The problem lies in the celebration. The goal of Black History Week wasn't just to celebrate black history, but to focus on educating about black history- a history vastly ignored through traditional education. When Woodson initiated the event, he was forty years before the Civil Rights movement. Even with only the slightest understanding of American race relations during that time, one can see how society's attitude toward blacks would be reflected in education about blacks.
But what has really changed since the original event's inception? To this day, blacks are still only footnotes in American History textbooks. With the rarest exceptions like George Washington Carver and Dr. Martin Luther the King, blacks are only referred in their lowest social status- slaves. "Black history is American history" has become somewhat of a mantra, but watch closely as to what is celebrated this month. The so-called "history" will hardly dip beyond the surface of entertainment and stereotypes. Americans of all creeds and colors, even blacks, still don't seem to know much about black peoples place in history beyond slavery. If February first was your introduction to black Americans, what will you have learned by the twenty eighth? At best, you have a shallow understanding of how the Civil Rights Movement "ended" racism. At worst, you would leave with the prejudice black people are just chicken eating former slaves turned entertainers. In my lifetime, this month has only served as a collective reaffirmation of the stereotypes of yesteryear.
WatchJ: "In 1967 while at a scary movie an ANGRY Keyona Taylor
became the 1st nigga to ever talk to the movie screen"
ChocChunkDoll: "In 1966 Tyrone Williams was the 1st nigga to run & jump on top of a car to get away from a big ass dog."
['BlackFirsts' topic courtesy of Twitter]
Both the quotes provided and the NBC menu selection came from black Americans. That is what we were taught about ourselves. According to what's being taught this month, that is black history- at least according to what has always repeated itself. When black history really is American history, there will no longer be a need for a month. Until then, I'll take a two piece and a biscuit in honor of those who came before me, and long for the day we celebrate Make History Month.