Should America Have a Black History Month?

opinion

As I’m sure many of you are aware, the month of February has been arbitrarily deemed “Black History Month” since its inception in 1976. The holiday was originally started by author and historian Carter G. Woodson in order to preserve and celebrate the black race and its history — a history he believed was in danger of being erased.

On this topic, Carter G. Woodson said this:

“If a race has no history, it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated. The American Indian left no continuous record. He did not appreciate the value of tradition; and where is he today? The Hebrew keenly appreciated the value of tradition, as is attested by the Bible itself. In spite of worldwide persecution, therefore, he is a great factor in our civilization.”

But the preservation of a race’s culture does not exactly require an entire national holiday. The black race was never even in danger of being exterminated by America in the first place. They were undoubtedly oppressed, but never in danger of being wiped out. Why exactly does America need to turn an entire month into a reminder that there are black people who have contributed greatly to the advancement of civilization?

Black History Month seems like a holiday that doesn’t need to exist and only causes more racial division amongst Americans.

Despite the fact that the father of Black History Month created the holiday in order to preserve his race’s traditions and culture, many people today argue that the month is about racial equality. But if equality is the goal of Black History Month, why don’t all the races get their own months? Why isn’t there an Asian History Month? After all, Chinese immigrants were treated terribly while working on the railroads of the West.

How about a White History Month? Out of all the races, whites rival Asians for the most important innovations of humankind. Why isn’t March or April made into a month-long holiday to celebrate white geniuses such as Nikola Tesla or Albert Einstein?

Or what about a Hispanic History Month? Or a Native American History Month? What about the Jews? Or the Arabs? Muslim philosophers from the House of Wisdom were the ones who ensured that the writings of ancient Greek philosophers were preserved and translated. Isn’t it a tad discriminatory that only blacks get to celebrate their culture while all these other ethnicities are left without their own holiday?

If one would like to argue that black Americans need their own month because they’ve suffered oppression while these other races haven’t, then you’ve obviously never studied history. Every race has at one point been mistreated and preyed on by another. White Gauls were massacred and enslaved by the Roman Empire during the reign of Caesar. Native Americans were treated terribly by French and English colonists throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. The Kingdom of Egypt enslaved thousands of Jews for decades. European sailors were routinely enslaved and mistreated by Northern Africans during the Barbary Slave Trade. Every ethnicity has been mistreated by others, so arguing that blacks have some sort of massive monopoly on racism and abuse is asinine and historically inaccurate.

Seeing as how blacks in the United States are not in danger of any mass extinction event, the holiday’s goal is meaningless. Both of these arguments in favor of Black History Month are not only illogical, but also create harmful racial tensions in the United States.

I don’t think anyone could argue that America has seen a worrying racial division growing amongst her people. Protests like the one in Charlottesville last year have become more and more commonplace in American society. Constant use of identity politics by government officials and the copious coverage of cases such as Mike Brown and Trayvon Martin by the mainstream media have only stoked the proverbial flames in America’s psyche. Instead, why don’t we solve these racial issues by simply ignoring racial differences? As Morgan Freeman said, we can solve racism by simply not talking about. Let it fade from people’s minds and stop causing more division by celebrating one particular race while ignoring the others.

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