Friday, 17 October 2008

Black History Month?

Black History Month dawns upon us once again - the annual turgid affair that the schools, or the government, or both, willy nilly drape over October (in, what I have always seen as, an audacious attempt to generate some positive PR). Having spent the past seven years (well, five - my last school celebrated Black History Month by taking a picture of all the black kids congregated together in the playground...) whimsically acknowledged the month long event over my school life, generally through the mediums of ‘special assemblies’ and the consumption of Caribbean cuisine, I have grown somewhat disenfranchised by the whole experience. I have always found Black History Month to be ostentatious, overbearing and ‘shouty’ ('LOOK WE CELEBRATE BLACK CULTURE' – The caps is what makes it all ‘shouty’ you see), if not wholly unfulfilling. Yet it needn’t be this way. The celebration, and the consumption of, culture is something that should be brought to the forefront in an exciting yet educational way. What invariably happens during October is that the academic territory is surpassed and the opportunity to enlighten and to education, superseded by a mass produced lamb Pattie and a look at the life of Martin Luther King Jnr. (for the fifth year in a row!). Black History Month has little significance, little relevance and very little meaning to millions of schoolchildren.

We deserve better. We deserve to be educated properly on an issue that is supposed to bring communities together. We deserve to be correctly taught about how different cultures have impacted upon both the world and society in general. We deserve to actually celebrate black history and culture. Black History Month has this opportunity to encourage learning and to connect the youth in a fun, intuitive way. I don't like seeing it go to waste.

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