We have previously stated our objections to Black History Month, on the grounds that it is insufficient. There is no such thing as “Black History” in America, there is only Black-and-White history, American history. And, for all the troubles, all the conflicts, all the ugliness, it is not possible to separate one from the other, just as a tree’s branches cannot be separated from the trunk without diminishing and distorting both. And it has not occurred to any responsible historian to try to separate them. Unfortunately, over time, irresponsible historians and bigoted textbook authors have reduced or excised the roles of Black Americans. But an annual Black History Month will not make up for such moronic excisions. Instead, we should dispose of all such books, and devote all year every year to telling the whole story – Black-AND-White history, American history, glorious and ignoble, proud and shameful, as well as celebrating the extraordinary contributions individual Blacks have made and continue make to America and the world. Any number of special events have been scheduled in America this month to mark Black History Month, and they are worthy events, but they should be scheduled throughout the year, rather than confined to February, and there should be far more of them. Event planners who can’t live without labels should, as some groups in Los Angeles have done, use the alternative label, “African American Heritage Month,” but we’d prefer losing all the labels, as, historically, labeling has played a divisive role. Finally, we were pleased and heartened when Morgan Freeman, one of America’s greatest actors, said last month on “60 Minutes” that he found the notion of Black History month “ridiculous.” Very great actor. Very smart man.
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