(The above is a reworking of father Bob Marley's "War" - a Haile Selassie I speech)
I'd guess many blacks are for Black History Month, but whenever mentioned it's mostly people screaming for abolishment. Most say it's a waste of time for reasons such as lack of events, knowledge and awareness, while many say "Why just a month? It should be all year round."
A part of me agrees with the latter. It does kinda sideline black history like it doesn't contribute to the rest of history. I definitely agree with the former in that nothing really happens and what does happen is pretty pointless. We get a few black programs; usually controversial/degrading about skin bleaching or whether we're thicker than the rest of the world. Or why we're so dysfunctional while everyone else lives in harmony - that's a popular one.
I don't agree with abolishment. I don't think we're at that point in life where we will get any coverage without it. We can't even get a black show on TV on par with stuff in the 90s when there was a Multicultural Programs Department. I remember studying a smidgen of black history at school during the month. I'll get onto what we learnt a bit later in the post, but I know the curriculum would rather tell us about kings and queens and the Great British empire centuries ago than modern history, let alone history of the blacks. No, I'm not saying we shouldn't learn about the Britain's history before anyone jumps to conclusions. I would have liked to learn more about post-World War's though.
So, going back to why I hate black history month: why does it centre around the Yanks? That's all we learnt along with slavery. Like, yeah, big up on your civil rights movement and all that, one love et cetera, but I am a British-born, Jamaican, stolen from Africa (in father Bob Marley's voice again). What does American civil rights history have to do with me when there are people with similar backgrounds to me that don't even know why their grandparents/great-grandparents came to this country?
Martin Luther, Malcolm X, woman on bus are cool stories bro, how did they fight for my rights? (I can't even remember the bus woman's name right now and I won't Google it because I like to keep this real as I write it. I'll definitely remember it in a second, but this is how much she means to my life.) What about Marcus Garvey? Patrice Lumumba? Kwame Nkruma and all the other African revolutionists?
I believe someone like Doreen Lawrence's story one of great British significance. Time will tell if she gets a mention in the future. For those reading internationally, Jamaican-born Doreen's 18-year old son Stephen was murdered by up to 5 white men in a racially-motivated attack in southeast London. It took longer than Stephen's lifetime (just under 19 years) for two of the accused five to be convicted following a change in the double jeopardy law. During Doreen relentless fight for justice, we found out about the police's disgraceful work on the case and exposed institutional racism in the police - something the black community always suspected.
I condensed a really long and complex story into a paragraph there. Alternatively, wikipedia is quite cool to check for the story. Also, I spoke with UK rapper Ty about Stephen Lawrence's legacy in the video below on the 18th year anniversary of his passing. He sums up what it was like back then, the initial reaction of the black community, how the story developed and police & blacks relationship since then really well. Check it for a more in-depth look.
I did the interview because I felt the story had been forgotten. Months later it grabbed headlines following the arrests of Gary Dobson and David Norris. Factual programs celebrating both father Neville, but more so Doreen's resilience and determination against all odds, proving she's a real modern day heroine.
I remember when popular soap EastEnders blacked out (all-black cast) and spoke about the Notting Hill race riots in 1958. That was the first time many of us even heard about it! You imagine this; a soap which has no reason to provide factual information whatsoever is the first time a whole new generation are exposed to our history. That make sense?
A little video about the riots below
A longer video about the riots
But we know about the sit-ins and that stuff 1000s of miles away, yet nothing about something up the road? And that's one of a few race-related riots/struggles many have no idea about.
May all seem minor until you realise the worship and blind sheepism of black popular culture in America, no matter how negative it may actually be (materialism, worship of money...).
“@lordcannibus: Everybody use the word nigga so I really ain't tryna hear that shit no more”.Stop being everybody, trying being somebody
— Melissa Monologues (@MelissaMono) October 2, 2012
“@lordcannibus: I'm not adopting the ways of my oppressors I'm only using the American language which I had no choice but to learn” < SMHExhibit B:
— Melissa Monologues (@MelissaMono) October 2, 2012
“It’s just what we grew up listening to,” agrees Fem Fel, adding “we grew up listening to it when we were having good times, when we were in a club… and 50 Cent or whoever else is talking… it wasn’t used in a derogatory way.” The rapper justified its use in his own music, arguing: “I don’t know who it offends anymore… It doesn’t offend my peers, I don’t know how it could offend white people… so that’s why I use it.” - says UK rapper Fem Fel on whether using the N-word perpetuates racsim [SOURCE].Or chatting wet (haven't used that in an extremely long time. I didn't want to swear/say "sh*t* though) about America like it's black people's heaven whilst devaluing their own valuable history and culture.
Misplaced youths, nihilism and materialism are common theories for "black-on-black" (stupid term) youth crime and when the riots happened. Well, how about educating black British people by letting them know who they are, where they come from, why they're here and what people that look like them who may have faced certain obstacles have made good of their life?
I mean, the recurring images of hoodies and crime seem to have an effect. Especially when we look around and see the most successful man on the ends is a round-the-clock roadside pharmacist or good with magic and numbers in bank accounts. When I say successful, I mean big cars, name-brand clothes and nice jewelery. You know, the only way to judge success.
I read a blog post on Monday about shadeism. Pretty interesting. One of the interviewees suggested there's more of a problem with blacks not loving dark-skinned blacks in the UK than US. While
The presence of black people of varying shades in the US media is argued to be much more prominent, with Juliyaa, Isha, Thaniya and Haris all suggesting that the US tends to give a much more balanced view.is excrement to a certain degree (pro-blackness? America in 2012? Yeah? Aight then). The fact she says "probably" leads me to believe she probably doesn't think it's factual. Yes, there is a black middle class (like we have here to a lesser degree), she isn't too sure if they are pro-black "and stuff" (whatever that means) in my opinion. And we may not have had our revolution, but we didn't have segregation like them, therefore smaller battles. We did fight them though, they just haven't been celebrated.
“I think there’s probably more black middle class and darker women who are quite pro-blackness and stuff in America,” Juliyaa suggested, “but I don’t think that’s really happened here yet. I don’t think Britain has had its revolution yet.”
Black Yanks love a red bone, yellow bone or high caste Latino much more than a dark-skinned natural black woman. Listen to rappers lyrics and watch their videos. But this goes back to UK blacks thinking Yank is heaven for the blacks. And re: varied shades, high caste black women represent black women most of the time. I don't remember actresses like Nia Long and Gabrielle Union in any/many blockbusters. More black women in public eye in USA than here doesn't mean they appreciate all types 'cos I know Kim Kardashian could never be a black woman.
She went on to suggest that this may be due to the fact that colour is so enmeshed in American history, generations of fighting for equality and progression that hasn’t particularly occurred in the UK – “that’s probably why we don’t have a sense of blackness, a sense of heritage like they do,” she concluded. [SOURCE]is spot on. For all the flaws in their culture and lack of morals, there are two things you can't not rate about Yanks; blacks celebrate their culture and black American history is part of American history. Our black history in the UK is black American history lol.
Most of us are from Caribbean and Africa, not America, so why don't we learn about leaders of our regions? Most were former Great British colonies, so learning about how our countries gained independence? Who our prime ministers were? Struggles in our countries. Great leaders, empires and influential figures? Or is it only alright if they were gunned down? And did we not exist before slavery then? This in turn helps everyone. Same for Indian history. This may all possibly be too much for history, so may be some kinda social studies course instead of some other course like Design and Technology.
So, that rounds up what I'm calling "Bun Heathens Month" until we get Black OURstory Month. I have three other concepts in my head to write about at the moment. Will probably condense two into one. But anyway, stay tuned.