Black History Month is a time where we are supposed to remember the ones who paved the way for us to get where we are now. We have this month, but not many people acknowledge the fact, and couldn’t care less to research our history.
I think they have that attitude because they don’t really know, and no one has ever taught them or told them more than what they actually know from school textbooks.
In schools, we learn about Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., etc., but, in my opinion, it is very sugar-coated. Kids nowadays are taught about Black history in schools, but not really “taught”, so they don’t know about the struggle that Blacks went through.
They don’t know that we were slaves, beaten, lynched, and killed for just being Black. We couldn’t vote; we didn’t have any say-so about anything. We weren’t even considered citizens. I think that should all be taught or at least talked about in schools, so that kids will know that we have come a long way and to appreciate that.
If you ask a high school student right now, “Who is Emmett Till”, I’m more than certain only a handful will be able to tell you who he is. There are a lot of Black people never talked about but who made a major impact on this world today. If you do your research, you will be surprised.
Roni Dean-Burren, a Texas native, and a former teacher and doctoral candidate at the University of Houston, feels the same way. One of her high school students sent her a caption from his textbook stating that, “we was real hard workers, wasn’t we.” They never mentioned the fact that “we” were slaves, but instead called us “workers”. They didn’t mention that we were kidnapped and were treated like trash, instead calling us “immigrants”. We were neither.
The teacher was outraged by this and made a post on Facebook and Twitter. This post captured the views of Black Lives Matter activists, and was widely shared by many people. This post alone got over 2 million views. The book’s publisher, McGraw- Hill Education, saw the post and promised to change the wording in the book.
Even though February is a short month, I think we should appreciate this month and take the time out to do research on our own. I don’t put all the blame on the school system because as you get older there are some things you should want to find out on your own.
Look into your heritage and see how the world has changed, and who made a difference.
February shouldn’t be the only month we celebrate and recognize Black history; it should always be recognized, no matter what month it is.
Marshala Young is a junior mass communication major from Shreveport, Louisiana.