Ending “Black History Month”?

The Root continues the discussion on the purpose and necessity of “Black History Month” in an article “Black History Month: A source of pride or a hindrance?”  by Fahima Haque. PBS will join in the debate on February 16 with a documentary, Ending Black History Month, by filmmaker Shukree Hassan Tilghman. So, can one’s cultural history be crammed into a month? The argument is made that if it is not taught in American schools during the month of February, then students will not learn about the contributions of African Americans at all. Should any cultural group’s history be singled out and celebrated in what some describe as a post- racial America? “Can’t we all just get along” without the annual reminders or are we saying that no matter our cultural background, we still do not feel heard, seen or acknowledged in America? Or, is that not the point at all?

As a theologian, I can’t help but wonder how this quest to be known by other human beings influences and informs our relationship with God. Is the cause a feeling of social invisibility or the fear of being forgotten? And how is this possible for Christian believers who serve a God who is all- knowing and to whom we can pray to for protection as “the apple of His eye” (Psalm 17.8)? What exactly do we want others to know, how many people have to know it and what will be our response when the quota is met?

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