Did you know that most schools no longer have Black History programs during school hours? School officials claim it’s taking away from academic learning time? Whet?! Am I the only person that has a problem with that?? Yet, prisons are built based on the 3rd grade reading levels of our Black boys. The stats are showing that if a Black male is falling behind in reading in the third grade, he will most likely not graduate from high school, and he will end up in prison because over 75% of the inmates are high school drop-outs. Now THAT just takes me there, because maybe if they were able to read about things and people and places and experiences that they could relate too, then maybe they wouldn’t be falling behind; BUT that’s another post for another day.
Back to what I was saying,
I remember being excited about Black History Month when I was a kid. I used to be ready to get my poster board and pick out my markers and colored pencils and head over to my Grandma Faye’s house. She was an elementary school teacher, and she used every moment she had with me to teach me something. I grew up with encyclopedias and dictionaries on the book shelf, and going into my dad’s office to find out more information about Mary McLeod Bethune was something that I looked forward too. Not copying and pasting off the internet, but literally doing research each year on the person I chose for Black History Month. That was in the mid 90s, fast forward to 2015. . .What the heck is going on?!
No like for real what is going on?! Our history, who we are, how far we’ve come, is so important. The challenges that our parents and grandparents and great grandparents had to face and overcome is important. All the harsh treatment that they were forced to endure to make sure we could enter a restaurant through the front door, or use a public bathroom, or vote in the elections, or sit in any seat on the bus, or go to college, all of those things are important! But for some reason, so many of us still don’t get it. Especially those of us who are apart of this current generation of “entitlement.” For some crazy reason we think that world owes us something, and that we are doing everybody a favor by merely existing.
Young people, especially those under 25 years old really think that things were always this way. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. probably one of the most famous people in Black History. . .I double dare you to ask a teenager to tell you just 5 things about him. I bet they couldn’t do it. I dare you to ask a teenager to tell you 5 things about our current Commander-in-Chief, President Barack Obama; I bet they wouldn’t be able to do it. Smh! It’s already bad enough that the television shows that actually shined a positive light on the Black community like “A Different World” and the “Cosby Show” and “Family Matters” and “Fresh Prince” have been replaced with all the guilty pleasure, ratchet reality shows like “Love & Hip Hop” and “Basketball Wives” that only highlight all the negative stereotypes of Black people (fussing, fighting, cursing, sleeping around) in order to boost ratings. And to now learn that Black History programs and projects are being snatched away from our schools. And then to add insult to injury, the Churches are no longer taking the time to do Black History programs. Heck, the parents aren’t even telling our kids about prominent people in history that happened to look like them. What is going on? What happened? When did Black History Month become just another month? When did we get so disconnected from our roots? Who dropped the ball? Where did we go wrong? How can we fix this problem? Look y’all we are suffocating ourselves. We are participating in our own demise. We are so overly consumed with things that don’t even benefit us. We are the biggest consumers, yet we are at the bottom of the chart when it comes to owning our own stuff.
It’s a sad thing that a kid can tell you the exact date that the next pair of J’s is dropping, but can’t tell you when Dr. King’s birthday is.
I’m an optimist, so I honestly believe that there is a solution. I mean, it has to be. This cycle of ignorance has to stop and WE have to break it. Let’s make something happen. Let’s do something. I challenge you to find a young person and take them under your wing. Teach them something new. Ignite their fire. Let them know that they are not just the descendants of slaves, but they are connected to Royalty as well. Began to mentor them. If we all were just to start with one young person and then that person grabs somebody and then the next person grabs somebody, then maybe just maybe there is some hope for us. Make a difference in the life of some African-American boy or girl. We scream that we want things to get better. We post on social media that #BlackLivesMatter. Well we have to start being the change that we seek. I believe we can breathe again. We can get better. We can turn things around for our people. We can make a difference in our communities, in our states. We can change the world.
In the words of my Soror, Eunique Jones, Because of Them We CAN!