America doesn’t celebrate White History Month nor do we celebrate Yellow History Month–or a Tan or Pink History Month, for that matter–but for some reason we do celebrate Black History Month.
Black History Month, aka African-American Month, was instituted in 1976 and is attended by ceremonies, speeches, school projects and, according to the Library of Congress, pays “tribute to the generations of African Americans who struggled with adversity to achieve full citizenship in American society,” an admirable goal, indeed, even if the Library of Congress thereby suggests that non-Blacks such as the Irish, the Italians, Latinos, et al. never had to struggle with adversity which belies our history.
However, regardless of the propriety of devoting any month to any particular race to the exclusion of other, month-less, races, many blacks have complained for the last 38 years that officially dedicating February to commemorate black achievement is discriminatory because it just happens to be the shortest month of the year.
The whole concept of a Black History Month is more than a tad exclusionary and divisive in a nation and society committed, rightly or wrongly, to multiculturalism. “Multicultural” implies a diverse blending of disparate demographics, not a singling out of one race from another, and not a history month implying one race is so distinctive that it merits a month dedicated in its honor.
Still, some blacks feel they deserve a month since they say the rest of the year is focused on white history. That view may have had a degree of validity prior to the Civil Rights Movement but is as incongruous and anachronistic as Jim Crow laws are today since African-Americans are now represented in many fields in numbers hugely disproportionate to their 13% of our population.
Perhaps inspired by Michelle LaVaughn Robinson’s senior thesis at Princeton in which the future Mrs. Barack Hussein Obama advocated for black separatism, the history of Black History Month has been one of increasing agitation for that cause and even for revolution against their presumed white oppressors.
From the New Black Panther Party to the Nation of Islam to such race-mongers as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, there has been a concerted effort to divide rather than unite America, and they seem to be succeeding.
Suspicions that black activists are much less concerned with integration, multiculturalism, and assimilation than with divisiveness were recently reinforced in Portland, Oregon.
As an incentive to build an outlet, the Portland Development Commission was on the verge of awarding Trader Joe’s grocery chain an enticing discount on a vacant lot in a blighted black neighborhood, until the Portland African American Leadership Forum (PAALF) strenuously objected.
In a strongly-worded letter sent to Portland’s city fathers, the group alleged that the plan would price residents out of the area, a bewildering charge in view of the facts the property in question was vacant and no one seemed to be clamoring to relocate anywhere nearby.
That bewilderment was cleared up when the PAALF added that they were “opposed to any development in North/Northeast Portland that does not primarily benefit the black community.” They further contended that Trader Joe’s would displace low-income residents, “increase the desirability of the neighborhood” for “non-oppressed populations,” and denounced “the city’s overall track record of implementing policies that serve to uproot, displace and disempower our most vulnerable community members.”
Bizpacreview.com cut through all that phony rhetoric by headlining the story, “Black Residents Reject Trader Joe’s Because It Would Attract Too Many White People.”
As one local business owner observed after Trader Joe’s withdrew from the deal, “There are no winners today. Only missed tax revenue, lost jobs, less foot traffic, an empty lot and a boulevard still struggling to support its local small businesses.” (http://tinyurl.com/m8bjqyl)
Apparently, the loss of tax revenue, jobs, and foot traffic in North/Northeast Portland was of no concern to PAALF black activists any more than the eyesore of a vacant lot and struggling businesses bothered them, as long as they were able to keep Trader Joe’s from trying to make one small step to relieve the “urban grocery gap,” but mainly could prevent too many whites from visiting and shopping in their neighborhood.
Three years ago, Long Beach, California’s African-American Bishop William Ervin called on black children and teens to “pull up their pants on their waist” as a sign of respect during Black History Month.
A suggestion to Bishop Ervin: Try getting them and their parents to abolish Black History Month in the interests of getting them on-board as Americans instead of looking like droopy-pants Kenyans.