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I’m black 365 days a year, not just 28

February 12, 2015

 

WYNNIFRED SANDERS 

SANDERS

SANDERS

Multimedia Editor

 

I was talking to a friend the other day and he or she asked me, “Are you looking forward to February…it’s your month.”  Although this statement irritated me, it got me thinking. Why does society try to restrict us to what’s printed on a calendar?

 

I’ve always honored my heritage, but at the same time hated the month in which it is scheduled to be celebrated. I guess you can say it’s a love/hate relationship.

 

You see, February is jam-packed with so many different events such as the Super Bowl, Mardi Gras, Valentine’s Day, the Grammys and the Oscars, it has become socially acceptable to put your culture on the backburner.

 

It seems more important to remember who won best new artist than to know that  Zora Neale Hurston got a B.A. in anthropology in 1928 from Barnard College, where she was the only black student and the school’s first black graduate.

 

On one hand, I’ve felt mixed feelings about the fact that the observance of Black History Month was confined to a month and not just that but the shortest month of the year.  I should be proud we even have a month when some groups aren’t even awarded this privilege.

 

But it seems like I, along with my fellow African-Americans, am so caught up in the whirlwind of life that we only acknowledges the battle fought for us when the calendar tells us to.  This is not what those who paved the way did.

 

They went against the status quo to defy what society said was right to do what was right.   They didn’t do it for the future recognition, but they deserve at least that much for their commitment and sacrifice.

 

On the contrary, why shouldn’t the title of Black History “Month” be removed when it can’t even be appreciated for the 28-day period?

 

Most people don’t even know it originally started out as “Negro History Week” in celebration of Abraham Linoln and Fredrick Douglas’ birthdays, but was expanded in 1976 when President Ford saw it as a way for African Americans to honor the often-neglected accomplishments of their own in multiple arenas of history.

 

Ultimately, the way I see it is that by subjecting ourselves to only celebrating our people during this month — we are not commemorating our heritage.

 

History is not just the decades that  have passed, it’s every day we  live.  Every day I wake up and look in the mirror — I’m Black. No matter the year, month, or day that is never going to change. Everyday I make history in my own right.

 

So to me there is no set Black History Month, I’m black 365 days, not just 28. Are you?

 

Wynnifred  Sanders is a senior political science and pre-law major from Bossier City, who serves as multimedia editor for the Tech Talk. Email comments to wls019@latech.edu.

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