Celebrating Black History Month as a kid was something that I truly looked forward to. I remember the moments when I sat in class while my teachers played Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech coupled with a watered-down lesson on the great Black heroes from the past. And even feeling a sense of pride knowing that the conversation is structured around the essence of my blackness. I was proud, enlightened, eager, and blinded by the hidden truths that the textbooks didn’t provide.
But now that I’m older and more aware of everything that surrounds me, I will never celebrate Black History Month in the same way anymore.
Don’t get me wrong, I will continue to pay homage to those that have come before
me… (shout out to MLK). I will have respect for those that have made influential strides but aren’t well known… (I see you, Eugene Bullard). And I will idolize the dream-seekers and trailblazers that grace our lives today. But what truly pivots my perspective is the unconscious bias that follows me around every day because of my blackness.
(Candace Queen and Mel Gray, DigitasLBi Chicago)