2.07.2007

Happy February

"When you control a man's thinking you do not have to worry about his actions. You do not have to tell him not to stand here or go yonder. He will find his "proper place" and will stay in it. You do not need to send him to the back door. He will go without being told. In fact, if there is no back door, he will cut one for his special benefit. His education makes it necessary."
-- Dr. Carter G. Woodson, "The Miseducation of the Negro"


In our house, every month is Black History Month. We're black. We appreciate our history. And that includes everyone else's too. For Mr.J and I, a fun evening at home often begins with curling up on the couch and watching History Detectives (hey, it's not easy finding a babysiter for three kids). But speaking of African American history in particular, it's really not all that hard to intentionally and unintentionally weave it through the discourse of our daily lives. It would be impossible to limit the exploration of such a rich and textured heritage to twenty-eight (or twenty-nine, depending on the year) days, anyway.

And we hope that interest will rub off on the kids. From an early age, we began sharing the positive aspects of being black with J-Jo and so far it looks like its sticking. Lawd willin', by the time the babies are able to start learning about who they are, J-Jo will be doing her own power point presentations of the Cross-Atlantic Slave Trade, followed by some Langston Hughes poety set to a beat and a grand finale of her own interpretation of Alvin Ailey's "Revelations". Not because we make her, mind you. I can't wait!

But we're even handed with it. No reason to overdo things so that ten years from now, she flips the script on us and brings Joe Skinhead home for dinner. I can hear it now, through blubbery tears, "You guys are so out of touch! Things have changed!!"And the look on her father's face.

The Daily Show segment, featuring Senior Black Corespondent, Ron Wilmore (who is no stranger to folks, by the way, he's been behind the scenes on "The Fresh Prince of Bel Aire", "In Living Color" and "The Bernie Mack Show", just to name a few) left me wondering. Does Black History month need an overhaul? Or are things just fine the way they are?

3 comments:

Liz said...

"and brings Joe Skinhead home for dinner"

Now that is funny!

I haven't watched the Daily Show segment yet, but I think BHM does need an overhaul because it's turned into an extended Coke commercial.

Christopher Chambers said...

Yes, it does, but like anything we have achieved it has gotten a silly institutionalization and entrenched group of leeches sucking off of it. Indeed, it's often a means of making $$$, or for white folks to wring their paws and say: hey this is for you. After all, you get to see all of the Spike Lee flicks on HBO this month!!!

What's even more disturbing is the ay history reverts to the 19th and early 20th century mode of learning--what is this date, who is this person. Not trends, ideas, movements. It's like they are looking for more trivia to toss down, e.g., a black man invented the penis pump in 1958, or Neckbone Smith became the first African American to ride a bicycle in 1883. Please...

Michelle said...

Living in "red state" Kern County, you would never know it is Black History Month. There isn't even anything trivial, trite or somelipservice to make fun of! We need to follow your lead and make every month Black history month (ie. American history month).

p.s. I love the History Detectives!