February 10, 2009

The Last Black History Month?

According to Black Newspaper Columnists, Black History Month is no longer relevant.

Blog post from Journal-ism:
At least two more black columnists — Cynthia Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Tony Norman of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette — have advocated ending Black History Month.

"It's not merely that a short month set aside to commemorate black achievement is a curious and old-fashioned appendage, like rabbit ears on a TV or a rotary dial on a telephone. It's worse than that: The commemoration is a damaging form of apartheid, setting the contributions of black Americans aside as separate and unequal. It sends the wrong signal to all Americans, black, white and brown," Tucker wrote for this Sunday's paper. Tucker, who won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2007, previously questioned the continued existence of historically black colleges and universities.

Norman wrote on Friday, "Now that Barack Obama and his family have moved into the White House, it's time to rethink the holiday Carter G. Woodson came up with nearly a century ago. "Times have changed. Even the Republicans have a black guy running the party. Maybe February can go back to being for all of us."

Rochelle Riley of the Detroit Free Press, who took the same position last Sunday, wrote on Thursday, "The day the column appeared on freep.com, the flood of calls and e-mails began. About 90% of the people agreed with me, some for their own reasons, and among the 10% who didn't, some apparently didn't even read the column."

On blackamericaweb.com, Julianne Malveaux, a longtime commentator who is now also president of Bennett College for Women, said she reveled in the month. "All of America should be celebrating this Black History Month," she wrote, ticking off the people and events that inspire her.

But, she wrote, "In the same month that an African American man was sworn in as President of the United States, another African American man, Oscar Grant, was coldly shot by a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) police officer. Oscar Grant was the father of a four-year old girl, and he was a brother who was known as a peacemaker. Dozens of people captured his shooting on their cellphones and video cameras. To watch this videotape is to be chillingly reminded of our history of police misconduct and to inspire us to continue to work for justice."

As reported on Wednesday, Phillip Morris of the Cleveland Plain Dealer and theRoot.com contributor Michael E. Ross also favored abolishing the month, while John Fleming, president of the institution that carries on Woodson's work, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, and some members of the National Association of Black Journalists e-mail list argued for keeping it.

When it is no longer important to refer to President Obama as a Black President, then maybe, just maybe Black History Month should not be celebrated any longer. Maybe when history books are written to include the history of all people and their accomplishment to not only America but the world, then maybe this should be considered.

Cynthia Tucker writes in her column "Just as the election of the nation’s first black president arrived sooner than some of us ever dreamed, so we will look up one day a few years hence to find that Black History Month is rarely observed. Because it won’t need to be. Americans young and old, black, white and brown, will understand that black history and the nation’s history are one and the same."
Well Cynthia, in all due respect that marvelous day has not quite arrived. The importance of this month is for African American children, who otherwise would be ignorant of their past. In the immortal words of Malcolm X, "If you were never taught that you did anything, you can never do anything."

Well what's next? Let's stop supporting HBCU's, sorry Tom Joyner. We almost got that down to a science. Let's stop using the term "Black Radio." Oh that's right it's urban radio now. How that's working for you? Are you getting all you want out of your local radio station? Besides, when Barack Obama is no longer President, what should we do bring Black History Month back.

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