ReDefining Black History Month

First, I’m nervous about this post. However, in iambutNaked fashion, I’m gonna jump and be transparent about something that may not be parallel to the black status quo. 

I am black and I’m annoyed by Black History Month! 

(HEAR ME OUT) Until recently I could not articulate why. So, I kept it to myself because it’s not a very popular opinion and it could be sorely seen as hate for my own ethnicity. The political climate is so charged with racism, hate crimes and the polarization of ethnicities these days, it can be difficult to know what’s politically correct, if you care. (which I don’t) I mean to say that people are precious to me, but I don’t care about being “politically correct.”

Black History Month was developed because Carter G. Woodson was one of the first to be vocal about how he did not see blacks represented in the books and conversations that would shape American history - not cool. So, he set out to do something about it. However, that celebration, in my opinion, has severely gotten off course. In an effort to support black people and the suffering that we have endured, Black History Month is celebrated in a way that causes us to believe that because of our suffering we are somehow more special.  We are still suffering in so many aspects of society. A lot of that suffering is our own fault. We are rarely accountable for this. Instead, our unforgiven suffering is glorified and we expect to get kudos for enduring beyond our ancestral plight.

At this point in American history, we are talking about people who have not suffered like they did before and beyond the 1920’s through the 1960’s. We are talking about the great-great-grand parents of the people who are alive today. I hear your rebuttals regarding the “systematic racism” that is supposedly prevalent today with all the seemingly random, but not so random police brutality, the Trump vs. NFL debacle, gentrification for the purpose of political gain and the not so obvious shred of the value of black women through characters such as Olivia Pope and Cookie Lions. (who are made popular by the number of viewers – black and white)

It is assumed because we are black that we are still suffering. The celebration of Black History Month is done so in the light of that suffering. This presents us as better than all other ethnicities because of our suffering. It’s as if our victimization is what is being celebrated, and not our contribution to American history. Or is this what “they” are saying? That we (blacks) are victims, celebrate us!

Hey! Here’s a novel idea! Those of us who call ourselves citizens of the Kingdom of God have the choice to participate in what is being labeled “systematic racism.” Do you know that you actually have a choice to participate in it or not? Either Jesus is Lord or not. Either the Word of God, (the Bible) is true for your life right here in 2018 or not. And our private, public and political lives are a reflection of that participation! I’m sure nepotism, racism and classism have played some part in who gets what opportunities. However, what is impossible in the “racially systematic” world of America is always possible with my Lord Jesus Christ! Yep! I said it. Stop bitching about the glass ceiling being the reason that you didn’t get the job.  Quit blaming “white privilege” for the reason why you don’t have more money. I’m sick of hearing about the ill intentions of “the great white hope.” It’s time for African American Christians to take what “they” have tried to label us as and turn it on it’s butt by being the Kingdom citizen’s the Lord created us to be.  We do so by having a daily dynamic relationship with Jesus, by developing that relationship so that it affects every area of our lives, by allowing that relationship to bring order and discipline and by helping others to do the same. And we do so individually and as a family who are connected by His blood and not the color of our skin.

And, if you want to celebrate Black History Month, do so. It’s righteous to celebrate the achievement of justice and the establishment of the Kingdom of God in our culture. But if you want to whine about how blacks are under-appreciated, under-celebrated, and under the “white man’s” foot – iaintgonnabeabletodoit!

We should take our cue from Simon of Cyrene who God inserted into history as a black man who contributed by literally taking onto his body a curse as he served Jesus who was incapable of completing the ultimate sacrifice alone. (Gal 3:13; Mark 15:21) The pride I feel right now as I realize that we were present to serve humanity during the most important point in history as a slave gives me more pride than being acknowledged by all of the media outlets as less than because of my nation’s racially systematic positioning of myself as a black woman. Tuh! I’ll take being a descendant of that slave any day!

I’m Tifiny and iambutNaked…

Tifiny Johnson