By Reel Ahmed
Black history month is an annual event dedicated to remembering and celebrating the history and contribution of the African diaspora in the past and right now. It is observed in Canada, the US and UK at differing times of the year, with the first head of state recognised Black History Months happening in 1976.
It is meant to be a time to remember all those of African descent who were subjected to slavery, struggled for civil rights, had their accomplishments ignored and their history disavowed. The well-known German 18th/19th century philosopher said “Africa…I no historical part of the world”.
That is what I believe its intended purpose is supposed to be, but how is it really observed? As a ‘blacks greatest hits’? A chance for Nike to sell overpriced black history months trainers (they actually do that every year). And is it even relevant anymore? Some may argue we have moved on from the days of discrimination, and although not completely eliminated, dwelling on the past is not all that useful. Some have even called it racist, a form of tribalism and others offensive to relegate the history of black Brits and North Americans to one month in the year- and the shortest month of the year in the US, for that matter.
Personally I do not believe there should be a Black History Month, Asian History month or whatever. It should just be North American or British History. But until it becomes redundant as people of African descent in the west become the subject of history books and not a marginal note, then there needs to be a time devoted to highlighting their collective contribution.
What do you believe? Fill out the short survey to let us know!
All the events marking Black History Month can be found here http://www.blackhistorymonth.org.uk/listings/