john mcwhorter and glenn louryOh yeah, you heard me right. You can watch it for yourselves though you might need to take a shower afterwards. It’s on the front page of the website even.

John McWhorter of the New Republic says on NyTimes’ Bloggingheads.TV that he’s “beyond Black History Month” and that it’s so “1945 or 1975″. He claims that Americans of all colors roll their eyes at BHM. It’s a ritual and a gesture but not educational.

Glenn Loury of Brown University says he believes Black History Month is “kitsch”, “corny” and “anachronistic”.  I don’t know where they found these brothers or what they paid them to say this. I also don’t understand why you would host a conversation like this and not offer one voice in support of Black History Month. Unless you had an agenda in mind.

I guess someone at the Old Grey Lady figures that now that there’s some black history being made every minute in the White House that we don’t need a whole month for them uppity nigras no more. Everyone knows everything they need to know about black history according to McWhorter.

bloggingheads nytimes front page

McWhorter and Loury may be willing to throw Black History Month under the very bus where we once had to ride in the back. I couldn’t disagree more strongly and am, in fact, outraged by the suggestion. At a minimum, Black History Month is crucial for young people growing up to understand the contributions of a still-stigmatized population. Furthermore, the success of Black History Month has encouraged other people. Other ethnicities now have months dedicated to their histories here and I’ve appreciated learning more about the challenges and triumphs of Latinos, Native Americans and Asian Americans for example. There’s even Women’s History Month. And I’m not opposed to say, Irish-American History Month or Jewish-American History — there was a time in America when Irish immigrants and their descendants faced vicious discrimination and their strength and courage should be known to all Americans. I’d say these days, we probably could use Muslim-American History Month to tamp down on mounting oppression against that demographic.

How can McWhorter says that he doesn’t believe that America is post-racial and then say in the same breath that Black History Month should be tossed aside. The way that we will overcome prejudice in this nation is through greater tolerance, understanding and yes, even celebration of each other’s cultures and contributions. It’s how we become one nation, indivisible. It’s how kids can see that people just like them — or like their friend sitting next to them — have met incredible obstacles to success and rose above them to do and be great.

Finally Black History Month makes sure that we never forget. A nation that does not know its history is doomed to repeat it and let us never forget the injustice and heartbreak visited upon us. In a time when there are actually conservative leaders who publicly assert that the founding fathers fought against slavery(!) or that the Civil War wasn’t about slavery(!!) or that Jim Crow segregation “wasn’t that bad”(!!!) or that the first black President of the United States somehow isn’t a citizen (!!!!) — Black History Month is needed more than ever to ensure that history isn’t ahem, white-washed or swept under the rug. African-American and really American history is under direct attack by those who would seek to diminish our accomplishments for their own socio-political purposes.

The struggle and success of African-Americans and those who supported them has inspired the entire world. We still have a long way to go, however. Both the poverty and the unemployment rate for African-Americans is twice that of whites. One in three African American children now lives in families that have trouble providing for them.

Are McWhorter and Loury, two privileged black men, really suggesting that those kids don’t need Black History Month? It’s special that they found a couple of uppity nigras to push down on the uppity nigras, ain’t it? The NY Times thinks we’re that stupid.

What do you think? Are you as appalled and disgusted as I am at this attack on Black History Month?

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