My friends and I were recently working and derping across the internet and not sure how exactly but I found a Tumblr titled “When is White History Month?” It’s a Tumblr basically dedicated toward showcasing tweets in favor of having a White History Month (see the above tweet from the Tumblr for an example).
My first reaction was to start laughing well, because from years of attending a predominately white institution in Texas, I’m quite used to hearing things such as that and some/most times the only thing to do, in order to keep from crying or rather getting mad and coming off as an “angry black women”, is laugh. Therefore brushing things off with laughter is a skill I’m quite adept at.
But then we began to discuss the idea and came upon an article written by Mychal Denzel Smith of the Guardian on “Why We Need a White History Month”, in it he quotes James Baldwin (in a speech Baldwin made before the Nation press Club in which he proposed a National White Week arguing that “The truth about this country is buried in the myths that white people have about themselves” …and that a NWW could help to debunk these myths.
Honestly if that was the reason for having a White History Month, a month where “real history” was taught for example history of systems of oppression and white privilege then sure I’d be down for it but I highly doubt that would happen or rather maybe it would happen but in some areas it would basically be a White Supremacy Month.
What people don’t understand when they say things such as my people, white people (as was said several times throughout the previously mentioned Tumblr) need our own history month is that “White History” the history of White males is taught everywhere.
As a child had it not been for my “radical” and “Afrocentric” parents, I as a black girl living in the South would have never learned that Rosa Parks was not just some tired old little lady‘ but was actually someone in the movement who had planned to “not move”. I also would have never learned about all things my people invented.
Honestly with or without Black History Month, I’m going to celebrate myself and my people. Personally I don’t need one month where everyone else feels like they have to recognize Black people, it should be an everyday thing but seeing as it isn’t…for example my little sister who is in 4th grade just finished studying famous inventors and guess what, not one of them was black (thankfully my mom marched up to the school with a list of black inventors lol).
The thing is though, we aren’t in a post-racist society (yes…that’s what I meant, not post-racial (that’s a whole other convo)). I’m not saying all white people are racist and all black people aren’t (that’s definitely not true), what I’m saying is that our society isn’t to the point where race is recognized as the social construct it is and black and white and Latino and Asian (and so forth) inventors are taught about in the same class not as the first one of their race but together and are honored for their accomplishments.
Until that day, that I’m not really holding my breath for, Black History Month as well as other heritage months, weeks, and days are here.