The failing recognition of February: Black History Month
MON. | 02-28-22 | OPINION
The short month of February. Ahhhh. Valentine’s Day, the end of winter and Black History Month. It seems as though that last part however, is being brushed over.
In elementary school, I always had a special project assigned for February each year where each person in the class would research a famous black person and make a poster. We started big with famous faces such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, then moved onto people like George Washington Carver who are still famous, but still way less known. Fun fact: he invented peanut butter after experimenting with the possible uses of peanuts.
There is a lack of active participation in Black History Month, which is especially concerning since high school is a crucial learning period that shapes how students see
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the world around them. In all my classes this semester except one, there is only passive energy towards Black History Month, for a multitude of reasons.
In my Spanish I class, we are doing a project on famous Afro-Latines to celebrate this month. When my teacher assigned the project, we had to pick from a list of names to research who were all people of mixed black and latine/hispanic descent. I heard many complaints and questions like “I don't even know what afro-latino means,” and “I only know Cardi B”.The assignment actively pushed my peers to learn more about the diversity of black culture and hispanic/latine culture at the same time. That active push to educate students on the importance of black history and culture is extremely important, especially in today’s time. In my other classes, however, minimal effort has been made to teach students more about black culture and/ or history.
I decided I wanted to write about this in my journalism class. It makes sense that there is not an assignment actively pushing students in this class to write specifically about Black History Month, since everyone is supposed to pick their own topic for each newspaper issue to write about. However, in many other classes with more teacher-led assignments, there are assignments directing students energy towards the celebration.
In my art class, we have already made strides to support minority communities. For Lunar New Year, we painted the twelve chinese zodiacs and hosted a Refresh session to celebrate the event. That active energy is expected to carry through to this as well.
In my AP Comparative Government class, we do not study America in our curriculum. However, we do study places like Nigeria and the UK, so it would be interesting and relevant to study black history in those countries, for example.
I would also like to encourage the administration to celebrate Black History Month as well. So far, they have put up posters on the walls highlighting underrated yet important, black figures, but I would like to see more, such as announcements in the morning with interesting facts or even school-wide events.
Overall, there is recognition of Black History Month, but not many on the school staff are embracing it and teaching about it.