Black history is filled with people who innovated, educated, inspired, advocated and challenged. There are so many achievements (often despite significant oppression or personal danger) that have been the forerunners of shaping progress in the United States. Black history and those who created glorious moments of change have often gone unnoticed or spoken of all too quietly.
February's Black History Month is a great time to expand our knowledge and understanding of the significant impact that Black Americans have had -- and continue to have -- in shaping this country. Often whitewashed or having its truths and perspectives misrepresented (sometimes deliberately), Black history in the United States is frequently viewed as a sidenote in a White narrative.
There are many notable figures and achievements to study during February's Black History Month. But with no federal standards or requirements to teach Black history in the U.S. (only a small number of states mandate it) ... is America's reconciliation with its past actively progressive or performative?
The difficulty with identifying (and defeating) systemic racism, especially for those of us who are not its intended target, comes from the fact that its existence and implementation -- by design -- is insidious. Its invisibility ensures its longevity.
Talking about racism and addressing racial injustice can be a difficult topic to navigate, especially if you’re White and relatively new to learning about or fighting against how entrenched it is within American society. Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPoC) have been telling us about this for a very long time; that racism is individually and institutionally pervasive. And it kills.