3.27.2013

Black History Month: Moving Forward?

(watch the above video first before reading this post)

I wanted to write this after time passed to hopefully jumpstart an unbiased discussion with others, and maybe even ourselves. Here's the post:

It is an interesting perspective to view Black History Month as a misnomer rather than an accurate portrayal. The part that stands out to me in particular is the question posed near the end which is,

"how do we get rid of racism?"

 in which he (Morgan Freeman) replies,

"stop talking about it."

It is an idealistic stance to take on such a crippling topic such as racism. For all the work and time that is invested to educated the masses of ignorance about culture (and how little there is to fear), and for all of the celebration that is to be had when there is a POC representing an ethnicity/community of sorts, how do we find our way out of this hole that we've dugged ourselves into (with unwanted help of course)?

We work hard to represent for our respective labels and backgrounds that we are unknowingly born into. To be seen as equal, to be recognized as equal, to be equal. Yet, it is still a crutch to see that we are labeled a subterm as a citizen, to see February as a month for Black History or May as a month for the Asiatic community (which the media and retailers forget to acknowledge but I digress).

Yes, Black History is American History because there is no such thing as Black History if we break it down enough. American History, or American has no color, only the people that had roles in shaping history for better, and for worse. The same for those that have made impacts from other backgrounds, even the opposite gender.

As much as we celebrate when a norm is broken for the better, in most cases, when do we stop praising the first (insert label for different kinds of persons here) and when do we start moving forward?

-Christopher Chrispy AKA Kon
@OfficialKon

38 comments:

  1. It's times like these that I think actors like Morgan Freeman and Samuel L. Jackson should act on screen and keep their mouths shut off screen.

    And POC need to remain vigilant and wary whenever actors like these start uttering this type of bullshit because let's face it, they are on the payroll.

    when do we start moving forward?

    When we're not deliberately held back anymore.

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    1. By the way, great post; always good to hear from you.

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    2. Slightly off-topic, but did you see Jada Pinkett-Smith's suggestion that Black magazines could start featuring White women on their covers in order to help bridge The Great Divide? Why are WE always being asked to extend the olive branch, rise above, and turn the other cheek - and how many times have we done so, and seen it work well in our favour?

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    3. @!#%$@@!!

      Jada said that shit?

      Imma need for her short ass to have a seat. Several seats, in fact.

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    4. Here's the link to the article.

      To quote Kay from the comment section,"That’s like asking someone who has a few crumbs to share with someone who has a whole pie. Just sayin……".

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    5. "That’s like asking someone who has a few crumbs to share with someone who has a whole pie. Just sayin……".

      *dead*

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    6. I remember a male friend of mine joking that you could tell when it was BHM because that was when they featured black women on the covers of magazines. I went to the store (this was back in the late 90's mind you) and sure enough. Magazines that normally had white women featured black. I happened to think about this last month and went to the magazine section of a store. Except for normal black magazines such as Ebony there were no black women featured. I guess we can't even get a cover during BHM now!

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    7. How many black magazines are still black owned though?? I think that's one part of the problem. Of course too many black willfully submit themselves anyway to white beauty anyway by claiming people who shouldn't be as one of us.
      *COUGH* KIM KARDASHIAN *COUGH*

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    8. If I see another KimYe post on a supposed black/women's forum/blog/online magazine, I am going to scream. She's not the first white woman to sleep with black men or have their child, so why in the hell are they riding her ass so hard?! Leave that to Life and Style and the other tabloid rags! No wonder Jada thought her idea would find wide support!

      Also, considering that one of the former owners of Essence said that they'll sell to Time Warner all over again if given a second chance, we're not even going to have crumbs at this rate.

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    9. @Abielle- Ebony, Jet,-Johnson Publishing and Sister 2 Sister are still black owned. Essence is white owned and the only one (magazine) that I know of. All feature POC on their covers so I really can't see that as the problem.

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    10. Vibe is white also. BTW I know ownership is not THEE problem but it could be a part. I'm not just thinking about covers but content. I was reading a forum the other day when people were complaining about how "dumbed-down" the content was in Essence after ownership changed. I can't really talk on it though. I don't really read those mags anymore anyway. But I did some digging, it seems like the color issue seems to be largely with Ebony/Jet. Like I said also, some black people willfully put themselves 2nd. Just look @ nearly every rap video.....hardly a dark chick to be seen.

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    11. To be honest I normally only read fitness and finance magazines. I didn't even think of Vibe since its stuff I'm not into mostly. IMO Essence has never had good content. Regardless of who owned it. I take what I need and disregard the rest. I can think of no magazine that is good cover to cover. As for Ebony/Jet what do you mean by the color issue? Light skin vs. Dark skin? As for rap videos I never have watched them cause its music I'm not into. I think most people do not think when it comes to these videos. They see it as dark women not being seen as desirable. I see it as women being shown as nothing more than a piece of a**. So I'm good with that. Not with the part of women in general being seen human blow up dolls.

