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    Black History Month: Do We Still Need It In Its Current Form?

    Whenever Black History Month comes around, I experience mixed feelings stemming from its celebration in the Department of Defense schools that I attended during my childhood.  It was always a time of shame and mockery mixed with defiant force for us. We weren't permitted to sit it out, we were commanded to celebrate, which took a lot of the fun out of it.  I always wondered why the history of black people had to be confined to a single month instead of being inside the history books along with the rest. 

    When I posed this question to my Social Studies teacher, he said that blacks came here as slaves and needed our history highlighted to remove the stigma of that history.  His overgeneralized answer turns out to be factually incorrect, since there are many blacks who are not descended from slaves, like my family members on my mother's side.  I didn’t learn of this until my aunt did a genealogical search and traced our roots, self publishing them in a little book that means a lot to all of us. 

    But I digress.  The shame and mockery came from other students that simply thought it was funny that blacks needed their history covered in only one month as if there wasn’t enough to cover it every month as it is done for whites.  Invariably, it wasn’t enjoyable.  I remember the emphasis on “black foods” and “black traditions” that seemed peculiar since we ate pretty much what everyone else ate and celebrated Christmas and New Years, Easter, and Independence Day...like everyone else. 

    Current day celebrations usually center around Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy and what we have achieved since integration.  

    While celebrating Dr. King is worthwhile, it’s still part and parcel to the idea that blacks must have special treatment in order to be accepted or equal.  Consequently, it was with disgust that I came across this piece highlighting things that still need improvement for modern day blacks.  I don’t disagree that blacks in America need change; but my views and remedies for what ills the black community are decidedly different from these:

    There is still a need for Black History Month, but something far more substantial beyond a month long celebration is needed. Black History Month is needed:

    • When the attitudes towards the lives of 300 black children killed by gun violence in Chicago in the past three year are treated differently from 20 first graders killed in Newtown, Connecticut; 

    • When the conservative leaders of our country try to deny many blacks the right to vote through unnecessary voter ID laws and unnecessary IDs; 

    • When the prison system is overflowing with more black males than any other race or ethnicity.

    • When many young black males have a direct pipeline from the school house to the jail house;

    • When blacks who have completed their prison terms and paid their debt to society are disenfranchised from voting;

    • When the black unemployment rate is almost twice that of the country's average;

    • When the sub-prime mortgage industry targeted blacks causing a disproportionate number of blacks to lose their homes through foreclosure;

    • When affirmative action is still needed to ensure a level playing field for blacks;

    The writer of this piece has obviously bought into the Democrat's decades long message of victimhood and lies relating to conservatives, equality and educational needs. The writer's assertions sadly echo the sentiments of over 90% of blacks as well as the Democrat party. Simply put, I only agree ever so slightly with a couple of her assertions.  The rest are easily and soundly debunked.

    • The attitudes of Americans in general towards gun violence in inner cities is muted by its persistence over time.  When gun violence happens regularly, without fail, it becomes a commonplace expectation.  When 20 first graders are gunned down in an area that is known to be peaceful and violence free, Americans will be shocked and dismayed.  The reason that people move into and reside in suburban neighborhoods is to avoid the expectation of gang related inner city violence and for an overall more peaceful existence. The national reaction to the Newtown Massacre was neither unexpected nor surprising.  
    • Conservatives are not trying to deny votes to black Americans by pushing for Voter ID laws.  Blacks buy liquor, check out books from libraries and fly on planes, all of which require ID.  It’s insulting to assert that blacks cannot afford or manage to get an ID to vote.  Racism has nothing to do with it.
    • The Cradle to Prison Pipeline has already been traced directly to how many children of any race or background can read by the fourth grade.  Prison management companies set their budgets and space planning requirements around this number.  
    • The true racism lies in a system that ties educational funding to addresses, not children.  Kids living in inner cities with failing and unaccredited schools are not permitted to move to accredited schools taking their tax dollars with them.  If their parents cannot afford to send them to private school, they fail to learn to read and are into a life of crime before the end of middle school. 

    This isn’t a function of some white overlord in the suburbs, it’s a function of unions controlling schools and refusing to allow school choice.  President Obama, who as the first black president should be very concerned by this, has done everything in his power to keep black kids trapped in failed District of Columbia schools, while his own daughters attend Sidwell Friends under armed guard and enjoy gourmet meals for lunch. 

    • Any person regardless of race is prevented from voting if they are a convicted felon.  This has nothing at all to do with race, and everything to do with personal responsibility.  
    • Black unemployment rate has everything to do with educational attainment or lack thereof, and very little to do with the race of the individual.  Adults with higher levels of education and some work experience have suffered less during the Great Recession than those with a high school diploma or less. 
    • The subprime mortgage debacle had a disproportionate toll on blacks in America.  Some of this had an obviously racial component to it, when it was discovered that blacks with similar credit scores to whites were given higher interest rates.  The elderly were targeted for mortgages on homes that they owned free and clear.  Some people took out loans that they knew they couldn’t afford and others were offered loans, when they clearly should have remained renters until they were responsible enough to handle the task of home ownership. Banks were forced to offer these irresponsible loans by the Federal Government under the guise of ending discrimination.  We can see what a horrible idea that was.  Racism, while a factor cannot explain the depth and breadth of the economic devastation that the US economy suffered.
    • Affirmative Action is no longer required to level the playing field.  Blacks can and do achieve high levels of success in areas that have no Affirmative Action; case in point - President Obama winning two national elections.  Other examples are obvious and not worthy of note here. 

    Black History Month was created with the best of intentions.  Current events, such as having a black President serving his second term dictate a new approach.  Put black history in the textbooks of the nation's children in the same way that every other race, nationality, and ethnicity are handled.  This honors the monumental strides that blacks have made, in concert with our white counterparts.  We have come together.  That is something to celebrate.  We can do this by integrating the plenteous history of blacks in America into the greater historical record.

    3 comments
    slwoodward's picture
    Scotty Woodward
    02/07/2013

    I read that piece, Stacy. It's typical huff-and-puffington-post fodder. You speak the truth and make some great points. Unfortunately 99% of the people that read her "articles" will never read yours because they don't know yours exist. You should comment on her post with a link to stacyontheright.com or maybe to this article. At the very least, post your bullet points as a comment. I don't see anything wrong with using the left's media to educate people on what's Right.

    slwoodward's picture
    Scotty Woodward
    02/08/2013

    Right on!

    whatisresilience
    02/07/2013

    Stacy,
    I am proud to be a part of the 1% of the readers of the Debbie Hines article who're reading yours.
    For my part, I think there is some solid value to the celebrate not least because it gives us an excuse to shine some light on one part of black history (and present) which is woefully under-covered....black entrepreneurs. For my part, I've committed to doing 2 profiles/wk at <a href="http://whatisresilience.com/category/bhm/">http://whatisresilience.com/c.... Let's get some positive messages out there.