Hayden White discussed the importance and value in narrativity, how it’s representing reality. I agreed with White’s thoughts on narrative, but was distracted by something I think of every February. Back in 2005, Morgan Freeman was on an episode of 60 minutes, and in the episode, Freeman was asked to discuss Black History Month. Surprising the interviewer, Freeman claimed that the month was ridiculous.
It took me a moment the first time I’d heard this, being raised to appreciate all that had been done in the way of civil rights, but then I understood as he continued on to explain his distaste for the month. We’re relegating all of “Black History” to a month. When is White History Month?
Ironically, it’s the other eleven months of the year.
Why do we feel the need to emphasize the accomplishments of African-Americans by giving them a month. If we simply gave them the time in our regular curriculum, our other eleven months, we wouldn’t need to set time aside. This setting aside a month only calls attention to the systematic racism that is still very much alive in this country.
If we don’t acknowledge racism, we are enablers to let the horrific practice continue. However, if we don’t acknowledge race, we will abolish racism. This is a fix that is, unfortunately, laborious as racism is deep seeded in culture. Something to look upon though is that people can be proud of their color without calling attention to race.
The narrative of everyone is important, but changing the narrative would create a monumentally positive impact on history and in teaching history in the future. Black history is American history. It is just all about perspective and the context it is placed within; it is about how the narrative is told.
This is not about changing two narratives, the White American and the Black American history. This is about merging the two narratives, which were separate for asinine reasons to begin with. They are the same narrative.
It’s all about perspective.