The first week of National Black History Month has come and gone. Haven’t you noticed the tributes to black culture on your televisions, radios and computer screens?
The problem with limiting the celebration of black history to just a month – the shortest month of the year by the way – is that these black history shout-outs seem contrived, patronizing even. African Americans have done so much to build this country that it is impossible to scratch the surface in a 30-second commercial, a Lifetime movie of the week or even in 31 – well, 28 in our case – days. The answer is to bring black history into the mainstream where it belongs. Our culture, history and contributions are so vast and extraordinary that they should be celebrated each and every day. Wouldn’t it be lovely to see or hear a commercial in June noting the fact that slaves constructed the White House, Capitol and much of Washington, D.C.? What about a made for T.V. movie about Sojourner Truth in December?
Black History Month has its purpose. Any day that a spotlight can shine on our stories is a good day. But limiting ourselves to just one month gives the false impression that it is OK to ignore us during the other 11.