[Kamikaze] Our Victories Are History | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

[Kamikaze] Our Victories Are History

Febuary 8, 2006

I've never really liked the idea of Black History "Month." There'll be another slew of black history programs (yawn). We'll hear the same speakers speak, and my kids will once again hear about Martin Luther King Jr. and Harriet Tubman in school. Pretty standard stuff. We'll sing, we'll pray, we'll celebrate the lives of Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King. We'll talk about the marches on Selma and Washington. We'll talk about slaves traveling the underground railroad and black folks getting attacked by police dogs in Birmingham, Ala. We'll applaud the passage of the Voting Rights Act and affirmative action. Basically, we'll let America give us a collective pat on the head and a hearty "good job."

It is truly just and proper to reflect on our past as a race. We cannot know where we can potentially go unless we know where we've been. But dwelling on past victories can be counter-productive. In reality, we have won nothing!

At the risk of pissing off my elders, Ibelieve we are history junkies to a fault, and unfortunately, that clouds some of the elders' vision. Racism still exists. It's not "new" or "fresh" as some would think. It's the same exact racism that has existed for centuries. We didn't lessen its effect when Dr. King was awarded a holiday. Instead of the emphasis on history, we should be about progressive thinking. It is time to replace the old guard with a new one. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have lost a little of their effectiveness. Their press conferences and protests draw little more than a sarcastic "Oh, it's them again" from the powers-that-be. In their eyes, we can vote, so why are we trippin'? We've got affirmative action. We've got Colin Powell. Hell, we've even got Condoleeza Rice. Those black folks should be satisfied! (You may laugh, but that's what some folks think.)

Problem is, there is too much complacency. President Bush all but failed to mention Hurricane Katrina in his State of the Union speech. Many African-American families still face uncertain futures. Black-on-black crime ravages our inner cities. Many African-American kids still face uncertain futures. Samuel Alito just got confirmed to the Supreme Court. Laws put in place to level the playing field for African Americans now face uncertain futures.

It's time for our generation to carry the torch. It's time we get mad! The kind of mad that I got when I viewed the Emmett Till documentary for the first time. The kind of mad that motivates you to action. The kind of mad that stimulates you not to "talk" about history, but "make" history.

We can't continue to piggyback on the legacy of Dr. King and expect our naysayers to take us seriously. The focus has to be continued beyond February. Instead of calling it Black History Month, let's call it Black Action Month and actually do something. We have reminisced enough.

And that's the truth ... sho-nuff!

Previous Comments

ID
71391
Comment

I agree I've never liked Black Histoy month either. Being a minority in my high school( and in the town I currently live in) I always felt a bit weird that a set of people were given prolonged special recognition/focus becasue of a past/current struggle and the only difference between the rest of the populus is skin tone. I think it's exclusionary and the wrong message to spread. As you said racism wasn't created here in America or by any one group.. I think the concept that has to be understood is it's natural. Yes I said it is natural for people of different attributes to naturally bond and exclude others. Boys hang out with Boys, Girls hang out with Girls, nerds hang out with nerds, libs hang out with libs, conservatives hang out with conservatives. It's because they have something in common without havng to express it. Can no one see that these exclusionary tactics we play with Black/White here in America are just as assaine and ignorat as the French are with the historically based Christian French and Muslim French fighting it out in recent news? This only leads to the activites we are seeing around the world with the same skeletal structure, different details. You need to integrate and create a common positive history the populus can be proud of (eg being an American or a Mississippian or a Bulldog). It takes effort to overcome the natural instincts we have You can't use the verbage of us or Black Month anything, or them White this or that or you actually encourage the natural tendencies. Before you know it the 2nd largest populus of the US is going to want their own special acknowledgments and the 4th and 5th until we lose sight of the bigger picture of being an American. I hope I don't cause too much discord with you, but for the ultimate goal to be successful we have to stop alligning ourselves past these natural tendencies and use the damn thinkers we've been told we already underutilize now as a cohesive group...

Author
guywithanidea
Date
2006-02-09T01:23:03-06:00
ID
71392
Comment

I don't get Kamikaze's article here. He says that black history as reflected in the Emmett Till documentary made him angry and spurred him to action, but then says that we should stop focusing on black history. Uh, why? I do agree that having a black history month isn't really an ideal situation, but what makes me angrier is that we need it. Were it not for black history month, students might not ever really hear the words of Martin Luther King Jr. or Harriet Tubman or Sojourner Truth or Medgar Evers or W.E.B. DuBois or Frederick Douglass or Stokely Carmichael or Ida B. Wells-Barnett or Malcolm X or Barbara Jordan or... And on and on and on. Because the American history curriculum is still basically about wars, occasionally about social movements, seldom about ideas. I think a better option is to have black history year. Every year. Make the American history curriculum seriously address the lives of African Americans during the time period being studied. Never lose sight of the parallel vision--the Founding Fathers who claimed to support universal human rights but failed to abolish slavery, the American Civil War that was indeed about more than slavery but ended the institution. Oh, and teach why the South fought, too. Most American history textbooks do a terrible job of that, written as if the impoverished young men who made up the bulk of the Confederate army somehow gave a rat's ass whether or not they could legally own slaves. But until black history is adequately integrated into the American history curriculum, we need to address it somehow. Black history month fills that hopefully very temporary gap in the history curriculum. I may be a homeschooled white boy, but even I know we're not covering this stuff well enough. Not even in black history month. As someone who has lost count of how many school library books on American history he's written or edited, I firmly believe that the story of African-American civil rights is the single most interesting and relevant story in the entire history of the United States. It needs to be told. Hell, I'm all for a well-rounded curriculum, but if we're going to insist on neglecting something, I think we'd all be better off if we spent the bulk of the school year focusing exclusively on the history of women and minorities and set aside February for all the other stuff. Because if you don't know who Martin Luther King Jr. and Betty Friedan were, it doesn't matter who wrote the Constitution. And that's the truth...sho-nuff. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-02-09T05:02:24-06:00
ID
71393
Comment

I think Black History Month (years ago it was only a week) is yet another outdated way of looking at Black history. The reason we have a Black History Month is to highlight the achievements and struggles of black Americans that was previously ignored or shortchanged. I believe it is just as important for young blacks to know that many of the achievements and advances in this country had a black face attached to them, as a source of pride and self-esteem. But I think BHM also works against us, because as long as we can lump Black history into a single month, we are allowed to ignore or forget about it the rest of the year, and that is wrong. I would love to see BHM eliminated, but only with a commitment to teach Black history as an integral part of AMERICAN and WORLD history.

