On February 3, Essence Magazine published an article about an incident at Michigan State University. Michigan State University created a display apparently for Black History Month that featured dolls representing famous African American figures that we know and love.
However, the display featured the dolls hanging from ropes on a tree.
After one day of complaints, they were forced to take it down. Looking at this tree, it represented nothing but disgusting ignorance and racism.
Let me get this straight — the university thought it was a good idea to make a tree with African American figures hanging by the neck? Not a smart move.
After reading the Essence article, I thought about a few things. Nobody took a second look at this before it was displayed? This is in a university, where diversity and representation matters. I get that they are very apologetic, but this should've not been done at all.
February is Black History Month. It's when we reflect on the struggle of black people, the history of hatred and the dominance of African Americans. Ignorance like this is the reason why we need a month to celebrate black history. Ignorance like this will always be in our world. However, it's our job as a community to point it out and overcome this hatred.
As much as it was not OK to host a display like this, I have to thank them for doing it. I learned a long time ago to thank your haters. Why? It means that they don't have any power over you. I looked at the comments and the reactions to this article. Everyone mentioned how this was not OK. That shows unity and strength. This shows us that we can do anything, no matter how much it hurts.
And that's the foundation of Black History Month.
Black history is not just for every February of the year. It's every day. Every month. Every year. It was the hands of African Americans that built this country. We were taken. We were beaten. We were raped. All to build a great country. They did it so we didn't have to. They fought back, so we could keep the legacy going. Every tear, all their pain, every song motivated us to keep going. Everything happened for times like this. It happened so we could press on and keep standing up and standing out.
I know what your thinking. This is still not OK. I totally agree with you. But I ask you to keep that fire within yourselves, to blaze a trail for anyone who presents us with racism, ignorance, and hatred. Start a revolution, because our historical figures did to create justice and peace within our nation.