Black History Month 

Let's Talk About: Black America

By: Sadia Islam

There are two types of America in this country, even in the tiny little bubble called Gloucester, so allow me to enlighten you; let’s talk about Black America. In honor of Black History Month, it feels more than necessary that we all educate ourselves in Black history, and the ups and downs of those living in Black America. I am sure we are all familiar with famous Black historical figures such as: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, Malcom X, John Lewis, W.E.B Dubois, and Sojourner Truth to name a few. The majority of us remember these brave, fearless individuals for fighting to put an end to segregation,  racism, and oppression in America: but, the reality is that this fight against racism and oppression is still living even if these key leaders are not. Black History Month was created in order for Americans to acknowledge the important roles that many Black men and women hold in United States history. However they are often overlooked, due to the white men and women who are standing before them. This month was also created in order to teach Black children of their history that is frequently neglected in the classroom, and to help them understand their identity and align with their culture, which has been marginalized by the public for decades. 

Black America, is an America of: fear, trauma, systemic racism, ignorance of white privilege, accusations of reverse racism, white supremacy, microexpressions/internalized racism, the Ku Klux Klan, racial slurs, cultural appropriation, sexualization, and even more. In Black America every aspect of life is different, due to the barriers that this country has been built on, that are still being publicly exhibited in our world today. Racism did not end, oppression is not over. It is simply a privilege to believe that it was, that when Martin Luther King told America about his dream all of the hate in the world simply disappeared.

We must educate ourselves about the systemic racism that still lives and breathes in our society and our government today. This can be seen through law enforcement, healthcare, employment, and education. We as Americans must identify the microexpressions and behaviors of internalized racism that occur when seeing a man or woman consciously take a strong side step strangling their purse or wallet when walking past a Black man. Allies have to take a stand against racial injustices whether it be through donating to the NAACP, signing petitions to make sure that justice is served for innocent Black Americans such as: Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Nathaniel Julius, Tamir Rice, and unfortunately so many others, or practicing the first amendment right to protest. The 21st century requires more Black representation in every capacity; although we have made significant strides in the past years with Barack Obama becoming the first ever Black President of the United States, following up in 2021 with the very first Black and South Asian woman Vice President, Kamala Harris, and the first Black Senator for the state of Georgia, Raphael Warnock. All due to the efforts of powerful Black women organizers including Stacey Abrams who upholds democracy, time and time again despite the history of voter suppression. This path to representation has to continue for the following generations; people to identify with and have more diversity in every spectrum. We also owe it to Black Americans to acknowledge the culture that has been appropriated into trends like: streetwear, gold hoops, cornrows, acrylics, “sneakerhead” culture, name plated necklaces. This does not even take into account music such as: hip hop, rap, R&B, jazz, and more. And for those who have it, must accept their white privilege instead of denying its existence, and use that privilege to get justice and equality for those that have been denied the opportunity to live peacefully. 

Whether it is acknowledged or not, right now in this moment, we are all a part of history. A history that will be discussed in Black History Months to come, describing the fight for equality and justice that embodies the Black Lives Matter movement and will identify those who fought on which side of this battle. Are we on the side of humanity or are we on the side of prejudice? This Black History Month educate yourself, become aware of the global issues in our everyday lives, support Black owned businesses, fight to further Black representation in America and ignite change. 

Posted by rdonohue On 01 February, 2021 at 2:42 PM