I am a white, female, college student, sorority woman, and not at all a minority, but that doesn’t mean I’m not celebrating black history month. We have come an extremely long way in the United States regarding segregation and that is something to celebrate. Many of us would not have our bosses, coworkers, classmates, best friends, boyfriends/girlfriends, husbands/wives, let alone, our previous president if it wasn’t for desegregation laws and our conscious efforts to make our society one of equality. With that said, I am not only celebrating black history month, making it a point of conversation, and blogging because I am overjoyed by our nation's accomplishments. Rather, I am celebrating black history month, so that I may bring awareness to those around me that 1) it is Black History Month, and 2) wow, IT’S BLACK HISTORY MONTH, and Black people (as well as other minorities) are equal! We are all equal.
Now, don’t get me wrong, much of our nation is way past all the segregation nonsense. That’s great, but the sad truth is, some are not. Some still look across the room and see color rather than person. Just one example took place not many years ago in 2013 when high school students in Wilcox County, Georgia, were fighting to set up their first ever integrated prom. FIRST EVER. When I heard this, I got chills. How disgusting that they are getting away with having segregated proms. How are they getting away with it? The saddest part is, that it wasn’t going against any laws. The school wasn't breaking any civil rights laws because it wasn’t actually sponsoring the segregated proms. The school wasn’t responsible, the parents and students were responsible. They were the ones organizing and funding the private events. Like some sick invite list. No colored people allowed. God forbid children of different race associate, let alone dance together. Even worse, when this high school in Wilcox, Georgia came to public light and was called to speak on the efforts moving towards an integrated prom, students told reporters that the posters they had put up around the school for the integrated prom were being ripped down. Students were actually objecting the opportunity to finally have a dance when they could all be together as a high school. And I can’t help but wonder, did they even know why, or were they simply ripping down the posters because their parents told them it was wrong?
As much as this story in its entirety disgusted, and angered me, I really got to thinking, and realized—this happens today. The sad truth is, some of our nation still doesn’t seem to understand that we are equal. They get caught up in the then. How things used to be, or what their old-fashioned grandparents grew up believing, and how they’ve passed on these old fashioned, and completely inaccurate, notions of segregation because “they grew up in the south”. I hear from surrounding college students everyday that they “don’t like” blacks, or Latinos, or Native Americans, or Asians, and when you ask them why they have no reasoning other then that’s how they were raised.. Well it’s a bunch of bull. Do they even know how absurdly ignorant that is? That’s like not eating pizza because your mom told you when you were ten that you wouldn’t like it.
So it all boils down to this, it doesn’t matter how things were, what your ancestors may have thought, what your grandparents still believe, or how your father told you when you were a little girl that your husband “could not be black.” Forget about it. You don’t have to believe what your family believes. You are your own person, and you can choose to be better than that. We are long past those misconceptions. We are a new generation whom recognizes that “separate but equal” means exactly what it says. Yes, we are different, and we are unique, in many beautifully various ways—but we are equal.
That is why I am a white celebrating black history month. In hopes that in remembering how far we have come, we may also spread awareness that there still is segregation. Our nation has come so far, and yet not far enough. No race has come far enough, and we could all do better. During this month of remembrance, do, please, notice how far we have come, but also challenge yourself to be nicer. Whatever background you come from, be nicer, and see each neighbor as just that. “The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31.