Why black history month is important

I recently watched an episode of “MTV Decoded” that hit is close to home. “Decoded”is a weekly series on MTV News tackling race, pop culture, and other uncomfortable things, in funny and thought-provoking ways. Essentially, it is what I have always tried to do as a column writer.

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The host of the show, Franchesca Ramsey, is absolutely brilliant in the way she delivers the information to viewers and in every other way possible. In the most recent video for the web series, Ramsey and several other people of color (POC) expressed their frustrations with being told they “talk white.” I personally believe that when people say someone “talks white,” they are basically saying the only way a POC could be articulate or well-spoken is if they are trying to be white. They consciously or subconsciously equate intelligence with whiteness. I admire Ramsey for the topics she brings up, like this one. I have been following her for years and I aspire to educate people like she does.

There have been several instances where I wanted to share my opinion (from the upcoming election to black Hermione), but I get stuck at the idea that no one is going to give a shit. It is also exhausting trying to keep up with all the bullshit in the media to be quite honest. Most recent, Stacey Dash decided to open her mouth again.

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Needless to say, the filth that came out of it was not surprising at all. Dash, known mostly for her role in “Clueless,” stated, “Either we want segregation or integration. And if we don’t want segregation, then we need to get rid of channels like BET and the BET Awards and the Image Awards where you’re only awarded if you’re black. If it were the other way around, we would be up in arms. It’s a double standard.” (source)

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She went on the say that we should also get rid of Black History Month because there isn’t a white history month. How exactly is it a double standard when white is the standard?

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Black History Month and other organizations celebrating our culture are important because they do just that. Black History Month allows us as a nation to reflect back on what has been and this is important because knowing your history is important.

Growing up, I had no idea about my black history and honestly still have a lot to learn. I have no relationship with my dad’s family (my black side) because I had no relationship with him. If it weren’t for something Black History Month and African American History classes, I would have based my knowledge of black history on the small amount I was taught in school and I probably would be just as ignorant as Stacey Dash. I had a desire to learn about my culture, so I read and learned from other people. This is why black history month is vital. This is why BET is necessary. As much has I haven’t been watching award shows in the last few years, I know the BET Awards was created due to the fact that most media is created by and for white people. When a certain race creates an award to celebrate their culture, said people tend to get angry. Many white artists have been nominated for BET awards. It provides a certain group (black Americans) an outlet for celebrating their accomplishments.

According to history.com, Black History Month actually started off as “national Negro History week,” in 1926 because of the efforts from Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson and the prominent minister Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH). The ASNLH sponsored the event and by the 1960s, during the Civil Rights Movement, Negro History Week had developed into Black History Month. Eventually, President Gerald R. Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, calling upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” (source)

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I feel like people forget this and diminish this important fact. It’s also important to note that there are other months celebrating other cultures. March is Women’s History Month (surprised?!), May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, September 15- October 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month, and November is Native American Heritage Month. Notice a trend?

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The Unforgettable Awards were created to recognized and celebrate Asian talent in media. Steven Yeun, who plays the beloved character Glenn Rhee in AMC’s The Walking Dead, received an award this past December. Yeun has long spoken out about the lack of diversity, especially when it comes to Asian Americans. “As a community, that’s why events like these are important because we get to come together and push each other more and lift each other up,” said Yeun (source).

So, before some of you get all mad and annoyed when people talk about how mad they are about something like the Oscars, understand the context of their anger. Don’t just jump on someone’s post and spew useless garbage. This blog is just at the beginning and I don’t expect many people to even care. I felt it was important to share my opinion, like many people. Don’t be afraid to speak up.

-hellajerica

 

 

(Check out this cool wiki page I found in .000000001 secs on google: link)