Black History Month.
How do we understand this celebratory month?
What does it mean to us as black people?
For me, Black History Month is a token month allowing black people to celebrate our contributions to the world and british society. It is a month given to us, and society, to look at the history of black people in a positive and approving light. Whilst I agree that it is important to learn about black history and culture, I question the way in which some of us only focus on it in October. Certainly, we could use October as an opportunity to teach some ignorant folk about the power, magic and beauty of black people however, we are not just black in October …
I am Black. Everyday, every month, every year, my blackness reigns supreme and my history flows through my veins. My being black never stops and so, learning about my history never stops. It is continuous and an inherent part of my blackness, my identity. So why do I need a month?
I posed the question What does Black History Month mean to you? to my social media people and here are some of the responses I got:
No worries 😊 what I would like to say is… I love celebrating our history, as it inspires me to have courage in making a difference, as well as being different, and there’s nothing wrong with that. ✊🏾✊🏽✊🏿🖤💛🧡
What does Black History Month mean to me? Black History Month means celebrating the socially constructed “race” and its contributions to the Western world. It means understanding its history, before colonialism, before the slave trade. It means knowing the centuries of systematic oppression it’s endured, even in its own country. It means knowing that it still goes through life against the Eurocentric ideas of beauty every day. It means knowing that ‘black’ accents can hinder us from getting that house, or getting that job. It means acknowledging that issues of racial discrimination are still prevalent in the intricacies of our daily lives. It means fighting the institutions and individuals that promote racial discrimination every day. And it means supporting the empowerment of black men and women who face discrimination every day.
Black History Month means standing together with our black brothers and sisters in solidarity. It means sharing knowledge about the culture of people who are from the African and Caribbean communities.
It means understanding their pain while reflecting on the privileges others have.
What does Black History Month mean to me? It means all ethnic groups coming together, recognising our differences but respecting what we bring to the table. It means seeing black people as equals.
May your month be filled is knowledge, wisdom and peace. Happy Black History Month!
To me, Black History Month is a time in which the world can recognise us as more than ‘slaves’ and all of our achievements and success are celebrated. This is a time where we can look back and see the progression we have made from our ancestors. A time to embrace ourselves and embrace and support one another.
Thank-you to our contributors and Happy Black History Month!