Black History: Some People Just Don’t Get It

February 12, 2011

Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.  MLK, Jr.

 

Who is MLK Jr. ?  I never thought I would get blank stares when I asked this question to anyone.  However, many young people I talk with are really not sure.  I would say that about 8 out of 10 African American 18 to 24 year-olds I interviewed in a large urban area, either are not sure or they believe he was the president at some point. 

While I am happy that some the younger members of our communities have the self-esteem to believe that a Black man could have been president in the past, I am frightened that they do not really know their history, even the basics.  Some of them have high school diplomas.  I thought to myself, “What the heck did you do at school all day?”.  

The bottom line is we are not teaching our youngsters history.  The cost is outlined above in King”s quote.  We are doomed to repeat the past if we don’t know the history.  We are not understanding our true value in history.  Some of the people I interviewed were living in very dangerous communities where the value of their own life and others’ lives were extremely minimized.  The cycles of violence in many communities have endured for some time.

So, do we need Black History Month?  Yes.  Some people argue that Black History is American History, and I wholeheartedly agree.   Some of the same people further argue that it should be integrated into any American history curriculum. Of course.  But we still need Black History Month.  It’s like Valentines’s Day.  It doesn’t mean we don’t love the people we love the rest of the year.  It’s just a day to do something special.

We need this month to do something special.  Take a youngster aside and make certain they have access to their history.  We are responsible for what happens next. 

See:  http://www.blackhistory.com/

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