Once again, the month of February has inevitably fallen upon us. Various timelines of multiple social media platforms will, undoubtedly, be littered with videos, linked articles, and memes pertaining to who was “the first black person to do this or that,” “the black person who invented the first such-and-such,” or “the ‘fill in the blank’ African American who fought against racism using peace and forgiveness.”
It persists every February of every year with the steadiness of a glacier’s movement, and it’s that very same routine and watered-down procession that grinds and crushes the foundation of the legacy of what makes black people in America who’ve descended from slavery a special class of people in our society. Black History, which is the most American History there is, has been neatly and comfortably relegated to 28 days out of 365. This way, the dominant society, even though they grimace their way through it most of the time, can safely ease their conscience in a very controlled environment.
They can share interesting facts about black people and “like” and “heart” the posts about #BlackHistoryMonth coming from their black “friends.” They can attend themed events at their job where some old black speaker from the Civil Rights generation can show up and talk about how bad things were back then and about how much “progress” we’ve made since their era. So, therefore, white people shouldn’t feel so guilty about the affliction being carried out against their fellow black citizens right here and right now. Afterall, it was so much worse back then, right?
They can watch old clips of Martin Luther King speeches preaching non-violence and that “love is the only way to drive out hate.” They, then, can then use this watered-down version of King’s message to wag their finger to other black people anytime they try to rise up. They say “Aggressively going up against and methodically targeting the individuals who promote and maintain the very system giving me my unearned social goodies, giveaways, and benefits and protecting yourselves and your loved ones by any means necessary isn’t the answer;” you guys should pray more and walk down the streets with picket signs and plead for justice with the very people who are beating you upside the head and hauling you off to jail.
February serves as a numbing agent the dominant society can take advantage of to effectively snuff out the gnawing guilt their conscience is naturally making them feel. Rather than actually allowing themselves to feel bad about the wicked and unjust system that provides them their privilege, one based on the pain, suffering, and death of countless black bodies throughout history and in the modern-day, and actually being willing to give up their privilege by putting the work needed to dismantle that system, February gives them a mechanism in which they can feel just a little built guilty for 28 days.
They feel a little bit guilty, but, as I portrayed in the aforementioned statements, there’re plenty of avenues during Black History Month for them to pacify and anesthetize their conscience. Then, once the 28 days are up, they can go back to business as usual, aka not having to talk about, acknowledge, nor doing anything about the oppression of the very people who they work, go to school, and go to church with. In their minds, they “felt bad” about racism. So, that was “doing something about it.”
February is mostly seen as a time for us to reminisce and marvel at the countless contributions the bloodline successors of American slaves have made to the United States and to the world–the air-conditioning unit, the refrigerator, riding saddles, the traffic light, the lock, and the lubrication oiling systems mechanical engines rely on, just to name a few. However, here is the problem. Very seldom do we take this opportunity to focus on how these brothers and sisters were able to accomplish these things despite the societal, political, socioeconomic barriers intentionally erected against them.
Despite the institutionalized white supremacy implemented by federal, state, and local governments and American citizens, these black people still managed to create innovative and magnificent inventions that society still relies on today and, arguably, the greatest artworks of music, paintings, and literature the world has ever known–works like jazz and hip hop that have set trends the whole world has followed. And, they were able to accomplish this even when a whole country was targeting their safety and their very lives.
It would be a crime and a disgrace to speak on the many great accomplishments black people made in the face of physical and economic terrorism without taking a serious look at the system of institutionalized white supremacy, itself, and, more importantly, the individuals who bolster it, like John Calvin Coolidge Jr. and Woodrow Wilson, and who maintain and implemented the system to specifically undermine and sabotage black people on every arena of society.
The reason there even needed to be a Black History Month was because of the fact there is a system of white supremacy in place designed to hide and bury all countless and crucially important contributions black people have blessed humanity with, all while in the face of constant oppression. The reason these facts about black people were buried was due to a white inferiority complex. The whole goal of why white supremacy was erected was so that the group classified as white would not have to fairly compete for resources. So, there’s no way the dominant society would want their children, black people, or other ethnic groups who come here learning about how black people excelled, even when their efforts were purposefully being sabotaged.
The contributions black people have made to this country, more than any other group could hope to compete with, are monumental and pivotal in terms of helping American become the most powerful nation in the world. America simply would not be the economic juggernaut it is without the wealth it generated from slavery, free African labor, and without the advancements in technology, architecture, agriculture, and sports black people produced.
And, even with all the ways we’ve contributed to mankind’s progression and to the planet as a whole, we still don’t approach the world with a mindset of superiority or supremacy over other groups of people. We, collectively, have no desire to dominate others nor do we seek to conquer the planet.
We CANNOT discuss and celebrate black history and black genuineness without taking the painstaking time to investigate, identify, acknowledge, and condemn, all those throughout history, including the likes of Abraham Lincoln, who have played their part in inhibiting the progress of black people. Furthermore, there are individuals in positions of social and political power, current-day, who see the descendants of the former workforce that built the economic infrastructure of this country as obsolete, as a burden and, quite frankly, an annoyance in terms of what resources there are to spread around.
The whole point of conquering a group is to not have to share resources with them, after all. What good does it do to have the descendants of the ones who were conquered taking up the resources that were already secured by your ancestors for you?
Celebrating the accomplishments of black people is easy. Taking the time to identify those, like President Joe Biden, who consistently contribute to the detriment of black people as a collective, and advocating for their punishment for having a hand it in is what’s hard.
At the end of the day, what is the point of celebrating the accomplishments and milestones of black people if you’re not going to commit to a lifestyle (yes I mean changing every way in which you live life) that counteracts the methods and strategies of the very system that was created to ensure they COULD NOT accomplish those things?
February is sinfully and constantly used as a mean for us, black people, to feel all warm and bubbly about the accomplishments of our forefathers and foremothers and for white people to say to themselves, “Well if they were able to accomplish all that back then despite all that was against them, it should be a piece of cake for them now to accomplish even more now that things have gotten better.”
This system, which was constructed before the grandparents of anyone reading this were even born, has evolved, morphed, has become more covert and hi-tech, and has become deeply entrenched into the customs we practice daily in our personal lives. This same system that attempted to thwart the success of the black people we celebrate still exists today. And, to celebrate them being able to overcome the demonic booby trap that was deliberately placed on their life’s path without committing ourselves to actually doing something about that booby trap currently in the life’s path of the sons and daughters of the former slaves is not only a disgrace to their names, but it’s a spit in the face to all those who weren’t and won’t be able to reach their full potential in life because of it.
One Love & One Justice,
Published Works: http://tiny.cc/nyquiz & http://tiny.cc/codeblak
The Levels of Love – Relationship & Dating Advice, Romantic Literary Art, Racism & Relationships, Social Enrichment Commentary: https://RootOfAllLove.com
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