Author
Jeff Lucas
Date
2006-02-09T09:55:21-06:00
ID
71394
Comment

I think the article is great and would gladly say amen. My only problem is with one statement that I am afraid in the eyes of most will negate all of the other great points you made. "In reality, we have won nothing!" In reality, you haven't gained enough. In reality, you haven't gained all you are entitled to as a human (#1) and as an American citizen (#2). The very fact that you gained the right to vote, and yes even Colin Powell and Condi, proves that you have gained a lot, but admittedly there is a lot left too.

Author
brandon
Date
2006-02-09T10:41:34-06:00
ID
71395
Comment

ejeff, I couldn't agree with your post more. This is why the JFP does not publish a "Black History Month" issue or such, although columnists can write about it as they please. One could argue that the month ghetto-izes Black History in a sense -- and I hope that isn't offensive to anyone. I don't mean it to be. Then it gets whitewashed and made acceptable and marketed and ads are sold around it. The same things are said over and over again -- and then you get the irony of conservatives being offended at remarks make at Coretta Scott King's funeral about the very activist history that she and her husband lived and breathed and were haranged (and, in his case, killed) for -- and they gripe about that during Black History Month! About says it all for me. Brandon also makes a good point, I think. But Kamikaze's overall point is right on. It's not over.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-02-09T12:25:29-06:00
ID
71396
Comment

Speaking of "over," did anyone here hear Melton's remarks at the Medgar Evers tribute the other night. If so, did you understand what he was talking about? I sure thought he was going to launch into a tirade against the NAACP, a la The Bottom Line, as we all sat there holding our breaths to see what he would say.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-02-09T12:26:53-06:00
ID
71397
Comment

My attitude about Black History Month is similar to my attitude about the African-American Sports Museum: When black athletes receive equal coverage in integrated museums, then, and only then, would I feel comfortable losing the specialized stuff. I've seen the history textbooks they use these days--you have, too--and we're a long way, IMHO, from not needing a special Black History curriculum. "American history" still amounts to "the story of white, male America, with patronizing segues into other people's lives every now and then." I'm not happy with that. One thing I have tried to do is make my own textbooks inclusive, but it's very hard sometimes. I'm proudest of the Facts on File volumes--Freedom of Religion, which starts with American Indian religious traditions instead of with the Puritans, and the upcoming Crime and Punishment in America, which takes seriously things like lynchings and the uncomfortable connection between institutional racism and criminal justice--and I did do what even I have to admit is a delightful middle school anthology of slave narrative excerpts for Blackbirch/Gale. But I haven't done nearly enough. Most of the time I'm still part of the problem. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-02-09T13:07:33-06:00
ID
71398
Comment

Ok....let me collectively go "down the line" so to speak. first of all "guywithanidea". Your interpretation defintiely was not the theme of my column. Although I DID say we have reminisced enough (and we have). Initially it was "just and proper" that African Americans be recognized for their achievements and struggles. WE DESERVED IT!! It always tickels me how folks try to say its "weird" that a set group of people look for special recognition when they havent been in our shoes. HELL, we deserved at least that measly week that turned into a measly month. Fact is African American history will NEVER get the coverage it rightfully deserves because it is not deemed important on a larger scale. Thats why we need to move on now and commit to action. And no racism per se didnt start in American but I'll be damned if America didnt corner the market!!! Stewed it to tasty perfection!!! How the hell can we be exclusionary when we've been one the ones "excluded" for centuries. Just as it is kinda "weird" to call a Black person "racist" (MY OPINION) racism is only effective when one entity has the power to hold down another, discriminate against another. And since we make up only 12% of the population its kinda hard for us to prevent anybody from doing anything. think about it. ONCE AGAIN MY OPINION.

Author
Kamikaze
Date
2006-02-10T11:01:34-06:00
ID
71399
Comment

Secondly, Tom.I did say stop focusing on history. Stop FOCUSING on it NOT forget it. The Emmit Till doc. made me MAD. MAD enough to go to work, not mad enough to sit down and watch another documentary on how black folks have been persecuted through time. Sure, we do NEED it year round, but the fact is we will NEVER get our proper dose of African American history because it isnt deemed important in school curriculum. The American history curriculum is about Caucasian history for the most part. That's why I say move to action because our history will never get equal billing. It's time we DO something. AGAIN. if you're white...homeschooled, new school, old school, etc...You havent walked in our shoes. So even with most superior intelligence you still cant understand exactly what black folks need. This subject is reallllly touchy with me as you can see by past columns and posts. People outside of our skin hue as "guy" put it, try to quantify or rationalize or even "fix" our issues when in reality youo don't have a frame of reference. You should just sit back, acknowledge that you cant possibly feel our pain, and ask " what DO WE need to do to help YA'LL stop this cycle.

Author
Kamikaze
Date
2006-02-10T11:12:12-06:00
ID
71400
Comment

Oh and brandon....No! we havent WON anything...Last time I checked I hadnt got my trophy in the mail. LOL just kidding. And we havent gained enough either true. Hell we're just becoming whole, having just been able to work our way up from being 3/5 of a man in earlier drafts of our constitution. That's right. It was documented that we were only 3/5 of a person. Look it up. Sure we can vote. But obviously somebody figured out a way to make our votes not even count when necessary(wink wink George W.) and Colin Powell and MS. Rice. PLEASE....ya blew your argument...we dont even claim them. They're definitely no achievement in my eyes.

Author
Kamikaze
Date
2006-02-10T11:19:57-06:00
ID
71401
Comment

Kamikaze, if I gave away my freethinking hat and said "What do we need to do to help YA'LL stop this cycle," then I'd still be in favor of Black History Month because the majority of African Americans in my social circle are. So I don't really get the point of your post. I also think it would be very white-man's-burden of me to go about something with the attitude of "This doesn't make any sense, but hey, 'you people' want it..." I mean, seriously, Kami, if you want me to believe something you'll have to convince me. Saying "I'm black, you're white, so you don't know what you're talking about"--which is what you just said to me, and what Tillman just said to Donna a couple of weeks ago--isn't an argument. It's an appeal to identity. Appeals to identity don't work on me, especially when I know there are other issues at play. I have had pro-life women tell me that as a man, I shouldn't have an opinion on abortion, and I've laughed that off, too. I am first and foremost a person, and as a person I have the right to my own damn opinion. And I'm not giving up on our school system. I think one day we'll finally teach black history well in the American history curriculum. But until that day comes, I think we need a Black History Month or the stories won't be told at all. Your reaction to the Emmett Till documentary proves that history matters. Some kids might not get affected as much by that documentary, but maybe they're affected by the story of Sojourner Truth or Rosa Parks, maybe they're affected by the speeches of Malcolm X or Barbara Jordan. We can't just teach a cereal box overview of black history and expect it to mean anything to kids. I also don't subscribe to the theory that black history is something that only black kids need to know about. American history that doesn't acknowledge that America's original claims to universal rights were a hypocritical joke isn't American history at all; it's propaganda. And I think we can do better than propaganda. So sorry, no. It's black history or bust. As far as I'm concerned, we need to cover it well in the mainstream American history curriculum--and until we do, I'm backing up Black History Month. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-02-10T12:17:13-06:00
ID
71402
Comment

