Black History Century
by Paul Alexander
Let’s think about time. And place.
What place created a world so bad that something called “Black History Month” needed to be created to try in some small way to fix the evil that had been perpetrated against people named as ‘black’?
People who had named themselves ‘white’ as part of a domination strategy named other people as ‘black,’ or ‘negro,’ or ‘colored’ in order to justify exploiting, controlling, and profiting from them.
Toward this end, the lies of ‘white’ superiority and the lies of ‘black’ inferiority had to be created and promulgated.
Accomplishments of ‘white’ people became mainstream truth for all people (of all racings) to see, learn, and believe. This is systemic and widespread invented proof for ‘white’ superiority.
Accomplishments of ‘black’ people were hidden and even deterred and prohibited when possible. This is systemic and widespread invented proof of ‘black’ inferiority.
We are all people of African descent, but people of relatively recent African descent (the last few hundred years) who also appear physically more like darker-pigmented Africans continue to experience prejudice, racism, discrimination, and violence.
“African American” names two places and brings to light the geographical history of people who identify this way.
The same is true for “Asian Americans.”
However, “white” hides geography, place, and history.
“European American” is a category that reveals place and history in particular ways that are better than the lie of ‘white.’
Much of the dominant history, laws, and culture of the USA were written, created, and enforced by European Americans, that is, immigrants and descendants of immigrants from Europe. I like the idea of relegating it to just one month per year and having “European American History Month.”
It would be good to focus on the contributions of European Americans for just one month per year. That would leave the other 11 months open for other history and culture. The too-often invisible domination of European Americans would then be more visible by being named and put on the calendar and studied alongside other people of the world, especially those with migratory histories like European Americans.
I also propose that we observe African American History Century, which could begin this year. It could end in 2115. Each year of African American History Century could contain a European American History Month.
African American History Century could be a 100-year focus not only on the lives and realities of African Americans but also a strengthening of efforts to dislodge the assumed normality and neutrality of whiteness and dismantle white privilege. ‘White’ superiority and ‘white’ supremacy are untruths that need to be exposed wherever they are propagated and replaced with the truths of human equality and dignity regardless of the geographic migratory history of one’s ancestors.
So check yourself for implicit biases, celebrate the accomplishments of African Americans, and work in solidarity to change culture and policies that continue to disenfranchise people of all racings.