Letter to the Editor
To the Editor,
I cannot in good conscience, nor will I, celebrate Black History Month.
I am saddened by the fact that the recognition of the contributions of African-Americans (and multiple other ethnic groups) are reduced to a single month. The implicit statement that is made by such an assignment is that the rest of the year is reserved for the celebration of some other demographic, which has presumably added more to the American society and culture. Indeed, it is not difficult to deduce what group is so elevated; all one must do is identify the one group which is not relegated to a single month: White Americans.
While this is certainly insulting to all minority groups who find their contributions so reduced, it is especially egregious for African-Americans. People of color are further notified of the inferior status with which society regards them by the fact that theirs is the shortest month. With twelve months from which to choose, one would think that the group which gave us peanut butter, Jazz, civil rights, and our first black president would at least be given a month with 30 days. Evidently, Black history must be a shallow topic, as it may be fully celebrated in 28 days, or, on a leap year, 29. That such an obvious expression of racism is still so prominently extant in our country is clear evidence that there is so much more to be done to obtain equality for all.
Accordingly, I call upon all those committed to social justice to boycott Black History Month, and any other month so designated to patronize other minority groups. Until white Americans submit themselves to the same reduction which they have imposed on “other” Americans, we will never have a truly equal society. Establishing a “White History Month” would indeed be an important and symbolic gesture of solidarity with America’s minority population. However, given the temporal disparity in the months, this is an imperfect solution, and Black History would continue to occupy the least of the months.
Rather, we should fight to liberate ourselves from such artificial restrictions, and attempt to remain mindful about the contributions and histories of all Americans during all months of the year. Rather than a Black History Month, or Hispanic Heritage Month, or Indian Month, or Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month, let us celebrate an American year, and so deliver another blow to the ugly reality of white privilege and dominance in our society.
Seton Hall Law, Class of 2002