Soryyyy I’m is late with this. This post was originally being written for Black history month in the UK BUT as I’m sure you’ve all noticed, I’ve been gone for a while. Anyways, yes it’s still Black History Month (in the US) and I just wanted to write on how my perception of black history month as a concept has shifted over the course of the last five years.
My parents alway made sure to educate me on my culture. Being from a background that is so mixed was quite confusing at first. I mean I knew where I was from and how my family had come to be so diverse. I was about 14 when I properly started explore what it meant to be a black woman in London. It was around the same time as the London riots, which were triggered by what a lot of people believe to be a passive act of racism by the police and the failure of the police to consider the rights of the victim before taking his life. Now that, in my opinion, is a whole other mess for another day. But the reason why I brought that up is because THAT was the moment when I felt triggered. I started to feel so much negativity towards certain demographics because of what was happening before my very eyes as well as what I had been learning about the past.
It was at that point that I began to feel as though putting aside thirty days to commemorate the experiences and the suffering of a whole race is just reductive. Can we really reduce hundreds of years of slavery, colonisation and systematic oppression to one month?! How could you justify that to the people who are mourning the loss of their children as a result of targeted police brutality? People whose lives will never be the same because of continuous loss. Is a month enough? To make it even worse, my sixth form didn’t even acknowledge black history month and attempted to blame “bad behaviour” as the reason why they didn’t do anything to celebrate it. Yet, every year, still persisted to drag me into the cold for remembrance services.
After two years of building up all this hate, I realised that it was a waste of energy and not at all conducive to my growth as an individual. So, I decided to use black history month as a time to celebrate the achievements of black people. I also tried to use that month to examine how I fit into the the black community and what I had been doing throughout the year to better the position of my people within my own environment.
By taking negative energy and turning it into small valuable changes to individual lives, I’ve made myself and others happier.
So be proud to be black all year round but use this time as a time to think about your role in the black community. Are you helping or impeding our growth as a race? Do you spread messages of unification or of nationalism and division? What type of person are you?
I hope it’s been a happy black history month 🖤🖤🖤