There was a performance at my son’s school yesterday, in honor of the shortest month of the year. & it just so happened to be full of Black History fun facts, such as slavery, segregation, lynching & social repression. All sarcasm aside, the school did a good job of ending the month on a celebratory note. I had goose bumps, even after my son did his speech. There was even Hispanic kids with parts in the show. “All of God’s children, indeed. It was then, as one of the teachers tap danced her (not so) little heart out to ‘Just Fine‘ that I realized that this was the most promotion Black History got all month. At least in my neck of the woods. When I was a kid, you couldn’t turn around in February without being reminded you either were or were not Black. My oh my, how things done changed.
1) Barack Obama.
Before Barack, Blacks were basically athletes, entertainers & reoccuring guests on ‘The Jerry Springer Show’. We’d get a little shine time in various class assignments, or on every episode of ‘Cops’, but even then the amount & degree of information was up to those who wrote the book. Winners always write the books, really though. Although we had to share with dead presidents & bow-totting cherubs, February was “our” month to be proud. Once Barack became the leader of the free-world, I guess the decision makers made the decision that “we” should be happy. As if. An existence rife with turbulence, trial & tribulation can’t be rectified by one man’s come-uppance. Especially when only 50% of his blood is relative to being a relative, if you smell my cologne. Speaking of which, Kenya is still proud as hell that one of “theirs” made it. So are some forward-thinking White folks. Go figure.
2) Gay is the new “Black”.
There was a time that, with all the stipulation, taboo & negative connotation attached, being Black was the coolest thing to be. Ever. What other race took it’s primary epithet & made it a casual component of everyday speak? Admit it, the word “honky” just wouldn’t bode well on clothing. Blame it on numerous societal ills, or the possible evolutionary process of mankind eventually becoming asexual creatures, but homosexuality is the new “Black”. It still gets the bigotry pumping hard through the blue veins of God-fearing Americans, yet remains the “it” factor in most facets of popular culture. It’s easier to tell he is gay than who isn’t these days. Being the frontiersman that I am though, I had gay friends before it became all trendy. I guess I should start capitalizing the “G” now, huh?
3) False sense of ownership.
I’ve noticed that Blacks, in general, feel like we’re doing pretty good overall. The POTUS just sweetened the deal, so to speak. Probably because ‘affirmative action’ is so well hidden, & because the Klu Klux Klan doesn’t wear hoods anymore. On the contrary, they hold televised rallies, YouTube their hatred & run genocide-based websites, but that’s neither here nor there. Or is it…? Meanwhile, the illusion of being a operational part of the system blinds us to the past. In essence, we may have subconsciously become the “house niggers” Malcolm X spat upon so fervently, before his trip to Mecca. One would be hard-pressed to get an old Black person to understand that, because “today”, in contrast to “yesterday”, is a good day, per se. We were treated lower-lower class for so many (hundreds of) years that, once “we” broke into the middle class, the struggle lost steam & complacency set in. I believe there’s such a thing as healthy segregation. It keeps you grounded. Emphasis on the word “healthy”. Don’t get it confused.
4) There’s no money in it.
Really though, there were more people profiting off of Michael Jackson’s death than there were vendors hocking their “Black History” merchandise this month. Even on King’s birthday in January. & in related news, Michael Jackson was a top-selling Halloween costume less than 6 months after his death. Just saying. Kids these days wouldn’t even wear a t-shirt with Malcolm or Martin or Marcus on it unless they were holding rhinestone-clad dollar bills, atop some silly ass coontastic saying. “I Have A Dream…Of Gettin’ Rich, Bitch!”. “Stay Paid!…By Any Means Necessary!”. You get the gist.
A lot of it has to do with the deconstruction of the Black family nucleus, but thats for another day. I will say however, that if your mom’s only 15 years older than you, there ain’t a whole helluvalot she can teach you about history. Of course I don’t think these are the only reasons, or even serious reasons, for that matter. That doesn’t make it any less true though, does it?