Get Familiar with Talented Generation

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Dear M.A.R.C.H 1,

Dear M.A.R.C.H 1,

I know you read my Dear Black History Month post and I hope you did not think you were safe. While that post was an expression of my feelings about black history month, I do not want you to think your time wouldn't come. Your time is now. You may be asking yourself why I am writing to you. I think thats a great question. Lets begin with a short description of your name: M.A.R.C.H. Its an acronym for Month After the Recognition of Colored History. What is your significance? I was just about to get to that. March 1 (while it may be a birthday, the end of the Subway $5 footlong special, and the day your rent/mortgage payment is due, etc) is the day when the weight is lifted off of the shoulders of educators, students and retailers alike. Why? I'm so glad you asked!

I'll start by explaining what you mean to me. You represent the shadow my people are forced into every year. Why would I say something so preposterous? Since you have arrived, people will now either consciously or subconsciously start to behave as though Black History is out of the way. What is sad is many of these people are my own people. Unfortunately some of us have become content with having our history celebrated in merely 28 days. Teachers adopt the mentality that whatever wasn't covered last month, wont be covered. There is no time to squeeze that information into lesson plans, right? Lets face it. After February 28, no one will be formerly admonished for not acknowledging the contributions of African Americans to our country.

I do not want to downplay your historical significance since several events happened on this day. Those events range from the establishment of the Articles of Confederation in 1781 to Congress authorizing the creation of Yellowstone National Park in 1872 to the establishment of the Peace Corps by John F. Kennedy in 1961 to the Watergate indictments in 1974. Unfortunately, there are also things that happen on this day that are not worth bragging about:

*Pictures of African American innovators are taken down.
*Black History commercials are removed from rotations.
*Daily lessons about how we have made a difference are removed from the curriculum.
*Facebook and Twitter philosophers cease using their status as a medium for quoting influential African Americans.

I'm sure you have seen teachers remove the posters, eliminate daily quotes and cut short their efforts to truly shine light on African Americans. You serve as justification for their actions. You may not see yourself like that but that is what you are. I would say I am sorry you have to bear this burden but I am not. Your burden is no heavier than the burden carried by Harriet Tubman when she took a personal stake in ensuring all runaway slaves in her camp safely reached the north. Your burden is no heavier than the burden carried by African slaves who risked their lives to become educated. Further, your burden is much lighter than the risks taken by the Quakers and Good Samaritans who taught the slaves to read and write. Your burden is no heavier than that of the African American shopper in an upscale store subjected to clearly racist behavior. Your burden perils in comparison to overtly racist ads. Your burden is no heavier than that of an African American male who still runs the risk of being mistaken for a criminal. Yes this still happens. With that said, your burden is not one of concern to me.

Since there are 30 other days in March, you may be asking yourself why I singled you out. You might even call me a hypocrite since my quotes for today's daily inspiration post were from Steve Jobs. I can understand how you feel. Nobody likes to be singled out. My answer is simple: It all happens on March 1. The process during which people make the cognizant decision to stop spotlighting African American does NOT take the entire month. I would go so far as to say it takes one day, your day. Just as people wake up on February 1 and think about ways to highlight black history, they wake up on March 1 and think its over. I imagine people saying to themselves "wow is March 1, black history month is over!" I do not imagine people saying "wow its March 21, black history month is really over!"

Now that I have released my feelings, its time to bring it back to the middle. I do not want you to think of this as a personal attack or anything of the sort. It is the exact opposite. I want you to take this as your queue to change. I want you to serve as a symbol of hope such that the history of all races is honored on an equal basis instead of being restricted to one month and then thrown away until the next year. I want you to speak to your sisters and brothers and encourage them to embrace the Afro American past, present and potential. The time is right now to do whats right. Serve to encourage people not to become complacent but to dispute sub-par black history displays. Do not be afraid to step outside of the box, you may make a few enemies but you will also make a difference.

Kind Regards,

Raine Gabrielle

No comments:

Sharing IS Caring