We are amid Black History Month, this month we take the time to honor our heroes and teach others about our heroes. The main reason I enjoy Black History Month is that every year I learn about one person who I had no previous knowledge of, I am no spring chicken so learning about these people now is not something I am proud of. Knowledge of these great black people should be common.
Through my school years and my children schools’ years during Black History Month, we would discuss mainly the same individuals. The individuals discussed are extraordinary people, but the list of people was limited. The people we would discuss were Martin Luther King Jr, Harriet Tubman, and Frederick Douglass; I enjoyed learning about them but each year it was basically the same information being regurgitated. I think it is a shame that our children are not taught about the vast number of great Black people in this world. Take the movie Hidden Figures, I knew nothing of these great women, oddly enough many well educated Black people knew nothing of them as well. Can you imagine our little black girls being taught about these extraordinary black women for the last 50 years, the impact of this knowledge may have had on our community? There countless other Black people who are not well known and should be. People such as Frederick Douglass Patterson, Bernard Harris, Reginald Lewis, Guion Bluford, Bessie Stringfield, Dr. Shirley Jackson and Lonnie G. Johnson just to name a few. There was a time when Black people could not hold a patent, so who took credit for all those inventions? What would Black wealth look like if Black people did hold the patents to their inventions?
My point to this is to say it is truly a shame that we do not know about our heroes in the same way we know about other race’s heroes. There people who idolize traitors to this country like, General Robert E. Lee but these same people dismiss Black people with great accomplishments. I believe there is a reason to hide this history from us and the rest of the world, by allowing this information to become common knowledge we would realize the greatness in ourselves and America would have to admit it would not be great without us
After having a conversation with some youths, I determined that they were under the impression that much of the world is Caucasians. The lead me to wonder how did this mindset come to be? Do other people in different parts of the world believe the same thing? Do other people in different parts of the world believe that being white is superior?
With regards, the young men I was speaking with I can understand why they thought the much of the world’s population are Caucasians. Most of the people they see on TV, in schools and in positions of authority are Caucasians. I then remembered watching a video interview with a Reggaetón rapper Tego Calderone, in this interview he talked about being discriminated against because he has darker skin and appears to black instead of looking more like would some people would envision Puerto Ricans resemble. This led me down a different path of thinking, I began wondering how someone could discriminate against someone who has the same culture, speaks the same language, and they live their entire life on the same island. I may be naïve on somethings but for me, I understood the discrimination here in the United States because black people and white people are different culturally, the institution of slavery, the disparity of laws towards black Americans, and the economic benefits to discrimination. With Tego the only difference is the tone of their skin.
Before I go on I must admit I am not as well versed on world history as others, but I have not read or heard of any other time in history before slavery in America where discrimination based on skin color was prevalent. I may be wrong if so please inform me. If I am right, has racism and discrimination in America infected the rest of the world? I started to recall stories that I have read and heard where people of darker skin being treated differently around the world, South America, Asia, Australia, and Europe. If so, I find this fascinating that a small percentage of the world’s population have convinced the rest of the world that is better to be white.
I hope I am wrong on all my assertions. If I am right this means white people do not have to discriminate against black people we will do it to each other. Racism is on auto-pilot!!!!