We gear up around here for the three day weekend. It has different meaning to us in this household.
Martin Luther King Day. To celebrate his birthday, which was earlier this week, and his contributions to the civil rights movement.
In the past, it was stressed in a sense, and maybe it was because I actually lived in the city to see it. Living in the burbs with my kids, I notice that black history, in general, has dropped off the radar.
As you peeps know, we lived in California, and one thing I do miss about living there, is that they celebrated everyone and everybody. They celebrated black history, but I also learned about Asian american history, and Mexican american history. I loved it because a) my minor is U.S. Social History, and b) it really gave a unity to everyone in the state. A respect to your history in how you shaped this nation, but also let you learn about your counterparts as well.
If only every place we like that.
I remember as a kid, how tv, film, schools, and communities made sure you knew about Black history, because it wasn’t just my history, it’s everyone’s history. These important people made this country what it is today. With the traffic light, we would be screwed today. With the invention of peanut butter, we would just have jelly sandwiches. If the challenges of interracial marriages weren’t fought for, I would have been an outlaw for a long time.
I guess, I’m disappointed because as we are in a technology world, and as much as I teach my kids of the truth to the civil right movement, and black history, it has disappeared. I’m not saying I sit them in front of a television for them to learn, at the same time, Roots was a staple on networks during February. Malcolm X is a great movie to watch, and Denzel was excellent in the film. Yet, it’s something we don’t discuss.
We discuss the building of this country. We discuss Ellis Island. We talk about the world wars, Korean wars, and Vietnam, but for some reason, we don’t talk too much about the African american input into this country. I can honestly say, it wasn’t until I got to college was when I got the full discussion of the civil rights movement. Where I learned the “I have a dream speech” wasn’t the original speech, and almost didn’t happen, due to politics. Where I learned Stanley Carmichael wasn’t just for black equality, but was a pro supporter of equal rights, including homosexuals.
I guess I was blessed that my mother, and grandparents lived through it, and stories were told to me, so going into school, I had an insight to things that the media didn’t tell or show you. That during some marches, children were put in the front, and police didn’t care, dogs and water hoses were still used to break up the peaceful march.
It’s funny. We have the stereotype that black people love fried chicken, and it’s all we eat. Of course it’s not true, though we love fried chicken it’s not all we eat. Something that we did do is cook that, with pound cake, and lemonade. It was easy to take on the road, since it was longer ‘shelf life’ during these travels of fights the cause. It wasn’t a stereotype, it was a science. The more you know.
I guess, what I’m asking is to take the ball into your court. Teach your kids, the good and bad of the minorities histories in this country. They need to know, where we(African, Native, Asian, Hispanic, and everything in between) contributed to this great country. What we continue to do, and with that, what they should do as they get older to built on this. What new causes(marriage equality, ADA, marijuana use) they should fight for, and how it plays into knowing these histories too. With streaming services, Google, libraries, and new ways to educate, these kids need to know their past, present, and build on a future. As I was taught, you don’t know you history, you’ll repeat the same mistakes of the past.
In our house, we are planning to see the movie, Selma. Looks great. In our house, we have discussions, daily now(due to the environment) about social environments based on ethnicity, gender, spiritual choice, and where my kids fall into that since they are multi ethnic. They identify more with their african american heritage, but they are also Hispanic, Caucasian, Indian, and Jewish.
Great mix, huh? LOL.
It’s the reason these talks, and on your own studying needs to happen. The country is changing, more blended then ever before, and we as a people need to recognize that, to respect and celebrate what came before us, and what to do now, to keep the peace.
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