The Courier

Dear COD: A Letter for Black History Month

DeAnte Washington, Staff Writer

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Black History Month begins Feb. 1. For African Americans, there are certain aspects that must be addressed to understand why it should be important to American society. The reality is, much of the important history is never discussed.

It’s considerate that we acknowledge the stigmas Americans have made for Black History Month and what i

Alison Pfaff
COD celebrates black history month

t truly evokes. Black History Month should not be romanticized nor should we dismiss the years of dehumanization and unjust circumstances black people have dealt with. The history is nearly nonexistent in American textbooks. There are events in this country that have gone unnoticed and swept under a rug.

Did you ever hear about the Greensboro Massacre or Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment? Were you ever informed that over 100 black men died as human “lab rats?” Slavery started in the early 1600’s and ended in the late 1800’s. This year marks only 51 years since the civil rights movement ended. Just 64 years ago a black man would be lynched for looking at a white woman. Interracial marriage just became legal in the United States 52 years ago. Dylann Roof’s Charleston church shooting happened only four years ago.

I believe African Americans have been recognized strictly for their accomplishment on Black History Month.

The rest of the history is thrown away because non-black people don’t want to have guilt over it.

We have the shortest month of the year to express ourselves, and it’s taken as a pat on the back. Most of the events we are still dealing with are not far from the events we thought we “fixed.” Segregation never ended; it just became less fashionable to do it openly. Black lives still don’t matter because policemen can’t fathom a place where black men aren’t a threat to society. Our power is stripped as four young black girls at a New York middle school are forced to take their clothes off because they were too “giddy.” Our black LGBTQ community is made a mockery, and every day black trans men/women are sexually assaulted, incarcerated into prisons they don’t belong in, and deal with physical and emotional abuse for being different. Black women, the strongest of the race, are the least cared for. In a country where they are the most hated group, they struggle to get their voices out. No one likes a black woman. Better yet, no one likes a black woman in charge.  People who are not of color will never understand what black people go through, and it’s distasteful when they try t

o credit themselves for having contributed to Black History Month.

For non-black people, posting black content or quotes from MLK next month won’t justify your institutional racism or make you “woke.” It may be celebratory all February, but please don’t go back to wearing your racist propaganda on March 1. Having one black friend and putting that forward as proof you’re not racist is ignorant and only shows you have racial bias. It’s not a month to convince your black peers that you would vote for Obama if he could do a third term. It’s about empathizing for the past African American citizens of this country who have had to risk their lives so black people can live theirs today.

In no way am I trying to divide us. It’s black history. In America, there’s been far more years of shameful treatment than we have had of positive change but it’s made us a stronger race. Black people have to wake up everyday with internal challenges that no one but them will ever comprehend. I wrote this to call on you to not only show empathy but to see the history – all of the history. See the emotional scars of the black men whose hearts beat fast every time a police officer looks in their direction, or black women who have dealt with abuse from this country because of the gender and skin color they were born with. Take ownership for the past that can’t be changed. Reflect on the mistakes that have been made. Acknowledge black people for who they are as a whole and the line before them. Black is the new black – that’s not going to change when Black History Month ends.

Alison Pfaff
COD Celebrates Black History Month

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College of DuPage's student newspaper | Est. 1967
Dear COD: A Letter for Black History Month