Let’s name it for what they are. . . . .
And there are detractors from different ends who–on one end, say that the “normal and everyday” histories we learn and see and hear about ad nauseum, do not reflect and/or include the non-white experiences. Including it into the dominant might be someone’s life-goal. Important yes. But inclusion into the already corrupt and controlling dominant is about assimilation as well, not social change. Inclusion into the disease.
But……….. it’s not completely true or accurate. What is?
On another end, others ignore it by saying “every month is” the non-white person’s month and should be celebrated. TRUE, but it’s not the structure or reality of how most people live or think. Most people do not know what’s missing. Who’s educating them? Changing them? Who will listen? Who will change their minds? Then—who will change their behaviors accordingly, their sentiments, the thoughts that go through their bodies?
Both of these ends are true. There are other “ends.” What are they? Well, YOU must think it, learn, create. YOU create, together with others. Some will always oppose. After all, assimilation into the dominant is their desire, thinking that this will alleviate their pain and historical trauma. Then soon, those people often forget, and often collude with that which traumatized them in the beginning, simply by ignoring.
Others are completely the dominant. They have no wish to change any part of the structure if it means they have to change. SO THIS is the essential battle. It is both internal and societal.
So this is why I think it is IMPORTANT to have these “non-white” months. What about “poor person’s” month or “queer LGBTQ month? Other positions and identities? Inclusion is a nightmare game, pleading to the dominant and privileged for entrance into their castles. The dominant and privilege is not only out there. They are also selves within us. However, if we do NOT have these months when schools and institutions pay some attention to these issues of the demoted and invisible histories of blackness, there would be LESS and LESS memory and information. There would be further shrinking, further incarceration, further poisoning, further suffering, further disempowerment, continuing the legacies left to the world since the beginnings of the global Christian-white western “16th century.”
So we MUST celebrate and make these identity months work.
James Baldwin (August 2, 1924 – December 1, 1987) is one of my most favorite author/thinker-activists in American history. In offering this tiny example of some of his quotes, I present my own way of honoring the spirit of this form of dissent and honor of African-American historical conditions, hopes, and healing.
Below are some quotes by this great writer, that I like:
I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.
I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.
It is very nearly impossible… to become an educated person in a country so distrustful of the independent mind.
People can cry much easier than they can change.
People who treat other people as less than human must not be surprised when the bread they have cast on the waters comes floating back to them, poisoned.
The paradox of education is precisely this – that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated.
The power of the white world is threatened whenever a black man refuses to accept the white world’s definitions.