It is February, which means Black History Month in some areas. Why do we need this month? Why is it we have a whole month dedicated to the history of black people? Why is much of that history full of honoring people that stood up to oppression and violence and the struggles black people took just to be seen as human, as equal, as deserving of rights? Why is there an argument of whether black people deserve rights anyway? Why is there an argument of what type of human deserves rights, and what kind doesn’t?
Skin colours in humanity are caused by the amount of melanin in a person’s skin. Melanin is a dark pigment present in the skin produced by melanocyte cells. Some people have the pigment carotene that causes a yellow tone. Skin colour is just a product of cells, some people have more or less than the next person, and there is no standard or an average amount. People from similar areas tend to have similar quantities of melanin in their skin. Via natural selection, skin pigmentation has needed to adapt to different amounts of the UV radiation present in different environments. Historically, darker skin tones are found closer to the equator, where more direct and frequent sunlight hits the surface of the planet. In contrast, lighter skin tones are located closer to the poles due to less of a need for excess melanin. Diversity is becoming more and more apparent in this present day; you can travel to several countries and see a wide variety of tones and colours.
Historically, skin tone has been a real issue. Some humans feel skin tone determines superiority and authority to other skin tones. Some humans also think that persons of similar pigments are all similar in characteristics; morality and humanity is often determined by different skins. It is so bad that long ago, humankind decided that skin tones should be classified into these things called “Races.” With this separation and classification comes racism, which is a destroyer of human progression, in an honest opinion. The United States and Canada have Black History Month because people with black skin have been viewed as inferior to people with white skin for centuries. Dark skin has been an indicator of an inhuman slave for a long time and still is today, just not as much and not as noticeable. Slavery has been illegal for a little while in the United States, but the signs that it existed are everywhere in racism. Living in this country, it’s quite noticeable, seeing hate crimes on the news and experiencing it in front of you. The stereotypes that black people are immoral thugs and thieves and criminals have been so deeply rooted that new generations learn it naturally in their environment. It seems like black people are horrible because the media shows the things that make these stereotypes real and push the billions of stories that disprove everything wrong under the rug. The same goes for anyone of Indian, Asian, Hispanic, etc. descent. In this country, it always looks like white people are constantly on top, and everyone else doesn’t matter. In other countries, similar things happen, a selection of skin tones is shunned and forced to the ground because someone decided which was more deserving of power and respect.
I grew up hearing racist things. I also grew up hearing sexism, homophobia and transphobia, and ableism. I’m in a years-long process of completely unlearning these things because they’re pointless. Humanity has a desire to be on top of the next person, to be in control, to rule over other humans to show how awesome they think they are. The best way to do this is to attack something about a person they can’t control and then convince other people that a select trait is inferior. It’s embarrassing to have to celebrate a month of history to show that these people are human. We also have Women’s history month, Autism Awareness Month, LGBT History Month, Native American/ Alaska Native Heritage Month, and several months dedicated to the heritage of Americans of other descents, such as Italian American and Hispanic heritage months. It’s nice to have an awareness of things, but do people care outside of those months? Do we have those months only so those that believe they’re superior are forced to think about other people for some time? Some humans have pure hatred for certain people of different people groups; many decide to make their hate heard, verbally and physically. Hate for separate groups has been around since the dawn of humanity. Significant changes have been made over the centuries. However, it is still present, even more so today with the help of media such as television news and the internet. It’s a shame to know there are people unsatisfied and even angry with others’ gains for equality and satisfaction with life. There will always be people hating the idea of Black History Month or any other month meant to bring awareness to anything considered minority or inferior.
I do not hate Black History Month; I despise the reason that we need it. The United States essentially has the month of February dedicated to Black People as an apology for centuries of slavery, centuries of less than human classification, and centuries of erasing and blocking Black history and teachings. The same goes for every other minority that has to have a month of dedication. Only a few countries celebrate months of awareness, but the issues still cover every square foot of this planet. The planet Earth could have been far more advanced today without hate, in my opinion. It is the message Jesus taught, “Love thy enemy,” already knowing that humans already were separated into these groups and despising each other. In my city and online, I see so many things about Black history, celebrating the month of February. Why can this not be normal all year round? Not just for Black People, but for Hispanics, Asians, Indians, Native Americans, LGBTQ people, people with disabilities, women, etc.? As a white person, I don’t take pride in knowing the reason these things are celebrated when they should just be normalized. I do love knowing essential steps are being made, or at least fought to be taken. It seems impossible to rid the world of hate, but one day at a time is enough to start to make anyone see true equality in the people around them.
Furthermore, it is absolutely possible to unlearn the negative things you have learned at any point in your life. Until then, treat everyone you interact kindly and with the understanding that everyone is a human, just maybe with different characteristics and traits. May this month and every day further be a good time for change.