It's Black History Month Again

6 years ago

February marks the beginning of black history month. Even though we have a black man and woman occupying the highest office in the world, lurid complaints of inequality are the norm when it comes to race. Blacks are quick to point out that Obama and wife are down with the struggle, and that the justified criticism of them is unfair and prima facie evidence of the deep seated racism in America today. Of course, omitted in this mantra is the fact that blacks were not singularly responsible for electing Obama. Omitted is the fact that it took a lot of white votes for him to be elected.

Also omitted in the complaint, is the fact that while Obama and wife play to the image of sticking it to the white man, their policies have specifically contributed mightily to the degradation of the black family. Many blacks, may live vicariously through the Obama’s and black celebrities, but at the end of the day, that does not translate into solving what is admittedly a problem.

To that end, in February 2005, I wrote the following syndicated piece – that despite massive amounts of money and blame, remains as true today as it did then. The true contagium for said inequality, such as it exists, is not racism – is the refusal to recognize and address the real problem. That said, the following while directed at black families, is just as imperative for the families of all children.

Why should we not question the value of Black History Month as such? Why should we not study the true value of a month dedicated to teaching measured snippets of the past, when the children of the present go uneducated?

I am not opposed to the teaching of black history. I am opposed, however, to the charade Black History Month has become. American black history is not dashikis and pan Africanism – nor is it Arthur Haley’s mythical account known as “Roots.”

Black History Month’s goal – properly taught as originally intended – was to teach factual history with the inclusion of blacks who contributed to same. One could also make the case that we need a Shakespeare month, a Mark Twain month, a Founding Father’s month and a history of war month to compensate for the fraudulent revisionist exclusionary teachings in most public-school classrooms today, but I digress.

Black History was initiated (as Black History Week) as a method of inclusion. Today, it has become a tool to further self-imposed separation and exclusion. But again, I digress.

Black children in disturbingly large numbers are receiving an inferior education. And while it is easy to blame everyone from the president down – ultimately the fault lies with the parents, children and academic culture of the National Education Association.

It is more important children are able to spell the names of Marcus Garvey, W.E.B. Dubois and Malcolm X (albeit I personally consider these least worthy of recognition) than it is for them to simply hear about same. It is important they can recognize those names on the printed page, which means it is more important they can read.

I know I am treading on the holy grail of “blackdom,” but it is time we view things in their proper perspective.

I recently observed students leaving a local inner-city middle school. It was deeply disturbing watching black male child, after black male child exiting the school with pants below their hips, hats cocked to the side and /or scarves tied around their heads, gaudy fake jewelry and over sized jackets or hooded sweat shirts … but with not one book to be seen.

It could be argued, I suppose, that perhaps they did their lessons in study hall, but I wouldn’t be inclined to make “book” on that bet.

I submit it is time to pull the curtain back and reveal the wizard pulling the levers of failure for these children. Black children must be equipped with competitive math and science skills. They must possess communication skills that exceed Ebonics. They must, without question, possess social skills beyond those embraced on the street corner. Black children must be taught that the world doesn’t end at the corner of their neighborhood – nor does it begin with rap music, drugs and violence.

It is an incomparable injustice perpetrated on these young to waste a month with TV commercials and charlatans fomenting a prescribed history of social injustice when the children being indoctrinated are unable to read, write or comprehend at their grade levels.

When Carter Woodson initiated Black History Week, black children took pride in being able to read and write. Today the polar opposite is the case. It is the lack of marketable linguistic, social and educational skills that cause the disproportionate rates of unemployment and income disparity among blacks.

The primal cry is more money will cure these ills. But decades of bowing to those voices have produced naught save higher property taxes, as evidenced, for example, by the District of Columbia, New York and Philadelphia. Better parenting, discipline and less social progression is needed. An insistence upon increased levels of academic performance and more time spent teaching in the present are critical keys to success.

Apart from these, teaching history from a distorted perspective for one month – while ignoring the urgency of our present – is a promising way to further marginalize and promote the lack of opportunity that isn’t based on pass, punt, hit or kick. (; 2/15/05)

Mychal Massie

About the Author

Mychal Massie

Mychal S. Massie is an ordained minister who spent 13 years in full-time Christian Ministry. Today he serves as founder and Chairman of the Racial Policy Center (RPC), a think tank he officially founded in September 2015. RPC advocates for a colorblind society. He was founder and president of the non-profit “In His Name Ministries.” He is the former National Chairman of a conservative Capitol Hill think tank; and a former member of the think tank National Center for Public Policy Research. Read entire bio here

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