Today's the 28th of February, which only means one thing: Spring Break!!! No... Sadly, the end of February evokes one of my favorite times: your end, Black History Month. I know you're wondering: 'What's wrong with this fool?' and 'Why would he want me to end?'. Just consider this, BHM. At the beginning of the month, you were the number 3 Trending Topic on Twitter (#blackhistorymonth). Today, you were nowhere to be found in the top ten, and after extensive Googling, I found you were somewhere among the 50s. Now, that's not to say that Twitter's fickle, ever-changing palate is indicative of the direction that your celebration is taking. Yet, one can't help but think that after, let's say Valentine's Day, the amount of attention that's paid to you decreases exponentially.
BHM, the reason I find you so lame is because, quite frankly, I don't believe we need you. In my 22 years on this planet, I've been witness to year after year of school productions, TV specials, random periodicals, store promotions, and now even sneakers all 'commemorating' your legacy. Since when has the recognition of a race's accomplishments in western world come standard Nike-trademarked footwear? It's even funnier that those sneakers did come out, considering the stereotype about black people and kicks. I'm surprised there isn't a blackhistorymonth.com at this point, with how much of a ploy you've become.
I think you've become a platform for everyone to slop on an extra helping of ethnocentric semantics over a plate of already-known facts. Seriously, BHM. Do we need you to remind us of our accomplishments? Shouldn't we lament these facts and pride points and people every day? Why take the shortest month, add your name to it, and for
BHM, you've given us a pass to be all about peace and black love and Afrocentricity for a month, without realizing that the people we celebrate today struggled 365 days, 24 hours and 7 days a week... AND they didn't have you to rile them up every 11 months. Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and the 3 other black historical figures my grade school history books talked about didn't do all that good stuff (along with a lot of bad; check MLK's rap sheet, seriously) because they knew they'd have a month of people quoting them and talking about them. They did it so that people could advance without the same fight. They didn't want you to be a celebratory 'month'. They wanted black history in the everyday little things, not just for a month. That's what King was talking about in the 'I Have a Dream' speech: his kids playing in the front yard, not a military coup or weeklong sit-in where everyone is singing 'Wade in the Water', donning dashikis and eating bean pies.
BHM, I won't sit here and say I'm on the frontlines in Libya dodging bullets for freedom, or in court still trying to litigate on Sean Bell's behalf, but I surely am trying to make something of myself. Your celebration shouldn't be a catalyst for our awareness and recognition of the 'struggle'. It should be a high point, if anything. We should be striving to make those legacies we hear about worth something every day. That's why I'm happy you're over. Now, we can get back to work. Now, we don't have your shadow over us to make EVERYTHING black. I can disagree with my black brethren without getting the 'self-hating black man' speech. We can just drop the 'month' and get down to making #blackhistory...