Why We Still Need Black History Month
Our recent Super Bowl featured two head coaches of African ancestry. It was noted and discussed by sports commentators and news media sources alike as "historic." Some people wondered why it had to be mentioned at all; was that not in itself racist? If the two had German or Italian roots in common, would that have been relevant?

That both heartens and worries me. It heartens me because people are starting to get beyond the race issue. It worries me because people are forgetting just how racist this country was, and still is in some people's hearts.

Nobody likes to admit this, but not too long ago people with lots of melanin in their skin were considered to be "too stupid" to be coaches or managers, or even quarterbacks for that matter. So, that these two men with dark skin were not only head coaches, but head coaches of the two most successful NFL teams around, is a big "in-your-face" to the racists. Hooray!

We can't forget that the legacy of racism haunts us still. Until recently, I followed the name "George Washinton Carver" with "invented peanut butter." I saw a documentary on PBS or the History Channel that opened my eyes to what a genius he really was, and the many awe-inspiring contributions he made. We need to know things like this. Why were his real accomplishments diminished in the eyes of history? Gee, I wonder.

I hate being lied to more than just about anything else. And racism is a big lie. If it weren't, I would say to people with African ancestors, "Gee, I'm really sorry if this hurts your feelings, but you're a little less able than the rest of us." But it's not true. Skin pigment does not affect people's development.

Poverty affects people. Being consistently belittled affects people. Being ripped from your homeland, forced to surrender any and all cultural touchstones you might have had, and being considered a farm animal affects people. In fact, things like that affect people so strongly that the successes and achievements of the many accomplished African Americans throughout history are proof that humans can overcome just about any adversity. It gives me hope for the future.

But whoever forgets his history is doomed to repeat it. That's why we need Black History Month; we're already starting to forget it.
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