Every February, I’m reminded constantly that it’s Black History Month. I see the NBA advertising it constantly, with the players wearing clothing or patches to commemorate the designated month each year we celebrate Black History.
You see it advertised on TV networks, little short commercials that preach the importance of Black History Month. You read articles about it online, and see people debating about its importance in the United States of America in 2023.
I’m here to tell you today that it’s not as important as other months of the year.
What the fuck, Jason? Do you hear yourself? Black History Month isn’t as important as the rest of the months? Are you kidding me with that, right now?
Well, it’s not as important as the rest of the months of the year. It’s MORE important than the rest.
Yes, you heard me. I didn’t stutter. It’s more important than other months of the year. And if you don’t understand why, that’s why it’s so goddamn important. So many Americans still don’t get it.
We’ve had over 500 years pass since the first slaves arrived in the place we now call the United States of America. Yet we are still not fully united. We’re not even close. We likely never will be.
Think about that. A half of a millennium to eradicate the disease and scourge of racism. And we’re further away from this happening than we were 10 years ago.
We’ve taken a backward step in regard to racism, bigotry, sexism, and homophobia. People like Donald Trump, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Ron DeSantis, and Lauren Boebert fight daily to ensure that America stays racist and bigoted. They want the division we have in this country to stay that way.
Well, I’m not taking their fucking bullshit. I will never be complacent and stop using my writing to fight for the rights of all marginalized people.
That’s why I always am aware and supportive of Black History Month, Gay Pride Month, and the Black Lives Matter movement. Don’t even get me started on the ignorant assholes who claim those things are racist against white people.
“Where’s our White History Month? I’m proud to be white, where’s my White Pride Month? Shit, I gotta go get my white robe from the cleaners before they close, we have a rally in the forest tonight. I hope those grass stains came out.”
And those who aren’t blatantly racist but spew watered-down, tone-deaf comments that support the systems and ideologies that hold minorities and marginalized groups back are just as guilty. If you don’t believe in your heart of hearts that liberty and justice are for ALL people, you’re the enemy.
I hear so many people belittle and trivialize the Black Lives Matter movement. They start a counter-movement such as “Blue Lives Matter” or “All Lives Matter”. They didn’t start and support these movements because stating the fucking obvious is clever and supportive.
They do it in retaliation because they don’t like being called out for their racist, bigoted bullshit. They are prideful and have the inability to empathize with and support other people’s struggles.
My stepchildren’s father flies a Blue Lives Matter flag on his home. He works as a prosecuting attorney and he’s white. He doesn’t understand that trivializing the Black Lives Matter movement is a slap in the face to his mixed-race, Asian children.
But he’s a stubborn one. That’s a big part of the reason my Bride left him many years ago. She got tired of the racist comments from his family and the lack of support from him when they’d make those comments in an off-hand way.
When you don’t fully support movements that center on equality for all and eliminating systemic racism, you are part of the problem. You think you’re being cute and funny with your “All Lives Matter” and “I want my White Pride Month” comments. But your ignorance is not even close to being amusing.
If things weren’t still as fucked up as they were during the days of slavery, perhaps we wouldn’t be having this conversation. When so many people of color are living in poverty, being discriminated against in the workforce, and even being killed in the streets by law enforcement for unjustifiable reasons, there’s still work to be done.
Stop being a deterrent to progress. Respect the struggles that people of color go through in our country. You cannot even begin to understand what it’s like to be black in America. Even an ally such as myself and my family members have no clue.
Have most people been discriminated against? Perhaps. Is it the same as what our African American neighbors and friends endure? Not even close. When you hold the power as a white citizen, you have no right to compare your self-perceived “struggles” to someone who truly has the deck stacked against them.
Try empathizing with people who have struggles and barriers that you know nothing about. Embrace learning more about other citizens' points of view. Don’t act prideful and ignorant about something just because you don’t understand it.
But understand this: Black citizens are still being killed by the police for the most bullshit reasons. You don’t face this same struggle as a white American. So don’t try to equate your personal struggles with our marginalized citizens.
And by God, if you say, “They should just work hard and pull themselves up by their bootstraps”, I’m going to show you some motherfucking bootstraps. Just try me.