Repost: Black History Month

Yes, this is a repost of an old column from my old website.  You didn’t read it there either, so no complaining.

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In honour of Black History Month, I’ve been keeping slaves.  They are, actually, quite racially diverse.  I didn’t pick them up based on race; I picked them up based more on who I could snatch off of the streets at 4 AM with the least effort.  I think I’ve cured a couple of them of drug addiction, and gotten a couple more addicted to beatings.  By the way, minorities are far better at housework than caucasians, but a caucasian can wash your car like nobody’s business.  Don’t worry; I’ll set them free at the end of the month.*

Most kidding aside, Black History Month, is, in my opinion, a wonderful chance for Americans of of cultures to study the many important contributions that African-Americans have made to the melting pot that is this country.  African-Americans like Frederick Douglas, Harriet Tubman, Miles Davis, Fran Metzger, Martin Luther King Junior,  Malcolm X, George Washington Carver, Oprah Winfrey, Maya Angelou, Bill Cosby, Richard Pryor, Will Smith, Michael Jordan, Michael Jackson before “Thriller”, Richard Roundtree, Marian Anderson, Colin Powell, and Dave Matthews (he was born in Johannesburg, South Africa) have all made their mark on American society and they deserve the month of February, the shortest month of the bloody year, to honour them.

Remember when I said “Most kidding aside”?  Here’s the rest of it.

First of all, I don’t believe in Black History Month.  Or Black Entertainment Television.  This disbelief comes from one idea and one idea only:  I don’t believe in anything that elevates one race over any others.  Where’s Asian History Month? Where’s Hispanic History Month?  Hell, where’s White History Month?  Our schools usually focus on European History until America comes into its own.  Having only been in one American public school system as a student, I can’t say whether African-American contributions to American History are adequately represented in our nation’s schools or not.  I had a good American History instructor who covered all the bases as much as possible, so I think I made out okay.  I can say that I would be more in support of an integration of black history into American history courses, as opposed to setting aside a separate month.  But while we’re at it, I want Asian, Native American, and Hispanic histories integrated as well.

Since it is Black History Month, let’s take a look at the state of African-Americans. . .hang about.  I’m going to start saying “black people” from here on out.  “African-American” is too much to type over and over again, and I seriously doubt that more than 10% of black people in this country have ever even been to Africa, let alone having actually been born there, and judging from SAT scores, I doubt that over 40% of black youth can even tell me where Africa is without using a bloody map.  To recap:  Dave Matthews:  African-American.  Any African-American not born in Africa:  black.  Now back to what I was saying.

Since it is Black History Month, let’s take a look at the state of black people in America today:  Michigan.  Seriously, or as serious as I ever get, the state isn’t a good one.  It’s Texas.  Again, I’m kidding.  Texas is Hispanic.

There are more affluent black people than, I think, ever before in the US.  However, once you take out the rap industry and professional sports, that figure goes down a lot.  There are also more educational opportunities available to black students than ever before. . .if they’d stay in school and make an actual effort to learn and better their situations.  There are more jobs available. . .if they don’t test for marijuana use.  More black men are in college than ever before. . .those that survived being ridiculed and occasionally shot by their hardcore gangsta friends in the hood.  Black people are living longer than before. . .if they don’t get shot by other black people over drugs, alcohol, women, whatever.  Black people now are more free to make of themselves whatever they want to be. . .if it wasn’t for the stereotype forced upon them by BET, the black music industry, their parents, the majority of “black” movies, their surroundings, and the friends that tell them that if they actually seem to be educated, well-spoken, and studious, then they’re trying to be white and they’re not keeping it real.  I’ve seen this happen again and again and again, and seen some really good students go downhill because of it, so excuse my bitterness.  Or not.

If I haven’t made it clear by this point, it is my whole-hearted opinion that the only thing keeping black people down is black people.  It’s not the government, it’s not the white man, it’s black people.  And until black people as a whole realize that, the work of all those black mentioned above, with the exception of Dave Matthews, will have been for nothing.

*: By the way, Mississippi had no law on the books abolishing slavery until 1995.  That year, Michael Moore, host of the show “TV Nation,” filmed a segment in which he gave a black man in Jackson, Mississippi four white slaves (they were actors, but you get the point).  He took these slaves around the city for a few weeks, going on tours of the capitol, asking if they had facilities that his slaves could use, and forcing them to sit on the sidewalk outside while he went into any businesses that didn’t allow pets.  The law was off the books before the show aired.

Solitary Traveller – 2/19/02

P.S.  I forgot to release my slaves after writing this.  They eventually won their freedom in very embarassing game of drunken twister.  I miss them.

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