Nice comments, Kamikaze. Thanks. I really liked this column and am glad you wrote it. One thought I had: Black History Month could be renamed Black-History-Acceptable-to-White-Folks History month, at least in so many of the interpretations. Remember the error-filled uproar when Imari Obadele was coming to Jackson last year to speak? Our history is filled with difficult times, and we need to try to know them all, so we don't repeat the same things. Also, Kamikaze's message that history is not enough is right on.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-02-10T12:19:55-06:00
ID
71403
Comment

Now, I will grant that Black History Month curriculums are pretty damn milquetoast right now. We need to do better. But if we say "We don't need Black History Month," then privileged white bigots will be all too happy to smile broadly and say "Sure!," remove it from the curriculum, and not change the mainstream American history curriculum to compensate--"blotting out thy name," to use a biblical metaphor. Saying that there should be no Black History Month is tantamount to saying that public school kids don't need to know anything about African-American history, because in practice that's what will happen--get rid of it, and the stories are gone as far as the public school curriculum is concerned. And since the public schools are by and large statistically educating the next generation of black leaders, you can probably pretty much kiss the civil rights movement goodbye at that point. Yeah, the Black History Month stuff is kind of dumb and sometimes kind of patronizing--but do you really want to see a new generation of kids who don't know anything about slavery or Jim Crow or the civil rights movement? Is that something we want to make happen in this country? Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-02-10T12:24:47-06:00
ID
71404
Comment

ACtually, reading Tom's post, he is making good points, too. I don't think it's all about "asking y'all" -- being that many white people are not the only ones ignorant of all of our collective history. Many blacks are, too. And it's complex thing to consider, being that it is hard to understand why Black History Month isn't sufficient unless and until you understand more about black history far beyond what is acceptable to talk about every February. And I've already made it clear that I reject the notion that "black history" belongs to black people. That attitude is fraught with landmines because if all Americans do not, and cannot, learn about our complete history -- and are lambasted if they consider all of our history "American" history -- then you are setting up a divided situation where it is going to be mighty difficult, if not impossible, to change policy in order to truly level that playing field that goes back to the time and beyond, when the mule and the 40 acres were never delivered. American history must include the history of all Americans -- and it belongs to every single one of us, whether or not we want to accept it.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-02-10T12:25:15-06:00
ID
71405
Comment

Wow. I sounded a little more forceful than I'd intended; sorry, folks. It's just that I'm always hearing "We don't need Black History Month" from privileged whites, so this is an argument I'm used to making forcefully. I agree with both of you that Black History Month isn't adequate. But eating cereal with water for breakfast isn't adequate, either, and it's sure as hell better than going without. The social welfare system we have in this country isn't adequate, but I wouldn't want to get rid of it. Our attempts to protect the rights of women and minorities aren't adequate, but that doesn't mean they need to end. If anyone can explain to me one viable way by which getting rid of Black History Month will actually lead to better black history education, I'm all ears. But my suspicion is that the folks in charge will be all too happy to remove anything that emphasizes black history, half-assed and milquetoast though it may be. Black History Month is a half-measure at best. But it's better than no measure at all. People are fighting to keep it right now because they know that if we lose it, there will be nothing new coming up to compensate. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-02-10T12:33:43-06:00
ID
71406
Comment

"And no racism per se didnt start in American but I'll be damned if America didnt corner the market!!!" - Kamikaze I'm no apologist for slavery... I'm repulsed by the concept and frankly view our current capitalist nation as a modified and glorified form of slaverly with minimum wages and steep ladders for the bulk of the majority. At the very least, it's a strict caste system few can shed. But, I will hardly agree that America cornered the market. Slavery is prehistoric and can be found in ancient Babylon, classical Greece and Rome, China, India, and Africa as well as in the America and Europe (aka the New World). Do you think free citizens built the pyramids in Egypt and the Coliseum in Rome? All these great relics throughout all these "great civilizations" were built on the backs of slaves of many nations. If you want to know who's cornered the slave trade market, you need look no further than the 30 million women and children throughout Asia and the Pacific that have been trafficked over the past 30+ years... Most of them sold into sex trade. The number of African slaves documented as trafficked to the Americas is a fraction of that number... But, I see few ancestors of American slaves and slave owners in arms about these poor souls being digested by the slavery that permeates our modern global culture. Please don't get me wrong... I agree with a large majority of what Kamikaze has to say on this issue but I simply think it's irresponsible to skew reality to make a point and assign the weight of blame on America for a problem that has PLAGUED and STILL plagues our global community. If, and that's a big if, America cornered the market on slavery, it did so with participation from many nations in Africa as well as Portugal for wealth and gain. Hell, Portugal is is responsible for an estimated 40+/-% of the slaves trafficked for over 4.5 centuries from what I learned in American Civilization (which included in-depth history of slavery from a very different perspective than most are taught). Of the bulk of slaves trafficked, I believe Brazil had the largest concentration and number of African slaves -- nearly twice that of European and post-European America. Now, if you were to say that America had cornered the market on systematically oppressing minorities and "ex-slaves", I might agree but would probably have quite a few objections as well... I'd be forced to contemplate apartheid and several other clashes for equality or liberty faced by many races and ethnicities throughout our collective history. I simply think it's unfair to act as if this is a problem isolated to America and isolated to a Black vs White conflict. Again, it's a plague that has been a part of humanity's collective history.

Author
kaust
Date
2006-02-10T12:40:04-06:00
ID
71407
Comment

good article Black people have indeed gained something from being constantly bombarded with the false hopes of only a few of our Black forefathers/mothers tireless fight to find a place in this society for their race.... ....a few things actually: 1. Laziness/Lathargic 2. Low Self-Esteem 3. No Accountability/Personal responsibility 4. Criminal minds 5. Hopelessness to name a few..all of which can be corrected very easily with more than just 1 month of skewed education about Blacks contribution to this society called America. they(School system) have watered down everything so much, kids don't care about their ancestor accomplishments anymore. How it can inspire them. How it can teach them to be better citizens. This is where parents have to step it up about their culture and it's people. Because there is definitely not a shortage of Christopher Columbus being taught to this day. Somebody's making it a point to teach the generatioins that follow about their heritage, no doubt. I blame the schools(40%) and the parents(60%) on this one. Parents can/should handle the home with teaching black history but the schools have definitely dropped the ball when it comes to teaching black history.

