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It’s Black History Month

What Does that Even Mean?

By Skyler SaundersPublished 22 days ago Updated 4 days ago 6 min read
Top Story - February 2024
It’s Black History Month
Photo by Oladimeji Odunsi on Unsplash

It’s Black History Month. “I don't even know what that means.” I took this previous sentence from a mostly white oriented film, Blades of Glory (2007) that made the phrase ever more popular in the culture. The phrase found its way on a hip hop song with the clean title, “In Paris” by Shawn “JAY Z” Carter and the artist formerly known as Kanye West, Ye.

By Christel F. on Unsplash

Like the two rappers, I took something white and made it negro, colored, African American, black, Foundational Black American (FBA), American Descendent of Slaves (ADoS), whatever they want to choose to call themselves, that’s what I did. That’s what these people have always done. Chitterlings become chitlins and a gourmet dish. Haute couture fashion becomes infused with streetwear. That is the majesty or the irony of a people. What about the individual, though?

Often people of a certain concentration of melanin get called out by other members of this likeness for talking “proper” or for sharing in activities with counterparts with lighter skin tones, blonder hair, and bluer eyes. I used to always find the pejorative “You act white!” to be demeaning and ignorant. I have since discovered that it was often an ill-acknowledged way of saying, “careful, you might be with those white people, but when the cops come, they’re going to have their knees on your neck.”

By Sean Lee on Unsplash

As a devotee of Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism, I can clearly state for a fact that her essay simply titled “Racism” is the quintessential piece of writing that puts the whole issue into perspective. She regards in her writing that racism is a “barnyard or stock-yard form of collectivism….” That’s spot on correct. To say that someone is beneath you simply by looking at the color of their skin is an affront to all rational thought. It limits and demeans the person hurling the insult or broken glass bottle.

With a mixed former president out of office, it would seem like the festering wounds of the country would have healed. Instead, someone threw gasoline on flesh and lit a match to it. It’s too easy to say that former president Donald Trump’s America through MAGA power ignited the blaze on the body of this nation. He was just the one who watched as the body blazed. What’s more important is the mind of America. She has been inundated with scene after scene of vicious hatred, spewed out through art and entertainment and live journalistic broadcasts.

By visuals on Unsplash

How she shrieks at the night terrors of injustice and the initiation of physical force, is beyond comparison than any other nation in the history of mankind. This is supposed to be the land of milk and honey. Instead, like Gil-Scott Heron pointed out, this country cries tears of blood every night for the people at the border, for the women who are sexually assaulted, for the white man unable to say a certain word without rebuke or threat of bodily injury or even death from blacks and others, for the thousands of innocents going into the prison system, never to return to civilization.

So what does Black History Month represent? Why is it just one month? Why is it designated to be recognized in one of the coldest months for millions of Americans? These questions have been answered, but let’s explore. Carter G. Woodson first started Negro History Week in 1926 in February around the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Over the years, the name changed and expanded to encompass the entire month.

By Jessica Pamp on Unsplash

Schools across the nation adopt units in relation to black people like the Harlem Renaissance with names like Hughes, Cullen, and Bontemps which quickly return to Steinbeck, Fitzgerald, and Shakespeare once the ice melts. Programs introduce dances, foods, ideas. They all serve to bring in the history of individuals who did not all originate in this country, though some did. Assemblies permit all races to see what people with darker skin, broader noses, and curlier hair all could offer. What does it all mean, though?

With constant contact and potential contact ever the issue of the hour, we have the opportunity to use learned machines to tell us who a given figure of the Civil Rights Movement may have been. What’s better than that, though? The Civil Rights Movement should have been named the Individual Rights Movement. Its goal could have been racial equality if equality only meant before the law and that context only. The march for jobs was absurd. There is no such thing as a guaranteed job. No matter if you have a excellent black man and a mediocre white man, the employer should be able to hire the white man. The results will tell. The white man will not be able to do the work and will have to clear out his desk and watch the intellectually gifted black man shake hands with his new employer.

So, what does it all mean? What do you do? Suggestions remain abundant. Turner Classic Movies (TCM) always broadcasts an array of black films and specials during their February schedule. Should you watch a documentary on acclaimed pioneer Oscar Micheaux? Maybe. Or not. You could call yourself black or of mixed races or whatever the case may be and you could still skip over the near onslaught of racial images and sounds. It won’t remove the color of your skin. You can bleach your skin all you want. You can alter your nose. What is most important is your intellectual capacity and your ability to think. That is what makes anyone truly human. It is not the designation of a week or even a month that gives an individual credit and dignity and self-esteem. It is the recipe of honor and grace that one carries oneself everyday.

By Inatimi Nathus on Unsplash

The giant fast food chain McDonald’s once had a slogan about 365Black. It didn’t go over as planned. They then changed the initiative to Black and Positively Golden®. They still employ dozens if not hundreds of pencil pushers to study the demographics about how blacks consume their relatively cheap, culinary products. Is all of it just to get at a buck? It should be. Businessmen and women ought to rejoice at the idea that black spending power is just over a trillion dollars. Capitalism, the only moral social system ever devised, is the solution to racism. If Black History Month is to be celebrated, it is with the concept of choosing private property and individual rights as the banners of the mind. The idea of a fully free America should consist of everyone engaged in the exchange of dollars which in reality, represent thought. Everything, every bit of blood and toil that stains the soils of Jamestown, Virginia, Watts, Los Angeles California, Detroit, Michigan, Chicago, Illinois, New York City, Atlanta, Georgia and all parts in between, the thread of black minds has been thoroughly woven into the fabric of this nation. If you’re going to represent just black people during this month, remember that it should be more than a month and more than a certain number of people. It should be for the individual.


About the Creator

Skyler Saunders

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Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

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Comments (8)

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  • Anna 6 days ago

    Congrats on Top Story!🥳

  • Naveed 13 days ago

    Outstanding! Keep striving for greatness—congratulations!

  • Richard Goodwin17 days ago

    Thank you for sharing your perspective. While we may differ on the role of capitalism and its relation to racism, your acknowledgment of the well-constructed arguments is appreciated. It's commendable how you engage with differing viewpoints while still finding value in the discourse. Additionally, if you're interested in "stitch SVG," I'd be happy to discuss further!

  • Raw and honest perspective

  • Kendall Defoe 18 days ago

    Well said!

  • Kenny Penn18 days ago

    Well done and persuasive, though I disagree Capitalism is either moral or the solution to racism. You make so many good arguments here though, like Trump not really being responsible for the spew of hatred that seemed to spread across the nation after Obama left. I can’t say enough good things about this piece, thanks for sharing Skyler!

  • Marysol Ramos21 days ago

    Well written, informative, poetic, honest, and it creates unity of all races. Thank you for taking the time to write and share this!

  • Naveed 21 days ago

    Well done!

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