Has Black History Month met its end with the re-election of Barack Obama? One could make a solid case for calling a halt to the month of February as an official celebration of the achievements of Black Americans, since many of the injustices of the past have died away along with the perpetrators. In the 21st Century should not the focus be on a unified America that celebrates and acknowledges the achievements of all Americans throughout the year?
The advent of Black History month began in 1926 as the second week in February, and was known as Negro History Week. Its creator, black historian Carter G. Woodson, was clear about its purpose and eventual end. He insisted at the time that the holiday be eliminated when “black history became fundamental to American history.”
Well, it appears apparent that the jury is in and the verdict is clear, the need for Black History Month has met it original purpose. Woodson’s edict was that the need for the month to continue into perpetuity was not its purpose. Black history has been mainstreamed into what it always has been, and that is: part of America’s history.
Well it seems that Barack Obama’s election has sealed the deal on that, considering that February was chosen as the official month to honor Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. Lincoln freed the black slaves and, is it not fitting that the end of this holiday has indeed run its natural course with the election and re-election of the first black president of the United States?
Americans have an opportunity to move on and stop reliving the practices and outrages of racism which once permeated every aspect of the nation’s culture. Blacks have been elected governors, and congress has growing numbers of black elected leaders. Now with a president who is black, where again is the need for Black History Month?
It is unnecessary to keep track of black achievement in areas of professionalism and other fields of achievement. These achievements are American achievements, and should not continue to be segregated or celebrated by racial designation.
The nation should be focused on celebrating the future of a united nation where racial designations have no purpose or place. If America is to truly become one nation, indivisible with justice for all, then it must do away with the categories and the special designations which continue to keep Americans separate and apart.
If one were to scan the landscape of America, can anyone honestly say that the vestiges of slavery are still in existence in America? Certainly one can still find crushing poverty, spiraling joblessness, as well as growing gun violence and gang activity in large cities.
But those problems which plague large urban centers where blacks live in great majorities are not problems related to racism. In these cities blacks are in control of the reins of power, and unless one believes that blacks are discriminating against their own, racism is indeed dead.
So how long can Americans continue to be held hostage to a notion that a black person who has reached the summit of political power in this nation means Whites are perpetrating large scale racism?
How long can children in America’s classrooms be subjected to speeches and plays and political diatribes from teachers about “White Racism”? And should those children be exposed to lessons that focus on those ‘bad white people’ who used whips, hoses and dogs to attacks blacks, as if those practices still occur? Many black leaders and liberals would love to continue this pointless indoctrination.
There is no need to promote a month that gives black children a reason to point fingers at white children and act as if they are being victimized. There is no reason for white children to duck their heads and feel unearned guilt for practices they were not responsible for and that no longer exist.
This month, which fosters a false premise of continued racial suffering and separatism by a non-white society, is untrue and unnecessary. Racial preferences based upon these continued falsehoods must cease. No child in America should be saddled with the notion that they have to give up their place in line for a job, a career or for justice based on race. This month has reached its saturation point and even its original creator Carter G. Woodson would say, “Enough is enough!”
America is a nation where justice must be color blind. The lessons of the past have given us a wonderful roadmap to the future. This is a future where special designated months for African Americans, Hispanics or any other racial preference group are not necessary or needed. We are all Americans, no subtitles are necessary.
How about next February 2014, at the beginning of the month each day becomes a reflection of what is good, great and outstanding in the core of each of us as Americans. This is something an undivided color-blind nation can truly celebrate.
Image: CARTER G. WOODSON – TEACHER, HISTORIAN, PUBLISHER; Author: Charles Henry Alston, 1907-1977, Artist (NARA record: 3569253); Current location: National Archives and Records Administration, College Park