01 March 2006

Black History Month Over...Does that mean we only talk about whites now?

I was deeply impressed with Morgan Freeman's comments concerning Black History Month on 60 Minutes back in December 2005. In case you missed it, he essentially said that black history month was ridiculous. Read about it here. I could not agree more. I wrote a bit about this issue here.

When I teach American history, I refuse to be part of a "Coloured Only" month. The influence of blacks on America, as individuals and as a culture, is inarguable, immense, and vital to the understanding of American history; I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't integrate their history at every significant, as opposed to trivial, moment. My teaching of "black history" begins during the first or second week of school when we talk about the importation of the first slaves and the role of free blacks in colonial America. I never stop teaching "black history"; it is American history. Though I am white, it is my history. It is neither logical to teach American history in self-contained months outside of a narrative framework, nor is it conducive to a true understanding of equality.

Jay Nordlinger remarks in todays NRO:

"So, it's going ahead: The National Museum of African-American History and Culture will be built on the Mall, to be part of the Smithsonian Institution. I have not studied this issue, I must tell you — but, as usual, that won't prevent me from writing about it.

I have never liked segregation, in history or elsewhere. And if black Americans aren't part of the general American story, no one is. This new museum gives official, federal sanction to historiographic segregation. It is the Smithsonian's own February.

Well, if we must have such a museum — better make it good."

Historigraphic segregation: I like that phrase. Loaded but accurate. Unlike the Vice-President's gun.

Timely reporting and commentary (a story from December and a three week old shooting)...that's what the Ohoopee is all about.


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