labor for what has been freely given. This is at the bottom of the relationship between Blacks and Whites. This is perpetuating the cycle of trauma.
We relish in this time of year and are left empty afterwards. Black History Month is molded scraps disguised as a nutritious feast. Simply put, it is a way to control the Black aggression that affects change which white people fear. White people are okay with our energy or aggression being expressed in our music, fashion, food, gatherings, or crime against each other. But when that energy is transferred into healing the Black family without the guilty white hand, there is an uneasiness. When that energy is transferred into building up Black community, there is a fear that rises in white peoples’ hearts. When that energy no longer accepts the pee as rain, there is unrest.
When we are striving to make our accomplishments known, we are denying our true selves. It is to say, “See! Look! I can do what you do!” We know what white culture values and we try to market ourselves as that because of a conditioned incessant need for white approval. Similar to an attention-deprived child’s need for approval and acceptance from their parents, blacks are expected to prove why they are worth their white counterparts’ attention. Parents are a child’s foundation–the place from which they derive their identity. In America’s society, whites are the stiff parents that indirectly tell you that you can never be good enough unless [fill in the blank]. In reality, whites are not our “parent” or determiners of identity.
Blacks need to continue coming into themselves and learn the true standard from which we come. As much as white people would like for us to believe there has been significant progress (voter’s rights, end of slavery, token Black President, Black History Month, etc.), we’re merely just beginning. True progress will have happened when Blacks stop measuring themselves against a standard we were never meant to be measured against.
Black History Month is lack of white accountability. Black History Month is a stalemate. Black History Month is not progress. Black History Month is a hamster wheel. Black History Month is a distractor. Black History Month is a tablet in the hands of a screaming toddler
There’s nothing Black about Black History Month.
Black History Month is not for us.