Author
JSU
Date
2006-02-10T13:00:31-06:00
ID
71408
Comment

Parents can teach black history, but it isn't their job. Not unless they're homeschooling their kids. We don't have compulsory education laws in this country so that kids can get free daycare. They're supposed to be getting educated. Black history is part of that education. If schools are not teaching black history, then they're as much to blame, as far as I'm concerned, as they would be if they didn't teach math or physics. I am getting very annoyed at the Bill Cosby ethic that says that kids are supposed to spend all day at school, then come home and do four to six hours (he said this!) of homework every night. Excuse me, but if you're doing that much homework, why the hell did you bother to go to school? I mean, that starts getting close to a 60-hour work week pretty quick. Then I hear parents are supposed to be involved. Uhm, it's always nice, but why is it necessary? Aren't schools supposed to be educating the kids? Preferably while the kids are, you know, actually in class? Public school should be educating kids. If they're not, the thing to do is increase funding so more teachers can be hired, more classrooms can be purchased, and smaller class sizes can thereby be achieved. I've heard a lot of people blame low-income parents, which is unfair and counterproductive. The fault lies in the fact that this country's legislators by and large don't give a damn about the majority-minority kids who are in our public school system. Their kids are in nice swanky private schools where Bill Cosby doesn't say they have to come home to 4-6 hours of homework and parental tutoring. They've got theirs. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-02-10T13:30:15-06:00
ID
71409
Comment

Whatever. It's all whities fault. We are evil except for those of us who are willingly to blame whitie and openly say so in our newspaper. That is such an ignorant stance you took that white people can't understand the concept of racism. I'm the racial minority in Jackson. I'm glad someone else rebuked your inflamatory comments on Americans being the ultimate perperatrators of racism. Hell we liberated from within. What about the minority groups in Irag that had to be liberated by the good ol USA to get their fair shot. We could have black history for 13 months a year and it wouldn't make a difference. You'd still have a disapportionate number of crimes being committed by black people. You'd still have ignorant ass kids coming out of the schools(even the ones controlled by black people). You'd still have black people selling out to the politicians for these ineffective programs. And best yet you'd still have black people blaming someone else instead of themselves. I suggest reading a book called Atlas Shrugged. You might learn something from it. It's been years since I read it, but the theme I remember most is that society is a leach and giving them everything they want doesn't help one bit; it makes them want more and more. Stop trying to say you're not exclusionist; you are. and your current tactics aren't working I know nothing about my personal ethnic history and it doesn't affect me. I know I'm an American that's all i need to know. I do agree with you the revolution is over and the need for change which involves action. It's time for a new game plan thou; which includes all Americans and to stop single handed focusing on black people anf for God's sake stop using the damn slavery argument. I didn't do it and you weren't one. I won't argue the whole family argument and education for fear of Donna getting on to me. We're ideologically different. Republicans/Conservatives believe that Self, Family, Church , and community are the way then govt. Democrats/Liberals believe that govt first then the rest. In refrence to Knol's argument we're all slaves when it comes to a free market. That's the nature of the capatilism beast. it's a very Survival of the fitest. At least our minimum wage slaves are living in better conditions than the minimum wage slaves of China, Mexico, Easter Europe and so on... In refrence to Tom's argument...Bill Cosby is right. That very method. school all day and homework for several hours, holidays, and summer reading barely got me ready for college.... More money more money I hear that argument to much...It's not the education system or quality of education that is failing (close your eyes donna) it's the families fault. Core values are absent. These kids coming out of school are smarter and more able than they've ever been. They don't have the basic core they need so no matter how much money you throw at it it won't work. Also, I knew people who went to the nice swanky high schools in New Orleans (Jesuit, Ben Franklin) and those kids did more homework than I did at my public school. And guess what they made high test scores and went off to fancy colleges. that's a nuff damage for now....

Author
guywithanidea
Date
2006-02-10T17:09:58-06:00
ID
71410
Comment

Whatever. It's all whities fault. We are evil except for those of us who are willingly to blame whitie and openly say so in our newspaper. guy, what cliff did you just fall off of? We could have black history for 13 months a year and it wouldn't make a difference. You'd still have a disapportionate number of crimes being committed by black people. You'd still have ignorant a** kids coming out of the schools(even the ones controlled by black people). You'd still have black people selling out to the politicians for these ineffective programs. And best yet you'd still have black people blaming someone else instead of themselves. And what about white people, guy? I assume you're white -- what are you doing right now ... besides sounding like a card-carrying racist who are generalizing about black people and making yourself sound like a defensive fool who doesn't want us to face our very own history. With due respect. On the topic of Bill Cosby, I assume you read his entire speech and not just the part lifted out of context by racism apologists, right? Google it, if not. And then come back and let's talk more about everything that he said. A nuff damage for now.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-02-10T17:17:27-06:00
ID
71411
Comment

“Those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history.” Dr. Carter G. Woodson, founder of Negro History Week, 1926

Author
urbangypsy
Date
2006-02-10T17:18:45-06:00
ID
71412
Comment

guywithanidea writes: I suggest reading a book called Atlas Shrugged. You might learn something from it. It's been years since I read it, but the theme I remember most is that society is a leach and giving them everything they want doesn't help one bit; it makes them want more and more. I read it when I was 14. It's a well-written book that advocates satanism. No, literally. Satanism. The happy ending (I'm not spoiling the plot much) is that all of the great intellectuals of the world--a few hundred of them--create a utopian paradise together, and the rest of the world--men, women, and children--starves and dies off. Charming. I have no use for Miss Rand's philosophy. Her cereal-box regurgitations of wannabe neo-Aristotelian jingoism mixed with her adolescent worship of "strong" people (such as those who murder and dismember little girls) aren't worth reading on the can, much less discussing in any serious conversation about race. There's something to be the concept of Atlas shrugging, that the put-upon person has the right, ultimately, to stop being an enabler. And I think there's a very good message about that buried somewhere in the cesspool that is Atlas Shrugged. But your hateful tirade against low-income blacks is a good example of why the world would be a much better place had her books stayed in her drawer where they belonged. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-02-10T18:07:17-06:00
ID
71413
Comment

I read it when I was 14. It's a well-written book that advocates satanism. Chortle. I was waiting to see how one of our regulars would gobble that up and spit it out. ;-) I, too, am fans of intelligent libertarianism that also allows for the idea that government has a role, but Ayn Rand was an idiot. With all due respect. And ditto on the hateful tirade, guy. I suggest you keep such tirades to yourself and try to stick to discussing facts and issues. Hate is not welcome here.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-02-10T18:11:25-06:00
ID
71414
Comment

