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Whatever happened to black history month?

02/17/10

Permalink 07:03:02 pm, by Skillachi
Categories: Education, Culture

Whatever happened to black history month?

I'm extremely passionate about history, anybody who has known me for any period of time greater than a few months will have probably come to that conlusion a long time ago. So yes I am a member of the select few who watched the History Channel (well before it started showing all the rubbish it currently shows), and you can normally find me engrossed in any program which speaks about some area of history that I am interested in. So to me February has always been a special month, not just because I am a black person and it is of course black history month, but because it was a month where you were guaranteed to be buffeted with so much knowledge that by the 2nd week of february most people turn off their TV's and radio's in the hope that they will be able to escape from the constant flow of information and tidbits.

However similarly to the problem I had posted previously on Heroes Day, I have realized that yet another thing I am used to has somehow disappeared from the lives of Jamaicans. What ever happened to those shows about the impact of black people on the world? Those TV shows that speak about Dr. Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks Malcolm X, Harry Belafonte, Sidney Poitier, Marcus Garvey and the list goes on and on. Is it that we believe that everybody now knows and is able to recite important information about these people so we dont need to be continuously speaking about them anymore? Or is it that the problems that these people have fought for (Racial Equality, Freedom from slavery (both physical and mental), Recognition of black contributions in the world, among many other things) have all been solved and we therefore dont need to be continuing the fight anymore? Or is it that the problems have been solved for such a long time now that celebrating the contributions of these black men and women has become pointless.

sidney poitier

I hope that as you readers take in that second paragraph you realize just how much none of the questions I have posed make any sense whatsoever as we as black people are still very much stuck with alot of the same issues that thse people aimed to solve so many years ago. How can we say there is black equality when people are still being denied jobs thanks to race (yea nobody wants to say it but we all know it happens), or what about the fact that few people know that black people invented things like resistors (electronic components that literally everything needs) and even Air Conditioning systems. I wont even bother going on the topic of mental slavery.

mental slavery

Which is why I'm really glad for people like Mutabaruka, yes Muta the same person I have heard so many people refer to as the mad rastafarian. However what people aren't aware of is that Muta is quite a well read and is very intelligent, however what turns many people off of him is the fact that he speaks fluent patois (like every Jamaican) and is proud of it, and personally I believe that if this is a reason to disregard all the things he has said then I personally am ashamed of all the academics I have heard with the opinion. However this isn't just about Muta, but his show "Simply Muta" which I happened to catch on monday covering an in depth look on Marcus Garvey and his UNIA movement and the Black Star Liner. The thing about this show is that in a segment Muta went to his Alma Mater and then asked some kids questions about Garvey and barely any of them could answer some of the questions he posed. While I will agree that some of them were a little challenging the really simple ones still left many of the students with blank stares on their faces. This to me is a serious problem as high school kids should know these things... I did so why cant they?

And so this comes back to the problem I stated in the beginning, what are we doing to educate these children so they understand the importance of the contributions of these powerful black figures. How do you let them know that without the work of Garvey, Poitier, Malcolm, and Parks, we would still be stuck in the back of the bus, with second rate jobs, no freedom of speech, and probably be the taxi, instead of calling a taxi (thats an old chris rock joke).

I say it's time to educate and not... stupefy. Bring back black history month... please.

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