Do we (blacks) even care about Black History Month anymore?
I posed this question to my Facebook friends and Twitter followers and it seems like the overall consensus is no – give or take the 10 people who chimed in on both networks collectively. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no modern day civil rights activist but as long as the national recognition and celebration of black history exists, I’ll observe it.
Many people that I follow on Instagram have been posting these memes that are intended to make you laugh – and some do – but at the expense of those who I bet would not appreciate the one month that being black is celebrated turned into a mockery of the race by its own people. I’ll admit laughing at one of the photos, but then as more and more popped up I couldn’t help but feel a little guilty.
I recently watched a documentary of the civil rights movement, specifically Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s involvement in it. Dr. King lost his life because he wanted blacks to be treated equally. He didn’t lose a job or a friend or a home…he lost his life. Not just Dr. King, so many blacks lost their lives while fighting for us to have the rights and privileges that we enjoy today.
Many question and debate the relevance of Black History Month in 2013. Harvey Young addressed this very “debate” in his recent article for the Chicago Sun-Times:
The enduring relevance of Black History Month is its call to consider both the past and the present. It invites us to look back and contemplate the changes that have occurred between then and now. How far have we, as a nation, a state, a city, a community, come? How much further must we go to achieve equal opportunity for all?
Although the achievements of select individuals are widely admired, it is not yet time to proclaim that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream has been “fulfilled.” Considerable progress and social change have occurred since the inauguration of Negro History Week in 1926, but much work lies ahead.
Whether people consider Black History Month relevant or not, I still feel like as long as it is nationally recognized, we should respect it at least and take a moment to think back on how things would be different for us had it not been for those courageous men and women fighting for our rights.
Do you think Black History Month is still relevant?