Ayn Rand was so definitely an idiot. There's a reason why she never gets taught in philosophy courses, and it's not because she's too controversial. It that she didn't, strictly speaking, have a philosophy. She just took a few out-of-contexts snippets from Aristotle, misused them, and then ranted against "parasites." Folks who are studying her books looking for the deeper meaning needn't bother; there isn't any. She makes Rush Limbaugh look like Leonardo da Vinci. An old buddy of mine who used to co-moderate a philosophy IRC channel with me--he was a militant atheist and loved a good argument; the channel topic was always "Bring your assertion and a body bag."--used to love the folks we affectionately (or not) called "Randroids." They used the same arguments, the same cultish terminology, and their arguments always fell apart under scrutiny in exactly the same way. Yeah, a Randroid and a right-wing nut--that was an enjoyable night of conversation for us, yesiree. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-02-10T18:19:10-06:00
ID
71415
Comment

my point was missed once again...My point again is about being sepertaists. We have to all move forward as Americans, Jacksonians, etc...My little "tirade" is meant to say that no matter what we do under the "Black" tag the problems will still be there because it only isolates black peple from the rest of society by making them special. I made no mention of low-income so don't feel free to presume that's what I'm talking about because I definitely don't think it's an exclusive low-income contigency. I do agree with Kamikaze. it's time for action, but let's do it together as society... btw: I was pretty sure I'd be the racist for disagreeing with JFP and it loyal bloggers and suggesting we be seen as one. I know that's not popular with the left because a big part of their strategy would be gone..it's ok with me. btw2: I did thinks I was going to hell if I finished the book but there were some very intriguing thoughts in enabling people and the ills of socialism. I do agree Ann Raynd isn't my favorite person, but a good thought provoker ... Chortle= hehe for us who have to look it up on dictionary.com

Author
guywithanidea
Date
2006-02-10T18:42:00-06:00
ID
71416
Comment

guy, don't complain about your point being "missed" when you make remarks like this: We could have black history for 13 months a year and it wouldn't make a difference. You'd still have a disapportionate number of crimes being committed by black people. You'd still have ignorant a** kids coming out of the schools(even the ones controlled by black people). You'd still have black people selling out to the politicians for these ineffective programs. And best yet you'd still have black people blaming someone else instead of themselves. That is ugly stuff, and if you're going to make such statements, at least take enough personal responsibility to not blame other people for misunderstanding you. it's time for action, but let's do it together as society... Who the hell said we're NOT supposed to do that? ARE YOU LISTENING? Or, are you too busy wallowing in defensiveness to actually read the words that other people write? And, screw you, guy. Disagreeing with the JFP has nothing to do with the reaction you get for making blatantly racist statements. Grow the hell up and stop blaming other people for what you yourself say. I'm not deleting it so everyone can see EXACTLY what you wrote and then how you're whining about being misunderstood. This crap oughta go on a billboard on Lakeland.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-02-10T18:46:33-06:00
ID
71417
Comment

BTW, have you looked up the actual text of Bill Cosby's infamous speech, yet? Please do us the honor of reading the whole thing instead of quoting sound bites out of context.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-02-10T19:01:39-06:00
ID
71418
Comment

You know, guy, until you apologize for your blatantly racist comments, I don't really care what else you have to say on this issue. That was some really harsh, Citizen's Council level stuff. That might play well in your social circles, but it doesn't wash here. And a hell of a time to say you "agree with Kamikaze." I doubt he's all that flattered! Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-02-10T19:19:34-06:00
ID
71419
Comment

I don't get the bash on Atlas Shrugged. Probably a different topic but Rand grew up in Russia, experienced World Wars, bad examples of communism/socialism, and more. She saw what a bloated government -- in control of innovation and economics -- can do to the creative spirit... The heroes escape the system and form their own society of free economics and free thinking. By doing so, the system could no longer provide for the people that had become economically and psychically neutered by the system and regression to a primitive state became inevitable. I don't get it... If anything, this, to me, is an inspiration to be an independent thinker... To remove one's dependence on the system... To produce creative works and reap the fruits of labor... What I gathered is she respects the "strong people"... They are the ones that create vaccines, invent products that save time or lives, produce works of art that enlighten and inspire... These are the rebels from the system... These are the free-thinkers chained to no one but their own inspiration and path. These are the ones that break oppression and enable liberty. As for the whole too much homework or kids coming home and doing 4-6 hours, I actually agree with that notion. I'm from the school where I came home, was allowed or sneaked an hour of TV, ate dinner with the family, and spent most of the night reading, writing or doing school work. It showed in my grades... It instilled an appreciation and thirst for knowledge. I, for one, empathize with Cosby's words. They remind me of a father worried about a child. The lecture is never soft-spoken nor is it politically correct. It is direct. It hurts (generally because it's pretty accurate)... And, it makes you think about your "ways" regardless of if you agree. You usually sit with a psychic-mirror turned on your self and are forced to reflect. I think his words are words many young men (regardless of race) should hear and reflect upon. I also think his words are words women (of any race) should heed. I don't fully agree with his brashness nor his generalizations but I have to say anyone that demands responsible parenting and familial connections and a life less-reliant on blame and shame, is saying something MANY Americans need to hear regardless of the tone of their skin or their ethnic heritage.

Author
kaust
Date
2006-02-10T19:40:39-06:00
ID
71420
Comment

I like Cosby's words, too. But I don't like when they're lifted out of context to support the really ugly stuff that guy showered our direction. You can put poison in soup, and the soup still have ingredients that are good for you. But the poison will still kill you.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-02-10T19:48:30-06:00
ID
71421
Comment

Did I upset you Donna? That sounded personal. Don't erase it; i'm not asking you too so don't make it read like I am. I'm not whinning. I'm not ashamed of it. It's not the best written argument and surely didn't convey the thoughts I wanted (or maybe it did and this is your way of defending the leftist movement). The remark is meant to show that the problems are still going to be there if we keep focusing on one group nothing will change because it could very well not be a "race" issue so much anymore (which i believe and argue) and a broader problem like weak families which plagues all Americans. But I can't argue that because you will yell at me because you're tired of people saying that.

Author
guywithanidea
Date
2006-02-10T19:51:22-06:00
ID
71422
Comment

And, for the record, I'm no Randroid. ;-) I disagree with a lot of her 'philiosophies' and passions and wholly agree she was pretty much an idiot in most of her views. Still, I find her concept of hero and her ideas on capitalism and self to be thought-provoking and in many ways a warning of the dangers of not being self-sufficient and too reliant on the system.

