Feb. 21, 2011

It’s All About the History LessonsImage

Every time a person who is Black starts to develop a friendship with someone from another racial group there comes a time, of necessity, when that Black person has to become a walking encyclopedia of Black knowledge – historian, myth debunker and general Black culture sensitizer.

For this reason alone, the importance of Black History Month, or African Liberation Month, must be valued. A person of African heritage carrying that history with respect does proper justice to it, and thus will not endorse the unwelcome fictions about Black people.

One common cultural expectation of Black individuals – persons of colour – at on time or another is to be called upon as a representative of the entire race to correct some misperception or provide understanding. Yet, because there is so much misinformation permeating society about Black people, as a matter of leveling the field of information, and especially all those negative stereotypes, it becomes something of a duty to have the facts at the ready, because inevitably, your day will come (again and again), at which time you will have to present those facts to counter that world of misinformation.

Having respect for one’s community, in the same regard as one’s self, is a consideration some in this community overlook. Black History Month is a reminder to refocus with admiration on what our forebears have created as well as what they endured. It is a reminder that Black people ought not allow caricatures to define us. It is also a reminder that we each have an obligation to correct false impressions for our own good, but also for the good of all others who are unfortunately influenced by those negative stereotypes.