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    12. Hmm, let me backtrack a bit because I misspoke. I mean color issue as was brought before about Jada Smith's comment. Just from a brief look at wikipedia I assumed Ebony was an offender because of alleged controversy with it's covers and ads http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebony_(magazine)
      As for the rap videos--I don't watch the degrading type of videos but I like studying pop culture. It's just my observation that if you look at music videos now as opposed to those of the 80s and 90s, there is more of a skin tone bias AND it's gotten more degrading. In the 80s I'd say you'd feel more like you're watching dancers instead of strippers. I also think the shift in the videos correspond to a societal/cultural shift as well. The representation issue is complicated and I totally get your point.

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  2. I'm 100% in regards to the BS that is BHM. But racism won't go away if we stop talking about it. There, I disagree 100% with Morgan Freeman. Racism won't go away just because folks stop talking about it. It's the 600-lb elephant in the room; it's something that's going to always be around as long as there are people breeding hatred. Keeping silent on the matter makes it fester and it won't change a damn thing. Sorry Morgan. I love you, but you's dead-ass wrong for the latter half of the clip.

    Though I LOVED the first half. He had ol' Mike squirming there.

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  3. Maybe his mantra works in the environment he lives in.
    Actually, he said it badly, but there is a point in there- When will Human Rights be Human Rights? Not soon.
    When do we start moving forward? - When we stop compromising.
    Why do we compromise? Because we are more gentle that the exterminators, and refuse to fall to their level. I think I've gone off topic by now, though.

    And Kon, I do enjoy your posts too, but I'm a little confused about what kind of discussion you want about the video or the subterms.

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    1. The discussion I invite in regards to this particular topic is the value in something like Black History Month and its relevance towards educating the masses when the more appropriate question to ask should be in the vein of why is such and such not taught in the public education system or why are the same people being showcased every year (i.e. MLK, Rosa Parks, etc.).

      That would be one. I didn't intend to have one overall discussion but rather to touch base on several issues stemming from something as temporary as a month for an entirety of an ethnicity.

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    2. Oh thank you. Call me dense.
      I'm still ashamed to say that I'm a product of the wonderful education system this country provides. I literally did not know the name of Malcolm X, much less what he did, until after I graduated. To say that I am pissed off is an understatement.

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    3. the more appropriate question to ask should be in the vein of why is such and such not taught in the public education system or why are the same people being showcased every year (i.e. MLK, Rosa Parks, etc.).

      Because ignorance is bliss. It's a time-honored American tradition: don't ask, don't remember.

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    4. They focus on the non-violent protests. And about the compromises. We aren't taught about true revolution, we aren't taught how to truly enact change (The Cultural Revolution was fucked up but damn, they made changes...I didn't learn about this til post-grad either). I remember when the London Riots were going on and Ankhesen had that post /Let the youth rage on. It struck me at my core.

      We know what they fear most.

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    5. Of course they focus on the non-violent protests. Thereby spreading the lie that The Great Civil Rights Leaders achieved their goals by asking nicely.

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    6. "spreading the lie that The Great Civil Rights Leaders achieved their goals by asking nicely."
      All over this <3

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    7. This is why they love Gandhi too.

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  4. This is a great post post.

    "How do we get rid of racism" ?

    Morgan's reply was" to stop talking about?"

    OMFG!!!is be kidding me?! What planet is he from? I wish I knew so I can live on it. God! He's either developing Alzheimer's disease or that stepdaughter/lover is impairing his thoughts. That's an absurd idea to do. Maybe he can tell racists that. Oh,they want us to shut up, not speak up against our rights ,tell us that were hypersensitive. If Brother Morgan told them this, it would make them happen.

    What would happen if POCs didn't talk about. Well some people do it and it still got them nowhere. As a matter of fact they get treated worse because they tend to get used and abused. I don't want that. Black people are often told that they complain too much .Well, if Morgan got the reason why we and other POCs do it, he would get how stupid he sound for saying that. The day when POCs can be seen as equals instead of minorities is the day that I will stop talking about racism.

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  5. Yet, it is still a crutch to see that we are labeled a subterm as a citizen, to see February as a month for Black History or May as a month for the Asiatic community (which the media and retailers forget to acknowledge but I digress).

    For 2013, let's all make the resolution to ask "Whom does this benefit?"

    BHM & AHM don't benefit the people they're named after. Contrary to popular belief, they weren't designated for us or our benefit. They were designed to make white people feel better and absolved, like their homework's done and their obligation's ended.

    These months are like a get-out-of-jail free card for white folks; they can be racist all they want so long as they say something nice about MLK during February each other. Think of it as sinning and then reciting a few Hail Mary's so you don't roast in hell afterward.

    These months have nothing to do with exploring - truly exploring and exposing the struggles and inequalities experienced by these peoples. This way, the racial conversation remains on a tight leash gripped by white people.

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    1. "BHM & AHM don't benefit the people they're named after. Contrary to popular belief, they weren't designated for us or our benefit. They were designed to make white people feel better and absolved, like their homework's done and their obligation's ended."

      And white people still get mad about it because you hear/see "Why can't we have a white history month."

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  6. Dear Mr. Freeman,

    So you believe the problem of american businesses being 50% more likely to give a call back to a job applicant with a white-sounding name compared to an equally qualified job applicant with a black-sounding name can be solved by ignoring it?