Author
kaust
Date
2006-02-10T20:03:50-06:00
ID
71423
Comment

reading Knol's post I have a lot to learn about writing arguments... Tom. One thing I hate is people demanding apologizes from people. It's too prevelant in society and only the lame believe the apology. If I were the racist you think I am it would be nothing but a big fu. Donna I haven't read Cosby's speeches. I watched an interview with him and they way Knol said it can't be better said than that. And by the way I didn't bring Cosby in to this....What's ugly about what I said when refrenceing Cosby? See below... In refrence to Tom's argument...Bill Cosby is right. That very method. school all day and homework for several hours, holidays, and summer reading barely got me ready for college.... More money more money I hear that argument to much...It's not the education system or quality of education that is failing (close your eyes donna) it's the families fault. Core values are absent. These kids coming out of school are smarter and more able than they've ever been. They don't have the basic core they need so no matter how much money you throw at it it won't work. Also, I knew people who went to the nice swanky high schools in New Orleans (Jesuit, Ben Franklin) and those kids did more homework than I did at my public school. And guess what they made high test scores and went off to fancy colleges.

Author
guywithanidea
Date
2006-02-10T20:06:18-06:00
ID
71424
Comment

Hell, yeah, guy. Blatant racism always upsets me. I'm proud of that, and wouldn't change that for anything. When I was growing up, I was called a n*gger lover about 100 too many times to give a damn about hurting the feelings of someone making racist statements. There's a lot of ground to made up in this state on that front. And if you didn't mean to make racist statements as you stumbled to try to say something else, then take Tom Head's advice, be a man and apologize for saying something stupid. It happens to us all. The difference is, some folks have the self-esteem to apologize for hurting others and generalizing about whole groups of people. And it rather amazes me that you would make such generalizations about black people, and then try to complain about me getting "personal" with you for telling you not to make racist statements on my Web site. Good Lord, man. Try some self-examination and personal responsibility here. You're making noises about education; has it crossed your mind that yours might need some supplementing as well. I've reached that point many times in my life; there is no shame in figuring out you don't know enough about a particular topic to say very much intelligent about it. After all, that's what you're saying about other people, now isn't it? Actually, some of what you're trying to spit and sputter out now does, or might, make some sense to me, and if you bothered to try some reading comprehension, you would find that a lot of people here agree with the idea that the debate has to evolve and become more sophisticated. What I am incredibly tired of hearing are excuses and attempts to scapegoat people with weak reasoning like, "It's the families' fault." OK, Einstein, then tell me how the condition of the family -- and particularly the black family, which y'all are inevitably are talking about when you say that -- got that way. What factors in our society -- many of which we still have control over -- contributed to the "decline" of the black family? What is our society doing now to help re-strengthen the black family (it started out just fine, before being raped by slavery and Jim Crow, in case you're unaware). Come on, tax yourself a little bit here rather than lazily throwing around Ayn Rand as an excuse for your misinformed stereotypes about "they" and "them." I've heard that crap all my life, and I believe Mississippians can do better. Once you help us come up with some of the causes of the weak family, then perhaps we can come up with some solutions for some of those factors, and ways to reverse those problems. A hint that might distress you: You can't walk this talk without an understanding of history—which folks who make your arguments seem particularly allergic to -- uh, because our history makes white folks look bad. Get over it; it's true. My hint to you is to figure out that it's what we do today -- including our willingness to face and use our history -- that is going to determine whether the following generations are as embarrassed about us as we are about our predecessors. And don't try to come back and say the family is the cause of the weak family; if you do, you're going to get an F in logic and sent to your room without supper. And if you try the racist bullsh!t again and try to say it's because black people are this or that (or "blaming someone else instead of themselves"), then I am ousting you without further warning for being utterly hopeless and someone I don't care to converse with again. Your choice.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-02-10T20:14:03-06:00
ID
71425
Comment

You could indeed learn a lot from Knol, guy. I don't recall ever seeing him make generalized statements about entire races of people. You could call such a strategy the poison in your well. It's hard to take anything you say seriously after that. It's funny that you seem so offended at the suggestion that you apologize for saying such ugly things. Do you not realize the demands that you personally are trying to hoist on other people? But others are not supposed to be offended at what you say, but you are offended at the response that maybe you should apologize? That seems like rather remarkable hubris to me. Re Bill Cosby: I am going to violate rules of netiquette and admit to you that I barely can tell what you're saying. Your statement is near incomprehensible. I don't understand your punctuation, much less your logic. And it seems mighty ironic that someone with such clear ideas about other people should educate themselves and their children can come on here and, first, make such a racist diatribe about black people and, then, follow it up with a near-incomprehensible statement. It sounds to me, best I can tell, that you're doing what many others do and lifting his personal responsibility argument out of context, while ignoring what he said about white society and the media. Here is the (in)famous Cosby speech that people love to quote in its inentirety. Follow-up interview with Tavis Smiley One money quote: I don't give me a blank about those right-wing white people! They can't do any more to us than they've already started with. They can't try to throw us back any farther than they've tried to throw us back. And they're doing a very good job of it. Sometimes, guy, people deserve blame whether or not that makes them comfortable. Comfort must not be the priority here.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-02-10T20:29:18-06:00
ID
71426
Comment

guywithanidea: "....only the lame believe the apology" Philip: By your standards, a Southerner in Boston would be lame for demanding an apology from any Bostonian who said Southerners were just a bunch of uneducated inbred morons who deserve NO respect at all. If not, then why not? I suppose an American insulted by Europeans overseas would be lame for demanding an apology from any Londoner or Parisian who said to their face "Americans are a laughing-stock, known mainly for their vacuous culture and profound ignorance. We all have a "dumb Yank" story on our travels. This is why we hate you Americans." (paraphrase of an Actual article, mind you). Somehow, I doubt your average Southerner or American in that situation would simply stand by and take that kind of abuse. I guess demanding apologies aren't necessarily so lame after all.

