Friday, February 5, 2010

Black History Month

As most of you are aware, February is the government sanctioned and approved month for celebrating racism. Yes, racism; not the overcoming of racism.

Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. would not have approved and I believe would have been outspoken against "Black History Month". MLK had a dream that we, as a country, would get beyond black and white - that the color of a person's skin would not determine good or bad about them. He looked forward to our only judgement being about the person himself, what is his character?

The very essence of Black History Month flies in the face of overcoming racism. By it's nature, it is designed to keep race, especially black against white, as a front-line issue. As long as we continue to have segregated celebrations, colleges, chamber of commerces, etc.; we will continue to promote racism.

Racism is not just bad when it is white supremacy, it is also bad when it is black supremacy. The skin-heads, Nazis and KKK are on the same level as the Black Panthers, the Weather Underground and Malcolm-X. Both extremes are wrong and both are racist. Racism is the belief that one race should not be on the same level as the others, whether above or below. To believe that blacks belong on a lower level than whites or the opposite, that black-power rules, is racism.

In our country, when white people promote an exclusively white organization or event, they can expect a knock on the door by the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People). The next thing they know, they are in court trying to defend their racist policies. But, when black people promote an exclusively black organization or event, there is a double-standard and nothing happens. Why? One reason is the same as was brought up during the last presidential campaign - "white guilt". Evidently, there are those in positions of power and authority that believe the white people have something to feel bad about as it relates to blacks and for that reason, we should allow the blacks to have racist policies that blacks would not allow whites to have. In some strange and twisted logic, that is supposed to make things better.

There is one other explanation for no one doing anything about things such as Black History Month, the National Black Chamber of Commerce, the NAACP, etc.; and that would be that we do not care. We do not believe that we have to sue someone every time they promote the people in their race or defend exclusively their own race.

Either way, the segregation of such things based on race will never help solve the lingering issue of racism. Blacks do not like being excluded from "white-only" country clubs and they shouldn't. But, they do not seem to have a problem with black-only clubs or colleges.

We are racist or we are not. It is not just racism when whites discriminate against blacks, it is racism when blacks exclude whites. It is racism to have Black History Month just as it would be to have White History Month. It would be racist to have a Chamber of Commerce to promote the businesses of only white people, so why is the opposite acceptable? It should not be!

For some reason in this country, the concept is promoted that only whites can be racist and when other races do what whites are not allowed to do, it is acceptable. When the pendulum swings from one side to the other, we have not solved the issue of racism. Until it settles at the mid-point, where neither side has advantage and neither side desires advantage, we will not get past this. Racism will end when race, of any color or nationality, ceases to be an issue or a means for self-promotion. Until African-Americans become Americans (period), racism will continue.

Blacks should be protesting against Black History Month (whites cannot do that because it would just be seen as racism). They should be demanding that it be changed to American History Month where the good and bad of our history is taught about the various groups of people who have come together to make America what it is today. In each and every stage of American history there have been men and women of all colors play prominent roles - just as there have been the same doing terrible things against their fellow Americans.

We, as a nation, have recently elected a black president. If you opposed him during the campaign or his policies since he took office, you were labeled as being racist. No one wanted to point out that it is racist to be for President Obama because he is a black man.

We must get beyond the color of skin and see deeper into the soul of the person. I believe that a strong majority of Americans are not racist and that the racist beliefs of the minority are not acceptable to the majority. Yet, it is the outspoken minority that gets the attention. We will continue to have this discussion until the blacks tell Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton to stay home and mind their own business.

5 comments:

  1. A celebration or recognition of ethnic or denominational heritage is not necessarily an assertion of separatism or supremacy. Most historically Black colleges admit white students. The institutions are currently known as "historically" Black colleges, recognizing their heritage from a time of rampant discrimination.

    The dissolution of these colleges would pose a problem for their alumni organizations. Recent graduates would also find a problem in requesting the issuance of transcripts for those schools or employers who prefer to receive transcripts directly from the issuing college or university.

    Looking to the Northeast and the Midwest, please consider that millions of Americans claim ancestors who arrived in recent generations, their grandparents or great-grandparents from Poland, Italy, Ireland and Russian shtetls (the segregated Jewish settlements of Imperial Russia). These Americans recognize a heritage that is not generically "white," but specifically Polish, Irish or Jewish.

    It is not unusual for ethnic groups to have social clubs and business groups. Their clubs host community dances or local parades. I know of American cities that honor Pulaski Day, honoring the Revolutionary War martyr and founder of the US Cavalry Kasimir Pulaski. Americans of Polish heritage commissioned a statue of Revolutionary War hero Thaddeus Kosciuszko. This was not an assertion of supremacy or separateness or refusal to integrate. These were assertions of American identity: These are reminders that Americans of Polish heritage have a place in American history, and American life.

    In his book "Ethnic America: A History," columnist Thomas Sowell remarked that Americans of Italian, Irish and Jewish heritage have particularly strong sentiments about their ancestral homelands. This does not detract from American patriotism or public service.

    Sowell observed that although Italian-Americans were only 4% of the US population at the time, Italian-Americans accounted for 10% of US casualties in World War One.

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  2. You write, "Until African-Americans become Americans (period), racism will continue."

    What about Italian-Americans and Irish-Americans? Must these groups take the flags down from their pubs and restaurants? Must they take the Irish flag plates and decals from their motor vehicles? Must they stop giving their children ethnically distinctive names like Brigit?

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  3. You do notice that you stated that "most" black colleges admit white students. Also, the other examples you gave have to do with nationalities, not race. "Black" is not a nationality, it is a race. Personally, I have no problem with there being a black college, etc.; what I do have a problem with is the hypocracy. The "black" leaders in this country would lead riots if a "white" college opened or if a "white" CofC opened to promote the business of white-owned businesses.

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  4. There is nothing "hypocritical" about the establishment of "historically black" colleges. They were established when most colleges and universities did not admit African-American students.

    If said "most" now admit white students, just as there are men who earn degrees from Vassar, historically a "women's" college. If you know of any one college that refuses to admit any white students, mention the school by name and discuss its policy.

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  5. No one said anything about the "establishment" of black colleges being hypocritical. I imagine, that at the time, it was absolutely necessary as many other colleges in certain parts of the country would not admit blacks. My point, in the blog, is not focused on a specific issue such as there being "black colleges", it is concerning the double standard, in general. My mention of black colleges, CofC's, etc.; were just examples. The point is that racism, of any sort, from any color, is unacceptable. To me, it seems that our country has swung from one extreme (whites feeling superior to blacks) to the other side where blacks now have advantages over whites in some areas, such as college admittance, government grants, some jobs, etc.

    Taking a wrong done by prior generations and over-correcting it in the present generation, does not make it right, fair, balanced or equal.

    We have politicians who appear to want the "race" issue to stay on the front page. They gain something from racism not going away and so they continue to play the "race card", even when it should not apply. They are quick to yell "racism" any time one party to a situation was black and the other was white. It is as if they can see no possibility for any negative interaction between men of different color, other than based on racism. Of course, that is ridiculous. Some of these people have not sought equality between the races, but superiority and extra benefits.

    My point, again, is that my desire is for real equality - balanced in the middle. If the blacks want a Black CofC or country club, fine. But don't sue when you find a white country club. That is the hypocracy I am talking about.

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