Ever since European ships came ashore African lands, the culture and ideas of the black community have been taken. I would have said used, but that would imply that the people responsible are credited.
Which unfortunately, isn’t the case.
Innumerable amounts of people of all races are unaware of the contributions that black men and women have made to the betterment of everyday life for all on this planet. Ultimately this falls to the inadequate coverage/teachings on the matter in the educational system and in life as a whole. If a person was to rely on the information readily available to them by society. There would be many a thing that they’d be oblivious to. Important things too.
The achievements of the black community are hidden away or omitted from public knowledge and purposely so, in my opinion. To retain the negative stigma that has been created and associated with black community.
We have Black history month, but how well do schools and those with platforms utilise the month. It shouldn’t only be up to the black community to build awareness. Even for many a black man and woman, without actively doing their own research. They are none the wiser to the incredible things that black individuals have accomplished.
Accomplishments that the average person would’ve thought was attained by white men and women. An assumption that is made because of the picture that society has painted for all of us concerning white people and non-white people.
“A black person did/made this?!”
I’ve muttered and thought these words more times than I care to admit. Through learning, I’ve come to appreciate and love my culture and community even more.
Some of the worlds biggest and most successful inventions came from black pioneers. Inventions in science and technology, medicine, music etc.
Teaching black history other than a few lessons on segregation or the slave trade. Isn’t something that any educational institute seems to have an interest in. Especially in the western world. Black history started long before the slave trade period and is much more than that just that period too.
Similar to the European history that seems to be forced fed to us. There were kings and queens in the black community prior to the slave trade. Masses of wealth, influence and sophistication, I understand that even up to today, the media especially enjoy to associate poverty and lack of advancement or improvement with the black community. Not only to departmentalize us but to also condition other communities into thinking that this is all we are about.
The irony of it all is that while covering up the successes and positivity associated with the black community, they also conceal the evils of many of the supposed hero’s of the world.
A good example is Winston Churchill. Remembered for his efforts during the World War II. He is painted as a man of valor, leadership and skill. He has been immortalised with statues and constant praise. But they dare not mention his racist and genocidal tendencies. Because, that would go against the theory that only people of colour should be considered hostile and/or dangerous.
Winston Churchill played a significant part in the Bengal famine of 1943. He was by no means the saint that he has been portrayed as being.
Quick to mention men like Churchill and Christopher Columbus (both were genocidal maniacs). But are slow to mention individuals like George Washington Carver, Benjamin Banneker, Audley Evans, Charles Richard Drew, James West, Paul Stephenson, Katherine Johnson, Percy Jullian and many more.
I mean, I never would’ve known of the contribution that Katherine Johnson made towards space travel and flight trajectory. If it wasn’t for the movie “Hidden Figures”. Which is while I value films like this, that shed a light on things that are not publicly known.
The black community is full of extremely talented and capable individuals. Always has been and always will be. But still, our efforts are unsung and in some part dismissed.
There is a saying that my mother use to tell me when I was younger. “You need to work TWICE as hard to get HALF of what others (others being the white community) have/achieve. And even when you do put in the hard work, the blood, sweat and tears. It will be downplayed or undermined. It’s not only equal rights and opportunities that the black community are in search of (which is an insane thing to be in search of in 2020) but also recognition. Providing credit where credit is due.
A new implementation of in-depth teachings of black history and accomplishments in educational institutions is needed. It should be mandatory. Not only to inspire and reassure black young boys and girls, that they are capable of achieving big things. Providing representation in other fields of work other than sport, music and entertainment. But to also educate the non-black communities as well.
Because as a whole, racism is the by product of ignorance. So to tackle racism, ignorance should be the first obstacle to deal with.
In conclusion, the sooner recognition and the adequate teaching on matters of race and contributions from all communities to the advancement and development of human life for all. The sooner we can rid the world of some of the injustice that we’ve seen going on around us lately.
But, ultimately, as always. It starts with YOU.
The song for today is a pretty old one, Sounds of Blackness – Optimistic