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Letter to the Editor: Black history month fails to meet expectations

Letter to the Editor: Black history month fails to meet expectations

[quote]By Okeoghene Metitiri
Guest Writer
Graphic by Ana Biccoli[/quote]

Dear Editor,

I’m writing this on the last day of Black History Month as I reflect on how I remembered the
achievements and culture of black people in my history this past month. Honestly, I’m extremely
disappointed, but then again I’m not surprised. In a society where the appreciation of black
people’s history and achievements is not only neglected and ignored, black pride is seen as
offensive and racist. Recently, Beyoncé performed at the Super Bowl with dancers resembling
the Black panthers and singing her newest song “Formation” featuring lyrics praising her roots
and flaunting her blackness.

In response to her performance and video, in which she laid on top of a sinking police car, many
condemned Beyoncé for elevating hatred towards police and emphasizing racist attitudes.
Some even coordinated protests in New York City to contest her promotion of black pride. As I
read about these responses I couldn’t help but wonder: What was so offensive about black
pride? Why did so many people have a problem with a BLACK woman having pride in being
BLACK? Thinking about this, I couldn’t help but tie it to Black History Month. Every
February I always hear “why isn’t there a white history month?” “Why isn’t there a ___ history
month?” And every time I feel as if everything that blacks make their own gets smudged out to
be more inclusive, like the movement #BlackLivesMatter. The hashtag and movement
was created to draw awareness to the injustice against Black lives in police brutality. However,
as soon as the movement started started to pick up #AllLivesMatter was started to counteract
the BLM movement.

Whatever your views are on BLM is up to you, but the movement is not to serve in saying that
black lives are more important than other lives. It is to draw awareness to the fact that not all
lives are being treated equally and black lives matter too. The same is applicable to the BET
Network, NAACP Image Awards, Black History Month, and Black Out Day. These outlets and
movements are not to hold up black people to be superior but to appreciate us as a community
in a society in which we do not feel appreciated.

Stacey Dash, a Fox News contributor, recently said that Black History Month only brought back
segregation attitudes. When I heard this I couldn’t help but laugh because in my eyes
segregation never left. That separate but equal mentality only evolved in our society. Look at the
hair section in your local store, why is there a need to have a super tiny “ethnic section” with
aisles of products tailored to Caucasian individuals. Yes, everyone has their hair products
(equal) but you still have “ethnic” and regular sections of the aisle.
At the end of the day, I’m not gonna change the minds on race with this letter. But I do want to
make it clear that black appreciation or any outlets in which oppressed and minority groups uplift
themselves is not anti-white.

We’re giving ourselves the opportunity of appreciation when society won’t do it on its own. So when Beyoncé sings ” I like my baby hair with baby hair and afros. I like my negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils”, t’s not a put down to people without
those features. It’s a cry to say I love who I am and I don’t need you to show me appreciation to
feel appreciated. As we go into the rest of March and towards the end of the school year, don’t let
black appreciation offend you. Black history is American history for sure, but when it’s not
appreciated, February is a time set aside to not only see where we as blacks have been, but
how far we have come and contributed to towards the history books. Even if you’re not black,
appreciate black history and culture because it’s important too. You may not always be a part
part of the conversation, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care. I am black and I am proud.
Black history is my history.

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Comments (22)

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  • J

    jeffMar 17, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    Nice. why does the media and liberal agenda always make everything a race issue? why can’t we just be treated as equal men and women?

  • S

    SuperManMar 17, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    Honestly I hate when people try and say “Why isn’t there a white history month” there is and it is every other month. I think that we should not confine remembering black history to one month, when we should remember the hardships and sacrifices of those who fought for civil rights every single day. Famous African Americans like Morgan freeman say that black history month isn’t fair.

  • A

    Anon E. MusMar 16, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    1.Before we begin, let me just say that nobody cares how big the hair care section is at the store. That is a first world problem. A majority of the people that live in this area, especially the suburbs are Caucasian, so it’s justified. It’s also irrelevant.

