Black History Month means different things to different people


It’s customary at this time of year, the month of February, for the mainstream media to cease the occasion by letting us hear and see that they too are doing their part to recognize Black History month.

As such, throughout the radio and television broadcast day BHM-oriented happenings are allotted the duration of the month to promote audible and/or visual vignettes to emphasize that the subject of Black peoples’ (still marginalized) history is ultimately everybody’s. And much like Black lives… it matters, so it will not be allowed to go unmentioned or unnoticed.
Good! I for one became jaded with Eurocentric history years ago—what with all the elementary to high school, to post-secondary indoctrination. So given my (focus on) Africanness, and thanks to the many African (Studies) scholars and others of all nationalities across the Diaspora that are re-writing Africa’s history from a 20th… 21st century vantage point, as well as having ready access to multiple-sourced and relevant alternative and instructive information outlets, I’m learning more about, and embracing the continent’s (meaning Black peoples’) role and place in world history.
Archaic cartoonish depictions of Africa are gradually fading, notwithstanding certain traditional customs. Today I’m seeing better, and know better, as new generations look to find their way into the 21st century with great expectations as they target opportunities. I see them on BBC, as stated in the past. Change is inevitable.
In other words, those aspects of history of particular and immeasurable interest to past generations who laid paths of change: producing literature, discovering and preserving historic artifacts and landmarks, all symbols of civilizations… that were deliberately destroyed—whited out… during those heady days of Eurocentrism… All are gradually seeing the light (of a new era) as generations of young Afrocentric types continue to deconstruct what was once conventional. It’s now a period and process of historical reconstruction by those who regard themselves as the new fresh fruits of Africa.
On this side of the world there’s no better accessible tool/platform that offers equal and easy access for people interested in Black History than the www, if familiar institutions choose to not insert African history in their course selections. The Internet is a viable option for easy and ready access to garner knowledge and supplement one’s BHM knowledge. African peoples’ role in history goes beyond local celebrations—discussions and conversations.
Truth is, the more historical armor one possesses the better; [Historical] truths cannot be allowed to be stifled. The fact that it’s not visible and tangible, 28 or 29 days of annual ‘consciousness raising’ supplemented by some mainstream media vignettes shouldn’t make us lapse into BHM apathy on March 1. The Black conversation, history, economics, and more must continue.
It’s just that in this, as well as other Eurocentric environments, African (Black peoples’) history is akin to exotica. Allow the www to be your [accessory], your online teacher as it were. you’ll learn more online than in any conventional classroom, just because for most Black History is like throwaway history for many.
That said, this annual Black History Month recognition should truly serve as a clarion call to all Black people, but especially to some people of non-European background who have imbibed all that Eurocentric-based media distortion and (unflattering) historic images and depictions of Africa and African peoples… some of which we’re bombarded with in this, and other parts of the Western world on an almost daily basis.
All that to say we’re fighting a war of survival on multiple fronts.
In the meantime, I share my radio listening time with CBC, NPR and CJAD radio.
So it’s worth reiterating that the first Black Canadian woman elected to Parliament, the Honorable Jean Augustine, an immigrant, for taking a bold initiative by introducing the missing issue of “Black Canadian” history to the House of Commons, which in 1995 officially recognized February as Black History Month in Canada.
Aside from much lip service at this time of year, how has the lives of Black people been improved by the debunking of the nonsense that, to flog that proverbial horse and misconception that Black people are all immigrants. Not necessarily a bad thing; most white Canadians are themselves generational fruits of immigrants…
I know that from my high school history classes, and have learned much more since.
As a very nice gentleman I regularly converse with likes to say: “My home on native land.” That’s the real essence of the country for those who are born here, or came here by air, land or sea.
And so, in watching a 6-part documentary about the life and times of Malcolm X last weekend something kept me mentally locked, the notion of Black economics and self-sufficiency that he, like his counterpart the Rev. Martin Luther King, espoused in many of their public speeches.
It’s a subject that comes up in Black peoples’ conversation just about everyday. Only because people who truly believe in, and embrace the notion of community economic development as a requisite and viable tool to ensure long-term community viability and stability, and respect. The foundation and longevity of any community, then, must ensure that (a demographic of like-minded, progressive people must be in place for the long haul to ensure that we finally see signs of a real and cohesive community.
Malcolm X was a firm believer in the Power of Black Economics. In his speech The Ballot or The Bullet he makes it plain how buying Black benefits us. Conversely, he points out how not buying Black or creating our own opportunities can cause our communities to fail. According to Malcolm, “When you spend your dollar out of the community in which you live the community in which you spend your dollar becomes richer and richer; the community out of which you take your money becomes poorer and poorer.”
So, what are the business-minded people of this community going to do to celebrate next Black History Month 2021?