Author
Philip
Date
2006-02-13T00:16:24-06:00
ID
71427
Comment

my point was missed once again...My point again is about being sepertaists. We have to all move forward as Americans, Jacksonians, etc...My little "tirade" is meant to say that no matter what we do under the "Black" tag the problems will still be there because it only isolates black peple from the rest of society by making them special. making them special? This is the most moronic statement I ever read in my life. Whites have enjoyed being "seperate and special" from the rest of society for a long time now...hell they invented it and some still practice it to this day.. All blacks want is the opportunity to know their history, all of it, not just tiny portions of it to suit the elite's klandestine activity. the School system of teaching American history is badly warped and midguiding for the most part. The schools have become daytime babysittters for kids, not places of higher learning. Making it to college to open my eyes was the best thing I ever did because if I had relied on the little knowledge I got in public schools (k-12), I would be right where this govermment wants me to be, dead or in jail. oh and Prisons is big business too, but that's another story. All you get in the schools today is blips of each races history, but actual classes on CC, the French Revolution, the English language, etc... where's the history of the American native or as the insulting name the Pilgrims gave them, Indians. To move forward as a "Americans" each race needs to have in depth knowledge of their history to make a positive impact on society. Since plymouth rock landed on their backs, the Black people have being deprived access to their history and an opportunity to grow economically in Amercia so over the generations they have resorted to high crime, as would any people do who are oppressed over hundreds of years. Black people can stand to take a page out of the jews book for example and circulate their money within their communities so they will be able to teach their culture uncontested by the outside world so they can be ready for the world when they face it. So your point has no yoke to speak of.

Author
JSU
Date
2006-02-13T09:56:21-06:00
ID
71428
Comment

JSU writes: Since plymouth rock landed on their backs, the Black people have being deprived access to their history and an opportunity to grow economically in Amercia so over the generations they have resorted to high crime, as would any people do who are oppressed over hundreds of years. Damn good point, and thanks for saying it. If I see one more comment blaming "black culture" or "the blacks" independent of 450 years of institutionalized oppression, I'm going to have some harsh words to share. Guywithanidea, "whitey" is to blame for the problems facing black communities in this country, and the fact that you don't know this tells me that schools are not doing an adequate job of teaching American history. Because this is not some controversial point of interpretation--the facts are there, the events are there. You would have to be a historical revisionist on the order of being a Holocaust denier to suggest that white folks have not been the primary culprits in the grinding down of black communities. To say "it's just the blacks" is not a valid, or even entirely coherent, position. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-02-13T10:24:09-06:00
ID
71429
Comment

I may just be showing my ignorance here, but I don't understand why "Colin and Codi" don't count. Is it solely because you don't agree with them politically or fit your definition of what an African American politician/government worker is supposed to be? Agree with them or not, they are the first of your race to ever hold these positions and that seems like an accomplishment at worst, or another step in the right direction at best.

Author
brandon
Date
2006-02-13T10:41:07-06:00
ID
71430
Comment

I don't think anyone's saying that they don't count, necessarily, but there's the danger of tokenism. The successes of a few haven't translated into the successes of many; there's still a huge gap between growing up black in this country and growing up white, and the danger posed by citing examples like Colin Powell is that folks might think it represents social parity between emerging black and white leaders when in truth it doesn't. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-02-13T11:07:00-06:00
ID
71431
Comment

making them special? This is the most moronic statement I ever read in my life. Amen, JSU. Please, please don't think all white people think (or don't think) this way! The "special rights" bullsh!t has been rhetoric for people who want to limit other's people rights for many decades. Today, its latest version is against gays and lesbians, but, as we can see from guy's brilliant analysis, it is still sticking around in the race arena as well. And to hear some of these guys tell it, all that's over and done with. There is no reason whatsoever to talk about race in 2006. As if. Thanks, guy, for rock-solid evidence that we do. And for showing us why our education is so inadequate on these issues. It's never too late, you know. I would also argue, JSU, that each race needs an in-depth knowledge of each other's history if we're really going to make it to the promised land. I'm itching to respond to brandon's Colin-Condi query, but I think I'll let someone wo isn't white take that on first.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-02-13T11:10:00-06:00
ID
71432
Comment

I don't care who responds, black or white. I was not baiting with that question/comment. I seriously don't "get" why they don't "count." I get what Tom said. They certainly don't signify that all is well, but they are African Americans in positions of great power in government, which is a good thing. While I'm asking, and hopefully this is close enough not to be considered off topic, but what would be equal? If the percentage of white to black coaches, teachers, doctors, business leaders, politicians, etc was the same as the percentage of white to black in population, could we then say things are equal. (By the way, I am certain that if this was the case, the work would not be done because there would still be plenty of racist individuals around, and most likely always will be no matter what).

Author
brandon
Date
2006-02-13T14:50:06-06:00
ID
71433
Comment

I know you weren't baiting, brandon. It sounds like a sincere question. I just don't think it's my place to answer this one. This isn't about bean-counting equality, brandon. It's about opportunity and truly level playing fields. And that will never happen if most white people are not willing to question whether the playing field is truly level ... or face their own lingering racism. If we really want to get to the other side, let's join together and get there. But, along the way, there are going to be moments of discomfort, and all of us are going to hear things we'd rather not.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-02-13T15:36:12-06:00
ID
71434
Comment

I would also argue, JSU, that each race needs an in-depth knowledge of each other's history if we're really going to make it to the promised land. I agree. Brandon: they both count in my eyes. Kamikaze is is speaking for himself on his comments. Any idiot can see that Colin Powell, a 5 star General in the US Army mind you, is a strong Black man. He broke through the most solid of obstacles to become what he is today. Now, his track record got him there, NOT affirmative action like some negros like to think. I'm just so happy the brother is still alive after all these years. His mouth keeps him alive. He never puts his foot in it. He knows how to stay alive. Let's not forget all the blacks who died "mysteriously" during the Clinton Administration for bucking the flow (Ron Brown, Vernon ??, etc..). I believe Colin is still down for black people and he's a great inspiration for black kids who want to be great in their lives. Colin has mastered the art of staying alive while fighting forAmerican blacks(ultimately). There are so many others who died for not playing the game right. Condi, I don't know much about but what I've seen and heard, she's a strong black woman, BUT she uses her strength for all the wrong reasons. She's lied, backtracked and stumbled when the tough questions are asked about Bush. but I still claim her as a strong black woman, nobody can take that from her. Blacks who go into politics MUST know, that you are being watched like a hawk and it's very important to keep your words, image, focus and intentions on the square. Colin has done a fine job of this, Condi has not. but they both are claimed and well respected in the hood. Don't let Dave Chappelle and foolish people in the street fool you.

