February. This is the month that has been set aside to recognize the achievements and past struggles of the black race in America. Of course, we will hear the stories of heroes such as Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, and the “immortal” Dr. Martin Luther King , Jr. These stories inspire us to overcome the bonds which have held us down and also show that if we want to achieve anything, no one can stop us. However, the novelty of Black History Month is beginning to wear off. Today’s youth seem to care less about BHM and only mention it when it seems to benefit them most (Remember “By any means necessary”?). No one seems to care about the struggle our forefathers went through so we can have the freedoms we enjoy today. I like how Morgan Freeman described BHM. He typically said there shouldn’t be a Black History Month because Black History is part of American History. Now, being a black person myself, I don’t have to go far to understand my fellow black folks. I know all about my race. I didn’t have to study black history because, essentially, I am black history. When I was young, I couldn’t see the point of a BHM. Excuse me, but, I still don’t. I have nothin against Black History Month, but a lot of what I’ve learned about my ancestry I believe I would have learned anyway without setting a month aside to do so. Anyway, that is not the main point of this post.
Now, for my point. One of the themes we will hear continuously this month (though not as much as in time past) is MLK’s I Have a Dream speech. This inspirational oratorical has inspired many people of all races, especially among the black race. We will hear this speech in our churches, on commercials between TV programs, on the radio…you get the idea. However, I have to say something that is not going to go over too well with my “bruthas” and “sistas”: Most of us shouldn’t even celebrate the holiday commemorating MLK or Black History Month. (gasp!) What are you talking about Mr. Brown? Well, do you remember the part of MLK’s speech that talks about being judged by the content of your character and not the color of your skin? That is a lesson we in the black race have yet to learn. Personally, I have been criticized about the color of my skin by black folks a lot more than by white folks.
Here’s the scenario: A black preacher, who preaches about the love of God and rants and raves about I Have a Dream, has a lovely black daughter who made good grades in school and is now college-bound. She goes to school for four years, gets a great job, and her father is beaming with pride. One day, she mentions she has met a really great young man and has fallen in love with him. Eventually, he proposes to her and they plan to get married. She wants her father to meet him. However, there is one problem: her fiance is white, a fact that becomes apparent when her father finally meets his future son-in-law. The pride this man has had for his daughter expires. He is angry, upset, confused. It isn’t like his daughter’s husband-to-be is mistreating her. He treats her like the lady she is, something missing with other black would-be-suitors. The only hang-up this man has with his daughter’s future groom is that he’s white. I Have a Dream has now become a nightmare; the love that God has for all mankind has gone out the window. How could she do this? After all that her mother and I sacrificed to give her the best; she has to go and marry a white man! He tries to explain his disapproval by saying his daughter will be the subject of public ridicule if she marries outside her race. It doesn’t matter, she says, because she loves him. If others have a problem with it, that is their problem, not hers. Her father, however, can’t get past his own prejudices and this causes a lot of tension between him and his daughter. She marries her Caucasian love interest, but without the support of her father who is now estranged from his daughter. Just an example, but situations like this play themselves out every year.
Myself, I could care less about if one is black, white, Hispanic, Chinese, or whatever. I understand I Have a Dream and that it applies to all races. Growing up, I had both white friends and black friends; it made me no difference because I saw everyone as being human. When I listen to music, I take no consideration into the race of the artist. I am a big-time Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir fan. Brooklyn Tabernacle is comprised of nearly 250 members from all races and nationalities. When they sing, it sounds like heaven coming down to earth. Someone noticed me listening to one of their CDs and wondered why I like listening to those white people. Hey, I like CeCe Winans, Babbie Mason, and Alvin Slaughter (all black), as well. We black folks need to grow up. Just because we’re black doesn’t mean we can’t be prejudice. Calling a white man a “cracker” is just as bad as calling a black man the “n”-word. Yet, black folks use the word “cracker” all the time. Let a white man call a black man the “n”-word and he is racist slime. Yet we black folks use the “n”-word as an insult to one another constantly.
Finally, and I don’t want to sound redundant, we just need to grow up and over come the injustices in our past. Yes, racism still exists but all white people aren’t racist. We as black folks need to erase that “Victim” tattooed on our foreheads and open our minds to the truth so we can really live in freedom. Then, MLK”s words will have real meaning in our lives.
Have a good day and I’ll see you on the rebound.