Black History Month is here once again. Even though it’s the shortest month of the year, and even though Black History should be celebrated year round, I’m grateful that we have this month to pull the country’s collective attention to the history of my people and all the contributions we’ve made to this country.
And every year I watch my non-black friends (mainly my white friends…) struggle to figure out ways to celebrate this month without offending people or without seeming too interested as to make sure they get invited back to thanksgiving dinner and Christmas at the end of the year.
I can’t help you with that last one, but I can certainly help you with the first one! Here’s my short guide to helping non-black (mainly white…) people celebrate Black History Month:
1. Know the history of Black History Month and why we celebrate it.
Do you know how Black History got its start? Do you know who Carter G. Woodson is? If you don’t, google it. This is a month of research for the uninformed. Know how this month came about, why it was started, the path it took to make it happen and why it’s important today.
2. Go see Black Panther (February 16th, y’all!)
Besides it being the newest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it is a huge deal for the black community to finally have some character representation that spans an entire movie! The fact that I basically can grow my hair out to the exact length and style of Chadwick Boseman and not have to “dress up” as him shows that representation matters.
Also, go see it in IMAX, 3-D, and dine-in theaters only. #Reparations
3. Only buy chocolate on Valentine’s Day
……….self explanatory, really. Plus it’s a good test for your boo thang, because if he/she doesn’t like chocolate, they’re probably racist anyway so now you know! (Kidding……slightly)
4. Learn about someone in Black History that you didn’t know about.
Movies like “Hidden Figures” show that there are people so important in black history that don’t get much of the spotlight due them. Yes we know the Martin Luther King Jrs, the Rosa Parks, the Thurgood Marshalls, and the Jessie Owens. But why didn’t we hear about the Katherine Johnsons, the Dorothy Vaughans, and the Mary Jacksons? This month, try finding about someone you didn’t know about. Black History is everywhere!
5. Learn about how past black history events have affected current American living.
How did George Washington Carver’s scientific research affect what we know today? Did Maya Angelou’s literary work shape what we think and know about Black women? How have the athletic accomplishments of black athletes in sports paved the way for achievements today? So many past events led the way for how America runs today. Try to connect the dots between some of these achievements and today’s current cultural climate
6. Learn about current black history!
Black History is literally happening today! Serena Williams, Simone Biles, the Nigerian Bobsled Team, just to name a few! Black History didn’t stop in the civil rights movement. It is very current. And our knowledge on it should be too! Find something current in black history that you can tell your children or your friends about having witnessed live!
7. Try to research and dispel one lie or myth related to black history that you were taught in school or elsewhere in life.
Christianity is not the white man’s religion. That is just one myth that I hear often that shows that the speaker of such nonsense doesn’t understand the clear African roots of the early Christian church.
Also, did you know that racism is a systematic issue and not an event that is simply boiled down the sporadic occurrences of discrimination?
This myth and many more others are waiting to be dispelled! Find a misconception, or downright lie, to uncover this black history month.
8. Read a book! (Or a few)
Y’all. There are so many books on this issue.
So. Many. Books.
And not just books, but articles, blogs, podcasts, sermons, so many resources to learn about race and racism. In the comment section feel free to put a book that you’ve read that helped shaped your view on race. Here are some of mine
9. Consider going to an event that is celebrating black history this month, or that celebrates it year round.
There might be a black history event around the corner from you and you not even know it. I’m sure watching your child recite only the safe portions of the “I Have A Dream” speech is cute and will get a lot of likes on your Facebook page, but consider going somewhere where you might be the minority. Maybe plan a trip to a museum, an art exhibit, or a production about or celebrating Black History.
Consider worshiping at a black church. Drink in the years of generational style, cultural, and deep faith passed down to us. Soak in the hand gestures, the movements, the oratory stylistics. Be a part of a tradition born on American soil and is every bit as American as your own traditions.
10. Be in prayer for our nation with regards to race
Pray. Racism is evil. Racial division is a notch in the enemy’s belt. He loves division. He loves racism. He loves sin. Pray against it in our nation, in our government, in our systems and in our world. Ask for eyes to see as God sees and for faith to move in kingdom-redeeming ways. Let us all pray that His will, especially with regards to race, be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. Let us ask for a glimpse of the coming Revelation 7:9 church where every tongue, tribe and nation will be found around the throne worshipping God forevermore.
Happy Black History Month!