Black History Matters — It’s Time For Black History To Be Taken More Seriously.

Mar 20 · 6 min read
Photo by Oladimeji Odunsi on Unsplash

Social media is a platform to engage in intelligent conversation, but it is also a stage for narrow minded individuals to voice their opinions as a result of the fundamental human right of ‘free speech’. So why then, when it comes to black people expressing their anguish and pain via social media, does the world try to silence them? As educated as an individual may be, the way we express and shape our opinions is what shows how intelligent we truly are. Ignorance is not a form of intelligence and it should never be excused!

With that being said, I am no longer shocked at the ignorance I see thrive in the comments section of the many posts that come and go everyday on all my social media feeds, many of them race related. This particular one I felt the need to make a post about. It was a positive post for black history month. This post is no longer available to view.

Before coming across the post, I’d previously read a very long article about the devastating 9/11 tragedy. The comments section was filled with mentions of #(hashtag)NeverForget and other expressions of sympathy towards the victims and their families. This is the same when remembering the Holocaust and the soldiers lost in the World Wars (rightly so) but when it comes to black history, it’s a different story. Rather we hear, ‘get over it, it happened a long time ago!.. but you can have Martin Luther King day, and you can cry over your pain during black history month — which we won’t actually acknowledge — but hey it’ll be yours!’ (not in so many words of course).

The very first comment I read on said post was the very long opinion written by a man who stated that black pain is a thing of the past. He was quick to notify readers that he had ‘black friends’ and was practically surrounded by black people because he went to an all black school and was picked on more than the black kids when he eventually went on to a majority white school. I do not doubt that this man has had a tough time growing up in a race crazed society where being different is criticised, but to insinuate so boldly that racism and discrimination against black individuals no longer exists in the same way that it did many years ago, and therefore there should be no need to feel pained by it, is ludicrous.

That is exactly the kind of ignorance that black people have to deal with everyday (some more than others). Not to say that I don’t sympathise with the victims of 9/11, because I do, I simply cannot stand the hypocritical nature of feeble minded individuals when it comes to issues that affect them, versus when it affects other races. This always has been the way of life and it needs to change! It is insulting to favour one race’s past over another’s by insulting the relevance of their history and the struggles of their present.

The man also made mention that not just one race died in the 9/11 bombings. Agreed. But a lot more whites fell victim on that tragic day and if you look at the ratio of whites to other ethnicities in the US, this shouldn’t be very surprising, although some may like to think that the country is practically being taken over by ‘foreigners’. My question is, if it had been majority black people murdered during the 9/11 bombings, would a yearly memorial be held in remembrance of those who lost their lives?

I think not!

No white person is going to remember the victims of the Charleston church shooting.

It is true that nobody wants to talk about black people’s struggles as though it is some kind of a taboo subject, they would rather try to downplay it by saying it is ‘in the past’ when we all know racism is very much still alive and thriving to this day.

We have free speech? Yes, but a limited amount of it depending on who you are. In fact anything that depicts a black person’s pain is seen as too controversial. How many times have social media sites tried to delete and erase the memory of posts which speak on black history and black struggles in the modern world? (including the very post I speak of). If these posts were about a so called terrorist attack being a terrible thing (which it is) and ‘damn the Muslims’, would they do the same?

Nobody would dare tell a holocaust survivor to ‘get over it’, but when slavery or segregation or apartheid are mentioned, why the sudden effrontery? Why should I be shut down because it makes you uncomfortable?

What is freedom of speech when you are pigmented and educated?

They say #NeverForget to 9/11, but the government textbooks in our schools intentionally leave out and/ whitewash huge parts of American and British history regarding racial hatred.

In the UK institutionalisation is the most common form of racism. They leave the content of black history in the curriculum that are ‘explainable’, or history that can be explained away. It is so easy for white individuals to try to explain slavery away by saying: ‘but blacks sold their own people…but whites helped free black slaves…but the KKK arguably aren’t as bad as the Black Panther Movement or the Black Lives Matter movement…but the history books say…’ That sort of behaviour (omitting relevant information) is widely practiced in the UK as I know first hand, especially the lack of light shone on the many (many) slaves who fought to end slavery.

I learned about the journey of slaves from Africa in high school but nothing really about anything else to do with black history, and it was always a white man who abolished slavery, they never tell you the real reason behind it. They never tell you they were essentially forced to abolish slavery in the end — did they suddenly grow a conscience and decide to ignore the large profits they stood to gain from exploiting people of colour? — No! it was more so because slavery began to become less profitable as slaves themselves began to boycott (in the Caribbean for example). It is so easy to downplay the efforts of blacks when we aren’t taught about our own history in detail. And there is so much more to learn.

It is extremely powerful to realise that we are still enslaved in thought. If we are oblivious to the facts and are fed whitewashed truths then we don’t know what questions to ask or how to teach the younger generation on race relations, in order to reduce the consequences of the ‘them against us’ and ‘blacks against whites’ mentality. After all, history has a way of repeating itself.

‘Yes #NeverForget, especially our heroes who have died over the years in pointless wars of greed and a display of power between our oh so giant nations. We are Great Britain because we knew how to manipulate your ancestors, steal your land and treasures and our Royalty knew much better how to rule your land than your inferior Kings and Queens. We are the United states of America because we were once colonised, but we fought back and joined our old masters in the destruction of you blacks. Oh and we believe in manifest destiny and the mass genocide of innocent lives whilst our now government, who had absolutely nothing to do with what happened in the ‘past’, pass judgement on you third world countries for your corruption and greed and inability to compete because we are better than you. Fix up' — Sarcasm by Anonymous.

This is what happens when fallen human beings gain power. It is an endless cycle and we are slowly regressing because we continue to segregate a race of people by telling them to pick and choose what pain to feel. Anything but black pain.

To end, there will only be some progress when white people stop feeling that black pride equals white hatred.

Black history includes (but is not limited to):

By Ope



Written by

A consolidation of the thoughts, experiences and lessons from life as a young black man (Ato) and a young black woman (Ope) living in Britain - inc. some poetry

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