Monday 31 January 2011

My Version of Black History Month

I’m Jamaican, I believe I have stated that several times here on the blog. For me being Jamaican goes beyond the food, the music and the pride of our unique culture, there is a bone deep love that nothing and no one has ever been able to come close to, a pride in knowing who we are. 

 You see Jamaica was the stop on the Middle Passage where the slave ships dumped the slaves they couldn’t handle. The trouble makers, the ones they noted others listening or paying attention to, Jamaica was the stop before the ships reached their final destination of the American shores.   There is a deep pride in knowing your people made life difficult for those attempting to take advantage, that you come from the stock of fighters.
When I was growing up I learned all about the Hereos of Jamaica, indeed of the Caribbean, and it’s a totally different history from the one found here in the Americas, maybe because we were an island cut off from the help the masters needed to really contriol the slaves, maybe it’s because we outnumbered them, or maybe it was because we learned the land we had to work more intimately than the masters, but those ‘troublemakers’ took full advantage and gave their slave masters hell.

So this month instead of talking about the pacifists, and the ones who "turned their cheek”, instead of the ‘peaceful protestors’ I wish to share a different look at Black History. I wish to share the story of the Heroes of the Caribbean, and of the Americas, the heroes you never really learn about in history class. I wish to talk about the fighters.

I have nothing against Dr. King, but I do dislike how history is being white washed and sanitized as well as being re-written with much of the other Freedom Fighters being slowly taken out of the books, and not being taught to our children. I want to hold up more than Dr. King as the ideal of who Black men and women should look to, because there are more leaders, more examples of who we are and who we have fought to become. 

There is a deep pride in knowing your history and your ancestors, and slowly that right to learn who they are is being taken from us, take for example the Arizona law which will no longer allow the teaching of “ Ethnic Studies” as it will “advocate ethnic solidarity". O_o  Right because the students who are mostly Native American, Hispanic and Black shouldn’t learn the history of  that isn't discussed in most 'history' books? Maybe if the curricular actually covered and really discussed the contributions of other races to the building of what we call "America" there would be no need for special 'ethnic studies' courses;  but since there is no fair representation, there is a need for these classes. And unfortunately there is a need for a month like Black History Month, because it's the only time the contributions of Blacks to the "American Dream" is ever discussed.

So I will be doing a post each week covering the contributions of those who aren't discussed this month, and hope that you learn something new.
Or be reminded about something you did know
Be Blessed

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