This & That: Is one month enough?

This & That: Is one month enough?

This & That: Is one month enough?
February 08
15:52 2018

Black History Month is a very important, set-aside time to appreciate African-American heroes and accomplishments throughout history.

But why should it be dedicated to only one month?

Black history is long, bloody and complicated. This, however, does not mean we should avoid discussing it.

Bringing race into every discussion would not be necessary if we all became comfortable with each other as individuals.

There has been a question in everyone’s mind: Do we really live in a post-racial society?

I personally believe we cannot possibly be post-racial because people of color are still afraid to voice their opinions.

One month dedicated for black history is a good start, but in order for us to even begin to reach post-racialism, we need to be able to debate race issues without fear of being labeled a radical.

In grade school, we are taught world history from the prehistoric era through present day. We learn about the beginnings of slavery, the triangular trade, the Three-Fifths Compromise and the eventual abolition of slavery. We move on to learn about women’s suffrage in the early 1900s and then the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, but I fear there isn’t enough emphasis on how crucial African-American history is to this nation.

We hear about black-on-black crime, and how we are grateful we do not live in “those” neighborhoods. We hear about another black man being killed by police. We, the American people, make assumption after assumption, yet we reach no concrete conclusion.

Whether you’re black, white, yellow or brown, the discussion is not going away.

We live in a diverse society in which we’re able to interact with people from all different types of ethnic backgrounds, and through those interactions, we sometimes form opinions — both good and bad — about them subconsciously. How can we respect each other’s ethnic differences if we’re always forming stereotypes in the back of our minds?

The problem is that many people get little exposure to other races, besides what is depicted in the media, from which they then draw their own generalizations.

A nice black family, who goes to church every Sunday, is not news. It’s not the “typical” black family.

When people think about where a typical black person is from, they might picture the inner city, the projects or low income housing. But what does the word “typical” even mean?

Google dictionary defines it as “showing the characteristics expected of or popularly associated with a particular person, situation or thing.” I would go one step further to add that “typical” includes making generalizations about a specific subject.

We attach this two-part word “typical” onto things that confirm our already preexisting beliefs. This is confirmation bias.

So, is it possible people are not to blame for subconsciously looking for things that only confirm what they already believe to be true?

A person’s way of thinking is very difficult to dissect. No one is more guilty or innocent than their racial counterpart.

The problem does not lie in how we think, but is dependent upon how we act.

Featured Image: Illustration by Austin Banzon

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Brianna Adams

Brianna Adams

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