Years ago, I used to make sure I ‘did’ Black history month. By that I mean, I actively looked for activities for my family and I to attend and support. The staff at my out of school clubs had me send plan for Black history month in August to be signed off. My daughter had more than the usual discussions around her identity.
In recent years, I have stopped all personal support of this month. Why? No particular reason apart from I realised I was ‘doing’ black history month because if I did not, I felt guilty. I felt I was letting someone down. Every year, this month came and went and life did not seem to be different for many blacks.
I now do not feel I add to anything by focusing on black history month. I feel I should add to my community on an ongoing basis or as best as I can when I can. It actually does not mean anything more to me than what November or July means to me as a black woman.
Please do not get me wrong, I am not saying it is wrong to have it or for anyone who feels the need to – to support it. This is just a personal choice which actually caused me great concern when I realised that this particular month meant nothing different to me.
I think my reasons take me back into the territory of having spent my childhood in Africa, so history and perception is different from someone who grew up here like my daughter for example who is very into black history month.
Mind you I am not one for celebrating any national days such as Valentine Day and others, so maybe it is just a personality trait! I am trying to get my family to think that every Sunday is Mother’s day and they have not fallen for that one either!