February is the month of Groundhog Day, Lincoln's Birthday, Valentine's Day, President's Day, Mardi Gras, my birthday and oh February begins Black History Month, a month set aside to recognize the contributions of African Americans.
One of my kids asked me why we still celebrated Black History Month, Asian History Month and National Hispanic Heritage Month. "Mom", he said "it just seems like it separates people." Poignant words from a kid but I knew exactly what he meant.
He's right... but I celebrate Black History Month and the celebration of such brings as much joy as it does pain.
I celebrate Black History Month because from the time I was in kindergarten until I was in the 8th grade, I was the only Black kid in my class. There weren't any profiles of Black inventors in my school books. No mentions of the many contributions of people who skin was brown like mine.
I celebrate Black History Month because I remember not understanding why that one kid pulled your pigtails and spit in your face and call you the "N" word. Yeah, I was about 6 when that happened.
I celebrate Black History Month because of that one lady who thought I was lost when my family and I were at Lake Nasworthy. "Where's your mother little girl", she asked. I turned and pointed to my mom who was a few feet away. "No, that can't be your mom, she's White and you're Black." Me, being about 6 or so saying "My mom is yellow, my dad is orange and I am brown". I remember my mom racing towards me seeing a strange woman talking to me.
I celebrate Black History Month because they continue to post images via social media degrading the African American cultural experience.
I celebrate Black History Month because he still doesn't understand why people would call for his resignation as he dresses up in blackface hold a sign saying "Black Lives Matter".
I celebrate Black History Month for every child who feels shame when they glance down at the their brown skin or feel the kinky texture of their wavy, curly hair.
I celebrate Black History Month because society didn't teach us to judge each other by the content of our character.
I celebrate Black History Month, because I long for the day when we will no longer need a month to celebrate Women's History Month, Asian/ Pacific American Heritage, Caribbean American, Hispanic Heritage Month, American Indian Heritage Month. I yearn for a day when we appreciate what makes us different rather than pass proclamations to remind us why.