Black History Month is the one month in the year when everything good about black history is trumpeted and celebrated. It is an annual event that seeks to redress the balance and somehow compensate for the fact that so little is taught about the roles and significance of black people in history. There are a number of varying explanations as to how and why it came about but it is generally accepted as being a good thing with most people seeing its very existence as positive.
But its origins are important because Black History Month also attracts a fair amount of criticism. There are those who question why it is needed at all and why no such occasion exists to celebrate the achievement of white people, for example. (Although an unknown wag gave the answer to this as ..”There is, it’s called the rest of the year”.) Many think that it’s divisive and would rather more time was spent integrating black history into the wider educational curriculum so that we progressively move to a situation where there simply is no need to isolate one month in the year to promote the history of a single group.
I think they all have a point but until the time comes when the history of black people, and others who are curiously absent from our history books, is incorporated into our story telling, in our school curriculums, in news reports and documentaries, then there will always be a need to make the extra effort to remove the one dimensional, monologue about the history of the world, which invariably consigns some people to the role of victim, perpetrator or benign bystander.
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