    You believe the problem where about 90% of those arrested for drug related offenses are black and brown even though only about 25% of drug users are actually black and brown can be solved by not talking about it?

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    1. Apparently so.

      And where have you been? What is your email?

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  7. It was February 2003 when I finally was DONE with BHM. I was living in LA and they had all these huge billboards all over proclaiming BLACK HISTORY MONTH. Like wow that sure fixed things. Big giant get out of jail free cards (like K said) plastered all over the city. So I decided from then on, if I was to acknowledge anything it would be Black FUTURE Month and it would be all the time, every day, all day long, and certainly without some billboards to tell me what where how and when.

    My response to the video is this:

    Yeah done with the whole (insert whatever here) history month thing. White America is done with it too, as you can see from some of the commentary here. Don't even score magazine covers anymore and entities like the "History Channel" choose to highlight the KKK during February. History is written by the winners so they say. So here in America we get taught white male history and you could end up like JNguyen and graduate school in the USA and not know a pivotal American historical icon like Malcolm X. Slavery was three paragraphs in my high school history book.

    For centuries we've done what Jada suggested we do. Offer crumbs to people seated at the banquet table. Can you see what good that has ever done? Little Black girls who live in the White House get no respect, and you want me to keep extending that olive branch? America is DONE with its indigenous population and DONE with its POC population, and are becoming increasingly less afraid to show it, barely even bothering with a thin veneer of lip service to the idea that they should at least PRETEND to give a fuck.

    Morgan maybe speaking from his old school upbringing or something, IDK. Whatever. He could have been (very) clumsily alluding to Thandeka's Race Game, or expressing his exhaustion at always being "raced" alla damn time. Well his job is to be articulate and expression is his stock and trade, so who the heck knows. And he started out so well in the beginning. But if there was anything that could dis-articulate Morgan Freeman - racism would be it. We can stop talking about it if we want to. Or keep up the conversation if we want to. But no matter what WE do, there will be no significant change until those that hold the power in this "relationship" start to give a damn.

    But I will tell you this. I've opted out of the fight against racism game. Its not my job anymore. The ball has been firmly lobbed into their court for decades now. I'm absolutely happy that Obama got elected as our POTUS - twice. We got to see the TRUE America up close and personal. Beyond all hope of saving? I have no idea, but I feel in BONES its not up to us anymore. Sure, I'll comment on things, point out injustices, sign petitions, contribute to and celebrate and ALWAYS support the body of science, arts and culture that pours out from POCs in this country and worldwide.

    They say living well is the best revenge. While my thing isn't about revenge, but I intend to LIVE, head held high, because the simple fact of my existence is radical. I need (and truth be told just can't anymore) not be battling (futile IMO) actively on the front lines. Because the front line is what I cross when I step out of my door every day.

    Black History Is ME.

    I AM Black History.

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    1. So, um, what date do you want on our wedding invitations?

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    2. Morgan maybe speaking from his old school upbringing or something, IDK.

      This is another great point. People forget that there's an age issue here. Older people are tired; they tend to accept things more easily. Younger people are more likely to rebel.

      And then there's the fact that celebrities like Freeman are on the payroll.

      So, um, what date do you want on our wedding invitations?

      You're killing me, boo.

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    3. "Black FUTURE Month"

      I am all for that. We are from the future.

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    4. "So, um, what date do you want on our wedding invitations?"

      *giggles wildly!*

      Anytime after SCOTUS 'n nems make sure we'll be legit all day long everywhere anytime ;)))

      Damn I love this blog :D

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  8. I think what old Morgan was trying to tell Mike Wallace, and the viewers, that to "stop talking about it" wasn't in reference to ignoring racism & its social maladies. Rather, we should stop referring to ourselves as white folk, black folk, Asians (pan-Asian in this sense), Hispanic, and so on. Only then will a significant portion of race-related issues subside, if not inevitably vanish outright. I disagree about the effectiveness of this tack, but to each their own.

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    1. I used to be of two minds about the Freeman quote. HE COULD HAVE MEANT stop focusing on race so much to the point where you let it hold you back from getting ahead in life. But I don't think that's what he meant and it's not what he ACTUALLY said. You can't say things like this, & leave it open for interpretation when so many people are so ignorant or uncritical. All he did was make white people comfortable by saying what they want to hear. This is why he is so SAFE. This is why he always gets work.

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  11. Nothing burns my blood more than this quote!! I had a white friend post this on facebook and I swear to God this is how you end up losing friends! I didn't say anything to her about it but I was in such a flying rage you wouldn't know...

    I agree with what many have said about BHM. I want to add though--- don't dismiss Freeman because he's old. Indeed HE might not give two shits any longer about race politics but I wouldn't say it's just age. There are far too many YOUNG black men and women in the media who are dangerously reinforcing this idea that "we have arrived". Alot of kids have forgotten that 50 years ago black people were getting mauled like that slave in Django on the streets just for wanting to vote. It's no joke.

    Then you have the twats like Nicki Minaj screaming RACISM where there isn't any.

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