I’m late, I’m blaming Colored People Time on account of the fact that it’s Black History Month (DRINK). I originally titled this ”I hate that liberal ass white folks feel so much guilt that they feel the need to pander to the ”Darkies” with bunk ass commercials and advertisements every February to assuage their white guilt even though they can’t be bothered to care about black folk the other 337 days of the year as if they remember black people besides MLK and Rosa Parks any damn way”, but that was too long.
Y’all just don’t know how much I HATE Black History Month.
BHM is like a cultural booty call, crawl into my mind for a moment, February constitutes 1am-1:45am (we get shafted 15 minutes) and THAT is when we matter. ”Hey baby, it’s February. What are you doing? Can I come over? Why don’t you throw on your Kente Cloth panties and let me talk to you about Malcolm X and the Tuskegee Airmen, Baby. Oh yeah and I’ll pretend to know the words to We Shall Overcome allllllll night long. What do you say? Ok, I’m on my way. BTW. We may be interrupted by Valentine’s Day you know she’s demanding, but I’m not gonna let her, the Super Bowl, Lincoln’s Birthday and President’s Day and this Leap Year distract me from reenacting the Civil Right’s Movement til dawn, well til 1:50 then I have to go because it’s Women’s History Month and well you know. I’m on my way. You turn on Roots and get warm for me”.
Black History Month may have been founded by an African American, but what it has become, particularly in the media, is some slow moving, sepia toned imagery, with a deep timbred black male voice saying “Corporation X is proud to Honor the Great Achievements of African Americans during Black History Month. UGH Please bite the empty air where my big, hairy balls would be if I had some. The same goes for print ads that break out the smiling black family or the kente cloth border or the abstract swirly black ladies (you know them when you see them). Look at the families with their Kool-Aid smiles and their fluffy Buttermilk Biscuits and their fried chicken, you know what those ads are missing? Sincere apologies for contributing to heart disease, diabetes and obesity in the black community. I don’t see anyone who looks like my fat ass auntie in not nan one of those photos. I’m not being mean, the woman needs a cane at 50-something cuz she is a human fishing bobber. How she regularly falls out in church with those fake ass tears I know not. Let ME make a family advertisement, we’ll have an insulin needle, Grandma with a 2 by 4 chasing my Auntie with the bad wet and wavy weave, the holy ghost, Jesus and a big Pitcher of Kool-Aid because you have to sell the product.
Black History Month in schools is fine by me because, aside from MLK all day, every day, ALL UP IN YO FACE, it does force teachers to include an extra dose of black history into lesson plans. Also you’re almost sure to have a talent show where the brown children get to fulfill the stereotype of being rhythmically and vocally talented by nature. Me, I was, nay, I am an orator, so in 8th grade I got to read a Langston Hughes poem all by myself on the stage. Y’all don’t know nothin’ bout that Mama and that crystal stair.
As I’ve been listening to the radio and reading comments and asking for opinions on Twitter; Black History Month and my perceptions of its purpose, of its success, its reach are all dependent on my interests. My interests are general media, books, museums, politics, social services, etc. I’m not on Facebook engaging in debates, I don’t attend art shows or dance exhibits (unless guilted) so my perception of what happens during BHM is clearly influenced by the fact that I’m in libraries or at schools and not in cafes or theatres. Additionally, I’ve always considered BHM to be primarily for non-blacks, but as I meet more and more stupid black people I’m re-assessing that belief because ignorant people are stupid. In general I am concerned about the depiction and the representation of minorities in mainstream media, but during BHM I’m obsessive about it. I end up watching a lot of those little nuggets of consumable facts on the tail end of Tv shows. Don’t come at me with some ole bool about Old man Carver made peanut butter so he could perform open heart surgery with the first light bulb filament and his name was Rosa DuBois Marshall Luther King Jr.. That’s not history, that’s little fact nuggets and I feel like I’d rather nothing be said than for centuries of history, accomplishments and triumphs to be a 15 second sound bite.
In some ways I feel like this “nuggetization” for mass consumption contributes to the general belief that black Americans are less than, that we’re homogeneous, that we’re the stereotypical depictions on tv. If you only ever hear about the same 5 famous black people, rappers and black crime … I have a ton of issues with black representations in media. And I just think instead of 15 second sound bites we should be getting a Motown special spliced with a historical timeline or some Oprah special. AND not on PBS or CNN w/ Soledad “whoa, I had no idea she was black with the Latina and Irish names” O’Brien
Did Someone Say Nuggets and Black?
I ALSO feel like Black History Month should be a big ole party for black folks. “Hey you’re late”. “And? Leemelone, I’m black, it’s my month”. For Black History Month this year I’m going to try to be a little less cynical, but I’m still gonna play the MLK drinking game.
What is Black History Month to You?
How Will You Celebrate or Honor it?