Black History month, like other race-based acknowledgments about the contributions to our culture that our nation of immigrants have made (notwithstanding native peoples), has become an anachronism.
First of all, the notion of “race” has no basis in science. Most of our notions about “race” stem from the languishing residue from questionable “research” performed more than 200 years ago by Dr. Samuel Morton and others from earlier European centuries.
Historically, racism evolved whenever one particular ethnic group began to exclude, dominate or eradicate others with different skin color or other appearances and qualities that were different from the conquerors, who believed themselves to be superior.
Our DNA is the same.
Ironically, humans migrated out of Africa around 100,000 years ago and migrated to all the corners of the globe, developing various phenotypic and idiosyncratic methods of coping with their environment.
This included skin tones and other abilities, like being able to live at certain altitudes, to withstand colder or warmer temperatures, or, unfortunately, becoming susceptible to certain diseases.
Second, immigrants to our nation are the reason that we Americans exist in the first place.
Third, the contributions that Blacks (and for that matter, most of the others who have been either forcefully brought to this country, or who have voluntarily moved here), are so extensive and have become so much a major part of the fabric of our society that we don’t even realize it any more.
They have contributed to math, science, engineering, medicine, agriculture, language, environment as well as art, music, dance, entertainment, etc.
We are indebted to these immigrants every day of our lives, yet we have convinced ourselves that by naming one month in honor of one group’s initiatives this will satisfy our inexplicable, segregated treatment of them for the last 300 years.
We have to figure out a better way of examining our collective conscience and recognizing who we really are as a nation, and stop believing that assigning a monthly moniker to the calendar will suffice.
Peter Lyons Hall