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Okay, I teach at a majority white liberal arts college in MN. I have been extremely disappointed with respect to the lack of attention to AAHM/BHM, particularly this year.

I subsequently address two black administrators at the college, one in the presidents office as Director of Diversity Initiatives, and the other Director of Multicultural Affairs. Both men are ~ 50.

The Diversity Director told me that he was unfamiliar with celebrations associated with Black History Month. The Multicultural Affairs Director said that if there is any activities that take place on campus, they would have to be student generated, and the financial resources obtained from Student Government. There is nothing, in his recollection, that has involved the larger campus community, administration, or town.

I had a talk with my wife that was the catalyst for this conversation, and when I told her the responses that I got, she was shocked, I was shocked and pissed.

I want to call BS on both this men. How in the hell does a Black man reach 50+ without knowing anything about BHM, celebrating it, etc. I feel like they are simply going along to get along, but that is not me. I am not as active as I used to be, and I also realize that as nontenured faculty, I am vulnerable, but this is really got me heated.

Am I being irrational, or am I right to begin my master plan to subvert the status quo?
"Beware the terrible simplifiers!" Jacob Burckhardt
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I can say that it seems to not be as much on television as I'm used to seeing, but it does appear that it is still celebrated or is part of assignments in elementary school.  But I must say that since its inception, that it has always appeared to me that it has only been schools (K12) that have actually really given it any particular platform.  I've seen no African American organizations putting on any thing in particular to celebrate Black History Month, no parades, no gatherings, functions, nothing.  

If we really want it celebrated, fully recognized and respected, WE have to make it eventful;  African Americans must come together to organize galas, balls, events, parades, church sponsored programs and events, shopping sprees, and even family gatherings ourselves. I feel the same way about Juneteenth and Kwaanza, which in my opinion is not celebrated enough by African Americans or by enough African Americans.

Until WE start celebrating things that are important to US, LIKE they are important to US, in this capitalistic society, then retailers and businesses in America have nothing to anticipate making any money off of, and until we are doing something BIG enough and CONSISTENT enough for retailers and businesses to make money off of, those entities that drive advertisement and recognition will not invest the money, advertisement and recognition that it takes to push such a holiday, celebration, or annual event.
Brotha Kresge asks "Am I being irrational?"


  Of course NOT!  What is the purpose of being a Diversity Director or a Mutlicultural Affairs Director?  The whole point is to make folks AWARE of different cultures.....through celebrations?

But I feel ya my brotha.  I for one DON'T wait for the school to implement a Black History Month program.  I plan it on my own.  Early on....I get the approval and prepare the event with my student volunteers.  I don't wait for ADULTS to do anything that will bring PRIDE and KNOWLEDGE regarding my culture.  I learned a long long long time ago NOT to depend on adults to do anything in regards to Black History.

To be honest I'm surprised your library didn't implement anything...usually they are the ones to bring culture awareness to the students through their displays and exhibits in the lobby area of the library center.

I know it's February 17th....but!  It's not too late to do something if you wanna.  If monetary funding is a problem....and you REALLY want to do something, I suggest a mere book report contest on Black History.  Place some colorful flyers on campus for a week  make the deadline around or near Feb. 22-cuz you will need time to read.  Have ONE main award and then have simple giveaways for those who participated but didn't win.  Use the library as a place for the presentation.  Bam!

What I do is give away music instruments like a guitar or keyboard.  And appreciative bags filled with pencils, memo pad, gum, etc. for those students who participated.  This wouldn't cost you as much as you think.  I've had to do it.  Sometimes using my OWN money.....but!  The benefits I received from students learning for the first time about our amazing black history....were absolutely priceless!  It seemed the light bulb came on for many of 'em.  Just a suggestion.  But!  I'm just sayin
Sisters,
Thank you for the words of encouragement and exhortation.
At the very least, I am going to make an appearance at the student events for the rest of the month. I will probably be the only prof in attendance, but it is something. I am also going to look into instigating around campus with like-minded souls (students, staff, and faculty). I do not intend to be caught flat footed on this again.

FYI - The College Trustees are here this weekend, and two are African Americans who seemed enthusiastic when the college hired me, so I may also try to catch a few words with them.

This so-called Post Racial myth/ish is really starting to piss me off.
Kresege, I am with you on this. I am feeling the same frustration about BHM. But I have to squarely blame no one but black people for this. The first word that comes to mind is APATHY. And the whole post-racial thingy is working my last nerve. Its not post-racial when it comes to any other group with the exception of Black Americans. You are so righteous in your anger about this. Best of luck with the events.

CNN's 'Pictures Don't Lie' Set to Air February 20th


withers-cnn-300.jpg

CNN is gearing up to air a very special documentary about famed Civil Rights photographer Ernest Withers, whom CNN has learned, may have led a secret life. The camera man was on hand to witness some of  history's biggest events, including courtroom proceedings of the murder trial ofEmmett Till, and Dr. King's last march before his assassination

What makes Withers' story fascinating is the increasing accusation that he may have been an FBI "racial informant..."

"Pictures Don't Lie" will air on February 20th and will highlight interviews with Civil Rights leaders who may have been spied on by Withers. The documentary will also uncover their feelings about the accusations. 

Furthermore, his children are speaking out for the first time about the charges as they continue to fight to open a museum that would display their father's work.

As part of Soledad O'Brien's "Black in America" series, "Pictures Don't Lie" looks promising. It would be devastating to know that if said accusations against Withers were true, it would dramatically change the perception of the Civil Rights era.


Read more: http://www.essence.com/enterta...rs.php#ixzz1EPvjIwMm
I'm with your wife .... my mouth was hanging open the entire time reading this post! 

Here in this small suburb of Houston that I live in ... I have to say I am pleasantly surprised that there is actually a lot of attention paid to Black History Month ... as well as other African American celebrations during the year!!  It's true that many of the BHM commemorations are generated by the schools ... elementary, middle and high, and colleges ... but the marques of all of them advertise programs and events that are happening there during the month.  And not all of them are only geared towards the children/students.  There are programs at the local and main libraries for adults offered here as well!!

There are parades for MLK Day, BHM, Juneteenth (of course), and a Kwanzaa program at the City Hall community center.

A few years back, we became the first city in Texas ... and then the first county ... to become a majority-minority population.  At that time I naively and mistakenly thought that meant "us" ... but, now I know better!    But still, there seems to be respect and acknowledgment for the large population of Black people here.  So, hearing your story is just kinda ... ... to me!!  I figured most areas/people are trying to increase the level of education about Black people and BHM.  But I guess I was wrong/naive about that, too!

Anyway ... I think as an educator, you have a duty (and the right) to try to bring knowledge and education about this subject into an area where it is OBVIOUSLY much needed!!  Perhaps you can offer encouragement and ideas to the student organizations to expand their events/programs (for next year) both on the campus and beyond into the surrounding city/town.

As I get older, I find that for so many of our people - especially the youth - the main reason why they don't do a lot of things on their own is because they simply don't know how ... or have never been taught how by somebody with the knowledge to share with them.

Maybe you can be the match that lights that fire!    Knowledge is power.  As a teacher, you should do what you can to spread it around.

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