One Month of Recognition

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One Month of Recognition

Lance Jozefkowicz, Reporter

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Black History Month. The one time a year where black lives actually seem to matter. When African American achievements actually seem to be appreciated rather than discredited. A time of year where African Americans can be unapologetically black.

“This is the time of year I feel proud to be black and proud of my heritage” Isaiah Witt told us.

A time when our culture is finally shown in the light it has deserved, and it’s also the shortest month of the year.

Whether we’d like to admit it or not, America was built on the backs of African Americans. Ranging from the 300 hundred years of slavery that is the basis of the nation we know today, to technological advances that have improved our way of living for generations to come, appropriated culture that has influenced American pop culture in almost every way possible, strong and brave military forces that have fought for freedoms they lacked themselves, or even simply being citizens of this nation we call home. America today would not exist without them.

In spite of all their many contributions, much of this story is never told. Every other month in America, African Americans have been shadowed by a prejudice; a constant reminder that we are a minority in the eyes of society.  Ignored, misunderstood, and oppressed. In America, a young black boy can be shot dead in cold blood by an officer of the law and have his killer glide through the justice system and walk free.

This is a place where institutionalized racism can run rampant within the core establishment of our justice system, and seamlessly go unnoticed or at least not talked about by the American public. A place where an oversimplified, biased, and overall hateful image has been cast over every African American in this nation. A place where an African American is expected to represent for their whole race, a place where racists bigots run wild on Twitter in attempts to demoralize and tear down our successes, a place where shopping consists of us being followed by a sales associate, and public enemy number one is the people in charge of protecting us. But this is America, and any African American who’s ever lived here already understands this. But in the month of February something special happens.

As Chloe Aguillard told us “Black History month makes me feel empowered. It reminds me of all the wonderful things my ancestors accomplished and how far as a race we’ve come.”

This is the time of year where black culture flourishes in all its diverse and amazing ways, the time of year when we remember the pioneers of the past, revolutionaries of the present, and inspire the leaders of the future. Black history month is the time of year we pay homage to leaders like Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr, Recy Taylor, Harriet Tubman; but also pay tribute to leaders of today like Colin Kaepernick, J Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Deray McKesson, and many more. In this month instead of being uncemented, we are congratulated. This is the one time of year we are given to feel as if America actually cares for us too.

While February acts as a beautiful tribute to our culture, truthfully it’s not enough. It shouldn’t be one time a year we feel like we belong.

“It’s not everyday we feel appreciated but it’s a great feeling when we are” Nathan Steward told us.

It shouldn’t be one time of year we hear history about our culture and heritage. Yet this still remains our everyday struggle. We may not have gotten reparations, but we should be guaranteed respect and protestation. 28 days out of a year cannot fill this void and lack of empathy.

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