Author
JSU
Date
2006-02-14T09:00:29-06:00
ID
71435
Comment

Hello, It look me a while to look at this thread because I was afraid I would read some things that would make me angry. I was right. However, instead of venting, I am going to simply contribute to the conversation. Besides, the chest pains I've felt after reading some of the responses have made me afraid to really open up right now. If Black History Month seems monotonous, a good approach would be to extend it farther than what occurred on these shores. How about including the entire African Diaspora? A museum in San Francisco is doing this now: http://www.moadsf.org/

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2006-02-14T22:48:54-06:00
ID
71436
Comment

Not a bad idea, Latasha. For that matter, I was thinking earlier tonight, as I played Civilization 3, about how the only African culture in the entire game outside of Egypt and Carthage--the only black culture in the game, out of 31 options--was friggin' ZULULAND. Where's Ethiopia? Nubia? The Bantu? Hell, the Baganda? Where's the Sudanese Pyramids wonder, the Great Zimbabwe wonder, the Nimrud Warrior special unit? We've got three ancient South American empires--throw in the Olmecs and Mixtecs and you've basically got a nice course in precolonial South America sitting there right in the game--but if you want to be an African prince, your only option is friggin' Shaka Zulu. This isn't a slam on poor Sid Meier, but it made me realize just how ignorant Americans are as a culture about African history, that kids aren't CLAMORING to play these African empires. I don't think a public school course in pre-colonial Africa, and better African representation in world history courses, would be a bad thing at all. The one thing I don't like about Black History Month is that it starts and ends with oppression. If you're Irish-American, you probably at least already know about scattered bits of history--the Celts, the IRA, the potato famine. Ditto if you're German-American, or Scottish-American, or Welsh-American. But if you're African-American it's all Kunta Kinte and spears and loincloths and chapped boobies. There's THOUSANDS OF YEARS of history there, people--international trade, large cities, literature, music, more languages than anywhere else on Earth outside of maybe the Indus valley, and on and on. But people don't know this because all they've seen has been poverty and colonial oppression. This leads to an image of black folks as eternally passive victims or, worse, as inconsequential savages--left-wing and right-wing racism, respectively. It is almost understandable to be a racist if all you think ever happened in Africa over the past 50,000 years was a bunch of people dancing around drumming and eating raw gazelle meat, but there were African cultures to rival anything the rest of the world had to offer and people just don't hear about this. So yeah, I think African-American history should certainly be looked at within the context of the broader African diaspora and precolonial Africa. People need to be aware of the STRENGTHS of black heritage, and not just in a "pat you on the head, oh isn't it special what You People have had to OVERCOME" sort of way. Black history is not just shat-on-by-whites history. There are stories there waiting to be told. It's a great time to be a black historian, or any other kind of historian who cares about the truth. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-02-15T01:38:52-06:00
ID
71437
Comment

L.W. - Jackson could definitely use a museum like that. It's long overdue. Black History as it relates to the youth of today in America(Jackson especially) and how they need to know about living in America first is priority, the knowledge of the slaves, then to sharecroppers, then to invetors and what they did to help blacks to get a leg up today is almost lost....in history...literally.. These black kids today can't make the connection between Colin Powell and Aunt Jemima, but they are connected and the history of them is very very important to the black kids of today. skipping over it is damn near insulting. Most black people don't want to remeber the beatings, rapings and indentured servitude, etc..blacks had to go through to reach even this point in 2006...

Author
JSU
Date
2006-02-15T10:29:37-06:00
ID
71438
Comment

Thanks, Tom and JSU. As I have always believed, people who do not know their history are DOOMED to repeat it. Pretending that certain things didn't happen doesn't address how those same occurrences affected the way society functions today. Someone made a comment about not bringing up slavery any more since none of us were there physically. Now that I've had time to cool off and prevent the cortisol and adrenaline in my bloodstream from chewing away at my heart, I will respond. Slavery was and is tragic, and tragedies should not be forgotton. Why? As painful as tragedies are, we learn important lessons from them. Did we learn something from the Holocaust, 9/11, Hurricane Katrina? Should we ignore those horrible events too? In all of these cases, and slavery, people suffered and died unnecessarily. Therefore, if we should minimalize slavery, then let's be fair and minimalize everything else. While we're at it, let's go ahead and ignore the sex slave trade, the maquiladoras and genocide in Darfur, Sudan. Kamikaze: I understand your frustration, but I want to think about something. It's great that you are so well-informed about black history that you are getting bored and want to be challenged more. I'd compare it to a child with a 140 IQ attending a remedial reading class. Suppose the school decided to get rid of the class since kids like him/her already know how to read. That would make the genius happy, but the children who still can't put a sentence together would be missing out on a lot. Therefore, as simplistic as Black History Month may be right now, there is still someone out there who does not even know the basic facts. Just yesterday, I had to explain to my seven-year-old niece who Rosa Parks was because she thought Parks helped free slaves. I guess she got her and Harriet Tubman mixed up. I may sound like a sellout when I say this, but I gotta say it: Yeah, we deserve more than a pat on the head, but a pat on the head now is better than a punch in the face any day. Black History Month is what we make of it. If we think it's not working, let's do our part to improve it.

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2006-02-15T11:52:49-06:00
ID
71439
Comment

L.W., I find you comments on history interesting and can't help but note how few know history in general (regardless of race)...

Author
kaust
Date
2006-02-15T11:59:36-06:00
ID
71440
Comment

L.W., you are so right about the poison of innocence. Growing up in Brandon, MS I didn't learn about Black History in school---- so I didn't find it interesting growing up. I realized that some horrible things happend in history, but I saw it as the evolution of man. Now I know better, so I try to do what I can to make sure I honor the sacrifices that have been made and not do anything that disrespects the memories of those who came before me. Some days I honestly feel like I succeed.

Author
c a webb
Date
2006-02-15T12:04:05-06:00
ID
71441
Comment

For the record...I never once said Black History Month needed to be ELIMINATED. I agree that there are those, especially the young, who need to know about black history. I said that we focus TOO MUCH on history...as if we can only reminesce or as if we have won something and dont need to fight anymore...I'm all in favor of that history being taught...in favor of it getting a much larger platform. HISTORY is necessary. it is that EMPHASIS on history ALONE that keeps us stagnant. We're actually now getting a pat on the head and a punch in the stomach AT THE SAME TIME!!!! and thats never gonna stop. the fight continues...I want young folk to see and hear our history in its full splendot...the good AND the bad. and I want them to get MAD...mad enough to act, not just sit there and absorb the info and then wait to hear the same info again next February and hear how we've "OVERCOME" when we havent. NO I dont want us to forget that use those memories as the catalyst to change. NOW!!!

Author
Kamikaze
Date
2006-02-15T12:07:30-06:00
ID
71442
Comment

Kamikaze, it may be hard to see now, but we are saying the same thing, pats and punches aside. Just use your "inside voice", please. :-) How about we embrace history and progress at the same time? I think our minds can hold two thoughts at once, as Donna would say.

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2006-02-15T12:24:28-06:00
ID
71443
Comment

Personally, I think the "getting mad" part comes from really knowing history, and not just the watered-down, acceptable parts. In many ways, I'm agreeing with everyone here on most points, anyway. But I do second L.W.'s comments—we can hold many thoughts at once, and need to.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-02-15T12:39:31-06:00

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