|My middle daughter reading a plaque at Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change|
It is a sad reality that color is still an issue in this country. I'm sorry let me be more specific, race is still an issue in this country.
race2 [reys] Show IPA
a group of persons related by common descent or heredity.
a population so related.
any of the traditional divisions of humankind, thecommonest being the caucasian, Mongoloid, andNegro, characterized by supposedly distinctive anduniversal physical characteristics: no longer intechnical use.
an arbitrary classification of modern humans,sometimes, especially formerly, based on any or acombination of various physical characteristics, as skincolor, facial form, or eye shape, and now frequentlybased on such genetic markers as blood groups.
a human population partially isolated reproductivelyfrom other populations, whose members share agreater degree of physical and genetic similarity withone another than with other humans.
a group of tribes or peoples forming an ethnic stock: theSlavic race.
any people united by common history, language, culturaltraits, etc.: the Dutch race."
Since race is still an issue in this country we have "Black History Month". Without it I honestly don't believe students would receive any type of education with regards to the contributions of African-Americans to the development of the United States. Until the narratives of people of color (Latinos, Asians, Natives) are included in the lesson plans and national standards of learning for future generations; there will exist a need to inject students with a month here and a month there of focused knowledge about said groups.
I was fortunate enough to grow up in a household where 1.) my parents were college educated 2.) they were readers and 3.) they were proud of their ancestry. I grew up reading "Black Americans of Achievement" books; (I've started giving them to my girls to read now). Because my mother worked in library when I was younger, I was afforded a seemingly limitless knowledge base. Of course we had encyclopedias but they were limited and I wanted to know more, so I read. My parents of course encouraged this and I read about Fannie Lou Hamer, and Matthew Henson, Ida B. Wells, and Mary McLeod Bethune as well as Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X and countless others. Even if my parents weren't college graduates I'd still have grown up knowledgable because they did, and only one of my grandparents was a college graduate. My ancestors were dedicated to the education of the future, and I will be the same.
In high school I had the opportunity in my AP English class to do a self-directed learning and I chose to focus on the writings of African American authors - otherwise I wouldn't have been introduced to Zora Neale Hurston, or Langston Hughes in a school setting until college. (I wish I could find that paper now). I enjoyed that class immensely because it let me step away from the status quo and allowed me the opportunity to explore in depth how narratives vary across ethnic lines. Now don't get it twisted, I also read "Ethan Frome" that year, and Sylvia Plath, however had I not been in an AP class the odds of me having the chance to read the works of African-Americans would have been drastically reduced.
My education was further enhanced when I went to college, and majored in Afro-American and African studies. I was truly fortunate to be able to pay to learn about my history (there's only a hint of sarcasm there). Honestly we are all severely lacking in education on the history of our country...and if the Tea Party has anything to do with it, we'll be even worse off.
During this very auspicious month you'll get a little more of ME! I do not believe we live in post-racial America (sorry Mr. President). Unfortunately there are places I still wouldn't venture to after dark (places not far from where I live). There are things I know are racially motivated in this country (with regard to politics) and I know there is a long way for this country to go if it is ever to be what the founders desired (cough, cough). As the month goes on, you'll see more of me. I hope you are not offended, but this is "life as i know".
Until Next Time,