    2. Black Lives Matter is a protest against police brutality. Unfortunately, these protests often turn violent, prompting them to be characterized as public nuisances.

    3. For all intents and purposes, the Black Panthers are a gang that is built on the basis of combating police using methods of violence and harassment.

    What I’m trying to say is, this negative connotation isn’t a racial issue, it’s an economic issue, and it unfortunately affects the African American community. Why isn’t police brutality an issue in our suburban neighborhoods? Because the setting for police brutality is always the same. Poor urban neighborhoods with extensive amounts of crime, and gang and drug problems. This starts with jobs in this country. Low income and unskilled labor gets more youth off the streets and is the real way to combat police brutality and racial tensions. Indirectly, more jobs=more hair care shelves and oscars. First world problems much.

  • L

    LaurenMar 16, 2016 at 10:03 am

    While I agree with the majority of this article, I can’t help but disagree with your opinion on hair products. I agree that the “ethnic” section in most convenience/beauty stores is severely smaller than what you call the “Caucasian” section, I don’t think that the “Caucasian” section is that at all. I understand that black men & women have different hair care needs than the majority of others, and hair products are tailored as such, but saying that any products not tailored to black men & women are made for Caucasian people is a gross overstatement. Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian people all use these products, and they use them for a reason. If I (a Caucasian girl) were to use a product labeled in the Ethnic section, my hair would probably react differently than it would to the shampoo I normally use, because people have different hair types. Products were designed that way not as a racial barrier, but because physically there is a difference in what a certain person needs to keep their hair healthy.

  • M

    MichelleMar 15, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    Maybe if you googled institutional racism you would understand that the current state of the black community is not entirely our fault. Or you could just not try to eduate yourself. No biggie. 😉

  • S

    sannahBMar 14, 2016 at 5:28 pm

    The fact that you are categorizing the black community with these statistics is exactly why there is a such thing as a black pride. What is Black history celebrating you asked? Well, when it comes to black people, society likes to focus on all the negative aspects: the crime, the low-income , the “ghetto-ness” of our community. But black history Month and black movements are created to help uplift and instill pride in the black community and celebrate our past, present, and future. It is so ignorant to say that the black community has :failed over and over again.” There are so many people within our community trying to help solve our issues and improve the community. Also, why are you categorizing a whole group of people by the work of one man (Obama), who actually has done a lot considering the amount of issues America was originally in when he came into office. One of the main reasons there are many black people struggling today especially in inner city’s, is because of the oppression that we have faced ever since being brought to this continent. Its gonna take a lot longer that a year or two to fix the economic and social problems which have been hurting black people ever since we became free citizens.
    One another thing, If you sit here and have the nerve to say that we have failed “over and over” again then you really don’t know much about the black community and also should not be giving advice on what black history month “should” be doing.
    The contributions that black people have made to american history are endless, and that’s why EVERYONE should appreciate/celebrate BHM.

  • M

    Molly L.Mar 14, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    I strongly disagree with this article as a white woman. Yes, I love black history month, and I do love to celebrate black pride, if you look back on history, Black Panthers was not a power organization. They attacked white people in the forms of murder, rape, etc. Beyonce’s performance involving Black Panthers could be equivalent to a white performer dressing up their dancers as KKK members. That would offend people, wouldn’t it? Now you know how non-blacks feel! I cannot believe in this day and age how some people find disrespecting police officers empowering. Yes, not all police officers are the best people, but the majority are. They are one of the main reasons society maintains its safety. So next time a BLM activist makes a post like “F the police,” they should keep in mind that one day, they may need the police officers if their house gets robbed or invaded by burglars, and they’ll eventually regret making that post. Not to mention that there are many colored police officers in the force right now. The media uses Michael Brown or Trayvon Martin cases to portray police officers as racist white people that claim to protect citizens but are bullies in real life. Don’t listen to the liberal media. All they’ll tell is lies. Go ahead. Call me a racist bigot, but once again, I have no problem with black pride, but I don’t appreciate how it’s been taken way too far.

