So I meant to post this last week. It’s a little late but I still figured I would post it.
A week into Black History/African-American History month I am not shocked to hear that people are still upset about the recognition of this time. Last week I read about a former television personality who lobbied for “White History Month”. Today I just got done reading that the KKK is attempting to stage a protest in the Memphis area to show their displeasure with the renaming of three state parks. If you want some more details about these stories then click on the links below.
White History Month Memphis Parks Renamed (Thanks to Huffingtonpost.com for the articles. Follow them on Twitter @HuffingtonPost @HuffPostBlog)
When it comes to white history month, the first question I would ask is, who exactly is “white”? To my knowledge there is no country of White, land of white, white island, etc… If you were to ask anyone considered “white”, what their ethnicity is, they would get into detail about how they are Irish, Italian, Polish, Greek, French, and so on. The US Census Bureau defines “White” as “people having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa. It includes people who reported “White” or wrote in entries such as Irish, German, Italian, Lebanese, Near Easterner, Arab, or Polish.” If you wanted the extreme side of the definition, the KKK considers whites to only be Anglo Saxon Protestants. But even those roots trace back to England and Scotland. So for me, the answer to “who is white?” is simple. Nobody! At least, not by any definition that is widely accepted. If you are considering yourself just “white” you are allowing yourself to be a diluted version of who and what you really are. Everyone, everywhere, has a background that WILL be traced overseas. That is unless you are one of the true natives. And they sure as shit won’t be calling themselves white.
The bottom line is that most cultures do have a dedicated month for them to celebrate their accomplishments and history. True, some months double up on cultures but in general we do a good job as a nation in recognizing everyone. In fact, one of the best times I had was down in Washington D.C. Every year they have different multicultural events through-out the district. Other big cities like Philadelphia, New York, San Francisco, etc.. typically have parades, festivals, and different gatherings celebrating cultural diversity, as well. If you want another example look at modern day professional baseball. Every season they have African-American, Irish, Italian, Latino, and other heritage days. For someone to feel underrepresented in today’s world is simply a joke.
What is the real argument you are trying to make with “white history month”? Are you upset because Black/African-American History month seems to be the most popular or recognized? Are you upset because you got beat-up once by the black kid? Or is it that you are simply carrying on an old school tradition of thought that was passed down from your parents? Whatever the case, “whites” have their time to shine. Research yourself, find your roots, and celebrate that rather than focusing on the color of skin.
The second part of my rant involves the uproar that was caused over the renaming of three state parks in Memphis. This topic is something that I feel needs little discussion based on the utter stupidity of people. Here is a little background about the story. In an attempt to cut off a state law to block name changes of state parks named after war figures, the city of Memphis decided to hold a vote on the renaming of three of its local state parks. The vote was passed 9-0 and the name changes took place immediately. Soon after the vote is when the people began showing the lovely hate and racism that allows us to stereotype southern folks. Citizens of the area complained that the city council was attempting to erase the history of the south. They claimed that their children will not know what historical events took place right where they live and will not have an appreciation for the struggles that confederates went through during Civil War times.
Oh and by the way, one of the parks is named after Nathan Bedford Forrest. Those of you who don’t know, Mr. Forrest was a cavalryman, slave trader, and finally one of the founding fathers of the Ku Klux Klan. The opponents of the name change argue that Forrest was misunderstood. I’m not really sure how you can misunderstand the things he did but I am pretty sure all this is just code for I’m still racist and the park names gave me a place to be proud. For those of you who are worried, fear not. Forrest Park still has a giant statue of your historical icon. (See Below) Tax payers need not worry also. Your money never paid for the statue. That was funded by the lawyer of the assassin of Dr. Martin Luther King.
The name change also sparked the hidden KKK members to come out of their shacks, unnamed of course, and say that they plan on having a rally against the name changes. The KKK plan on having thousands march the streets and protest. This would be particularly impressive, especially since its reported there are only a few hundred members in the entire area.
To me it is just insane to think people really need park names to remember what went on. Last I checked History class teaches students about the past. Having a constant reminder in your face about what went on, most likely to your relatives, isn’t exactly helping the healing process and promoting equality and unity. It’s a park. Your big inappropriate statue is still there, and your hatred and ignorance are clearly still there as well. Don’t worry, unfortunately the name change won’t change you.
I am going to end this post with some basic thoughts. If true equality, not just for racial differences but also gender differences, existed from the beginning we most likely wouldn’t have monthly recognitions. The problem is it didn’t. For hundreds of years people fought and died to give themselves a better life. Not just African-Americans, but all immigrants from north, south, east, and west that came for a better life. These monthly cultural celebrations are a reminder of the struggles and accomplishments achieved through-out history. At the same time, it gives the millions of us who are not part of their culture the chance to experience what they are about. All of us have our time to celebrate, but it’s more important that we educate. We need to be teaching our youth it’s okay to be from different ethnic, financial, and religious backgrounds. If you continue to promote hate, you are doing your children an injustice. Sooner rather than later they will find themselves to be one of only a select few. After all, they are predicting that by 2050 most citizens will be multiracial with a tan type complexion and wavy hair like my sexy self…