Celebrating Black History Month disrespects black history

Rooscol Rozambert, Digital Life Editor

Every year, BSM tries to incorporate black history month into the school by showcasing posters in the hallways to show how far America has come from the slavery and segregation of its past. Although I do appreciate the efforts of the school to support the month, BSM needs to recognize that this month affects not only students of color, but white students as well.

We must understand that black history is American history. Instead of singling out one month to hang up photos of MLK and George Washington Carver, we should incorporate this history into the curriculum all school year. We are downplaying the achievements of black people in history by just putting it into one month.

In my four years at BSM, the only times I remember race being covered in a class is when my teachers have discussed slavery. We didn’t have adequate time to even cover the Harlem Renaissance or the achievements in music and literature that it produced. Instead we focus on things teachers think are important to American history, but that excludes so many things that are relevant now.

When we ignore the importance of black history, students become ignorant about inventions, laws, and aspects of culture that have been influenced by black people, such as the cell phone, which was created thanks to technological advancements made by African-American inventor Henry T. Sampson. I think it’s quite embarrassing that our school has to have “facts of the day” about black inventors and prayers about diversity every day during February. It’s a shame that we don’t already know these things and that we devote prayers to diversity only during this one month. And although the school was right to hang posters on the lockers supporting diversity, having a white woman with a map of Africa on her face isn’t the best way to show “diversity.”

This is not the first time that BSM has messed up with black history month. Last year, the school served collard greens, chicken, and cornbread. The only thing that was needed was some watermelon and this would have been the stereotypical meal that offends many black people.

I honestly don’t see the agenda that is accomplished by having black history month. If this is a way to make black people feel more accepted at a white school, it is a failure. It opens the floor for more jokes among the white students and makes awkward moments for students of color in class and around school. Either embrace black history throughout the year, or don’t embrace it at all.