    • S

      sannahBMar 15, 2016 at 7:49 pm

      nahhh man see the KKK cant be compared to Black Panther Party. The Black Panther party was created to protect the black community and black neigborhoods from acts of police brutality. Some of the Black Panther Party’s main goals were to instill equality in education, housing, employment, etc. Also, the black panther party also supported other oppressed people not just black people. The Black Panther Party was created during the late 60s when although all black people legally had their rights, they still were not being treated equally and still to this day continue to be oppressed. yes, they were willing to use violence to carry out their goals if needed but this is totally different from the KKK, who basically committed violent acts just because they didn’t like anyone who was different from them.The kkk promoted racism and white supremacy. There is a huge difference between wanting to promote black pride and wanting to promote white supremacy. The panther party and the kkk are totally different.

      Im reaaaalllly sorry you are offended or feel threatened by beyonces performance. But I loved it, and Im glad that it had some influence from the black panther party. If you really “love celebrating black pride” then you would have loved her performance as well.

      • M

        Molly L.Mar 16, 2016 at 3:34 pm

        The Black Panther party would have been great if they didn’t use extreme violence. I cannot believe some people justify their actions to be reasonable due to the fact that it was based on black pride. Black pride is great. Violence is not. Yes, I do love to celebrate black history, but any group that uses violence to achieve political or social gain is disrespectful. Yes, I know their intention was to promote black pride, and yes, they can be compared to the KKK. Both believed in superiority to their race, and both committed murders and rapes to achieve their goals.

    • S

      SuperwomanMar 16, 2016 at 6:17 pm

      Molly, I sort of agreed with you right up until you said “don’t listen to the liberal media. All they’ll tell is lies.” That just turned your whole post irritating to read.

      You are obviously entitled to share your opinion, but please keep this away from liberalism. Black Lives Matter and liberalism are hardly correlated. It’s annoying to hear someone bring this up and constantly bring the parties up for no apparent reason.

      Plus, KKK just hated anyone non-white basically. The Black Panthers did use violence, but sometimes it was just to gain their rights. The KKK is just a bunch of rednecks who don’t like anyone who isn’t a white person (and I think it goes deeper with religion.)

      But other than that, well said (for most of your post).

    • J

      jeffMar 17, 2016 at 3:25 pm

      way to go i was hoping someone on here wasn’t some white sheep, though i don’t understand why a white person would celebrate black pride. i just wish someone would ask this one question if many blacks who say whites are all like this way or its open season on killing white cops as king noble did and other rap artists then why do black lives matter people and the NAACP movements wonder why we young prideful whites as myself get infuriated. Hey black lives matter people number one all american lives matter what you’re saying is dumb, and second any blank statement like all whites are racist for seeing other cultures for their differences or are nerdy and week that’s also racist. one more things the reason cops profile people is because it works and they aren’t stupid enough not too use common sense from facts and statistics.

  • D

    DonMar 14, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    I don’t have a problem with celebrating the contributions and accomplishments of black people in history. They are already celebrated, though, in “mainstream” history. I think you would be hard-pressed to find a history textbook that doesn’t mention Martin Luther King, Jr., Booker Washington, Harriet Tubman, George Washington Carver, and a host of other black people. Those of us who consider ourselves having moved beyond racism in our personal lives find ourselves bristling when these kinds of celebrations occur. They are racist by their very nature. We would prefer that the color of one’s skin isn’t a consideration. For anything. We think that Black History Month separates us into Us and Them, rather than bringing us together.

    Regarding Beyonce, none of the articles about her performance that I’ve read mentioned her lyrics. They concentrated on the Black Panther and police connotations. That’s where the issue is, not “black power”. You ask “What was so offensive about black pride?” Ask yourself what would be so offensive about someone campaigning for “white pride”? Did you just think about the KKK? Or Neo-Nazis? The black pride movement began (I think) with the Black Panthers. They were, and still are, a pro-violence group. In the 1960’s, Black Pride was proclaimed with an upraised fist and Beyonce’s performance had an undercurrent of incitement to violence.

