Where did Black History Month go?

Where did Black History Month go?

Following the First of February, do people even really celebrate Black History Month?

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eliset1
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Let's go back to February 1st. In high schools, elementary schools, and even colleges around the United States, the student body celebrates Black History Month. Some colleges hold an event in the main part of campus, where students can learn about African American visionaries and learn about black heritage. The black student body emerges from where they are the rest of the eleven months out of the year, and participate in the festivities. For that one day, people talk of George Washington Carver, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and other influential African Americans.

However, After the first of the month, where does everyone go?

No longer do people participate in events, and no one hears from the black student body. Yes, maybe some places will go over the people everyone already knows, talking of the accomplishments of parties such as the Black Panthers, or talk of Malcolm X or Sojourner Truth, but what of everyone else? What of the rest of the month? After all, it is Black History Month and not just Black History Day, correct? It seems that other than on the very first day of February, no one cares about Black History Month. Even though it is the shortest month of the year, society would rather spend its time speaking of trifling issues such as who won what at the Grammy's rather than giving African American's the one month they worked hard for.

But it's not just society, don't get me wrong. It is also African American's who must show that they still want the representation during their month of heritage. Following the first of the month, unless one were to search for it, there is very little to no presence of the black community promoting the successes of their ancestors. Instead, everyone moves on, and people just assume that it is celebrated. People hand out fliers at the beginning of the month, stating events that they will be holding, but after that, it all seems to disappear. The turnout rate from the first of the month to events held later on in the month dwindles. People seem to care less. There is more promotion for people fundraising cake jars then there is for those who are trying to draw attention for black influencers.

People seem tired of Black History Month, and to be honest, they probably are.

Over the years, February has seemed to be on a constant repeat as far as Black History Month goes. Each year, the trademark African Americans are put on display. People talk about Dr. King and his I Have a Dream speech. They lecture about Rosa Parks, and how she sat down to stand up for something. If you want an inventor, George Washington Carver and his peanuts come into play. This droning on of the same African American people has gotten tiring, and it's completely understandable why people are bored of the month, and why it isn't as celebrated. Why celebrate something when all anyone is going to go over are the same people you've heard of every year, in the second month of the year. There needs to be an increase in the people who are celebrated and revered for their accomplishments. In order to draw attention and support for the one month out of the year that black Americans get, they need to show that they, too, understand what this month is all about.

While there is no discredit to the accomplishments of those I mentioned above, there should be more talk of those who not everyone does know. While mainstream media is starting to do an alright job of showing African Americans who are not as well known, yet just as influential (see 2016's film, Hidden Figures) there needs to be more representation in order to create a better understanding of the heritage and why Black History Month is important. People should learn about Dr. Charles Drew, who invented a way to separate and store plasma for blood banks. Or maybe they should research Alice H. Parker, who created a furnance so we could stay warm in the winter. They could even look into Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson, who contributed greatly to telephones, creating caller ID, and touch tone dialing.

Without the representation needed, Black History Month may just fade away into another holiday marked on our calendars that no one notices. This month is crucial in showcasing the successes of black peoples, and if it continues to go virtually unrecognized, there may not be any importance in February holding the title of Black History Month.

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Irish-American History Is Just As Important As Any Other Culture, You Can't Prove Me Wrong

I cherish being Irish and I will not let anyone let me feel bad for that.

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Depending on when you're reading this, Saint Patrick's day has either just passed or is around the corner. For me, Saint Patrick's day is tomorrow. I've been debating this article for some time now because I didn't know how it would be perceived. At this point, though, I feel it's important for me to get out. No, Irish people were never kept as slaves in America, and I will never be one to try and say they were. However, Irish people were treated tremendously awful in America. A lot of people tend to forget, or just try to erase entirely, the history of the Irish in America. So much so that I felt shameful for wanting to celebrate my heritage. Therefore, I want to bring to light the history that everyone brushes under the rug.

In 1845, a potato famine broke out across Ireland. This was a big deal because the Irish lived off, mainly, potatoes. They were cheap, easy to grow, and had tons of nutrients. So when the famine struck, many people either died of starvation or fled to America in seek of refuge. When the Irish arrived in America they were seen as a threat to the decency of America. People viewed them as drunk beasts, sinful savages, barbaric, violent, belligerent, stupid, and white apes. When the Irish would go to look for jobs, many times they found signs that read "Irish Need Not Apply," even when the job was hiring. Therefore, the Irish did the jobs no one wanted, and even jobs African slaves wouldn't do. The biggest example of this is when Irishmen built canals and drained swamps. They were sent to do these things because of the enormous amount of mosquitoes; in the swamp, they would get bit and ultimately die of malaria.

Also, during this time, Irish people were poor and therefore lived in the same neighborhoods as the free African Americans. A lot of the Irish people were friendly with their neighbors of color and even got into interracial relationships. Because the Irish lived in these neighborhoods they were seen as dirty and even a lot of people at this time put African Americans higher on the totem pole than Irish. One person during the time even said, "At least the black families keep their homes clean."

The main reason American's outlook on Irish people changed was that most Irishmen took up fighting for the Union in the Civil War. I make this argument, not because I think the Irish suffered more than African slaves. I don't say this in means of trying to erase the struggles of the African slaves. I do not think that any of our ancestors should have been treated the way they were. I mean to say that the Irish did in fact suffer. Irish people were treated wrongly on the basis of...nothing. Simply because my ancestors hailed from the shores of Eire, they were treated with malice. And I write this simply because I want people to remember. I want people to understand what happened.

On Saint Patrick's Day this year, next year, and for the many years to come, I want people to embrace the Irish culture. I want the folks of Irish heritage to not be ashamed of where they come from; to not be ashamed to share their culture the way I have for many years. I want everyone to have a beer, wear some green, eat a potato or two, and dance the Irish step; to celebrate the history of Irish people with a bit more understanding than before.

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Our Leaders Need A 'Time-Out'

We all learned a few essential rules as children.

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As I look watch the news, I can't help but wonder if the lessons we learned as children might not serve our leaders well. They seem to have forgotten these basic lessons. I am reminded of the book by Robert Fulghum "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten."

Watch out, hold hands, and stick together.

I think this could be useful in a couple of different contexts. First, the current divisiveness in the country doesn't serve us well. We are first and foremost, a part of the family of humankind. Differences in politics, religion, and so on come in far behind that one important attribute. What happened to the notion of agreeing to disagree?

Second, when leaders get off a plane in another country, they should remember who they came with and who they represent - "watch out, hold hands, and stick together."

Clean up your own mess.

Trump seems to take great pleasure in blaming everyone else for their "mess." The government shutdown was someone else's fault – any Democrat. When the stock market went up, he happily took credit, but when it went down, he quickly shifted gears and placed the blame on the Federal Reserve Chairman. Daily and hourly tweets out of the White House place blame on someone else for his "mess." Sadly, he still likes to blame Obama and Hillary for his mess.

Don't lie.

Politicians have always had a bad reputation when it comes to honesty. Still, the number of lies that we hear from Trump (and members of his staff) is unprecedented even for a politician.

We all learned these lessons when we were little more than five years old. Now more than any time in history I think our leaders need a " time out" to re-learn these lessons.

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