    The #BLM movement was begun after several high-profile individuals mis-represented what happened in Ferguson, Missouri. It wasn’t a simple case of police brutality against an innocent, un-armed black teenager. That teenager was attacking the officer. That’s why the commission didn’t find any fault or wrong-doing by the officer. That’s also why the #ALM movement appeared, in order to counter the mis-information.

    We all want racism to disappear. We just think that Black History Month isn’t helping and is actually hurting.

  • A

    Alex MurrayMar 14, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    I think other races are a little fed up with all the attention that black people are getting. They complain about not having any black people in this awards show but then they get there own awards show exclusively for black people. I believe that everyone should take pride in who they are. I think people were still uneasy with the police brutality cases in recent memory when Beyoncé performed. There are people who compare slavery to the holocaust, even if it was similar, though, the Jewish community aren’t complaining about it to the Germans. but basically what I’m trying to say is that both sides are a little to uneasy and sore about the topic of race and the best part is we are one of the only countries that are this concerned with the topic. my dad often goes to Canada for work, when he speaks to Canadians about the racial problem in america they respond wondering why we care so much. now, I mean nothing in this post offensively toward either side, I just simply think everyone is being a bit dramatic.

    • 9

      91254987Mar 16, 2016 at 8:02 am

      Well said. Yep that’s all I have to say.

    • S

      sannahBMar 16, 2016 at 3:02 pm

      America was basically built off of racism which is why it is still to this day a huge deal. Yes, it is an uneasy or uncomfortable topic for some but that shouldn’t stop anyone from addressing the issue. The only reason this country progressed the way it did was because people brought a lot attention to the issues and demanded change.

  • A

    anonMar 14, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    So what I got out of this is that black people think they’re more superior than others and that they should get special privileges because of past oppression.

    • S

      sbMar 14, 2016 at 3:51 pm

      Well, if that’s what you got out it then you need to read it again. Black people have pride in themselves, their achievements, and want others to also acknowledge the contributions that we have made to American Society

    • M

      MichelleMar 15, 2016 at 2:16 pm

      Sorry to burst your bubble, but that’s not how it is. Black people don’t think they’re better. It’s a pity that a black person liking the fact that they’re black= we think we’re superior in your mind. We don’t want special privileges, we want to be treated equally. You probably think we are already are, but there are more aspects to racism than just having the n word yelled at you as you walk down the street. It’s a very complicated, far reaching societal disease. I can’t fully educate you about systematic racism; all I can do is ask you to google it.

      • A

        ANONMar 16, 2016 at 7:34 am

        This is so frustrating to read because as a white person, I CANNOT say that I’m proud to be white in any situation. It will be assumed I’m putting down every other race and will be seen as the worst statement I could ever say. But now we’re encouraging black people to be proud?? If #Blacklivesmatter is saying we are all equal, I should get to say I’m proud to be white AND black people should do the same. Everyone should be proud of who they are, not just black people.

  • J

    John McDanielsMar 14, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    Society doesn’t appreciate you because of your race. Society appreciates you because of who you are and your accomplishments. Honestly the fact that your complaining about hair products being different (because people have different hair) just shows how far we’ve come. Stop complaining that nonexistent racism is keeping you down, if you have the will to rise up, I guarantee you will.

    • A

      Alex MurrayMar 14, 2016 at 2:02 pm

      have you ever noticed that black people with long hair dont like getting their hair wet? that is because their hair is completely different from other races and thus needs special hair care products, Hair from a black person retains more water for longer so if one were to get into a pool for swim, their hair would be wet for the rest of the day. the separate hair care section is not segregation, in fact I think it is quite the opposite because the hair care companies are creating different products for your different type of hair.

      • J

        John McDanielsMar 14, 2016 at 2:48 pm

        Exactly, I feel bad that the author of this is just looking for any excuse to find racism even where it doesn’t exist, it seems to be a common theme looking at the Oscars controversy and the majority of police shootings having nothing to do with racism. Nothing has been worse for minorities since the civil rights movement than the idea that they’re victims, it has (and will continue) to keep us down for years.

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Letter to the Editor: Black history month fails to meet expectations