As we enter a new month, from a tumultuous Black History Month, I could not help but to remember the reason why it began in the first place.
People of African descent, all over the world, were stripped of their knowledge of self, dignity and control of their image, by the oppressive system created by white supremacy; which stems from European dominance of the “new world.”
The late professor John Henrik Clarke once said, “When you read the history books, the assumption is that the coming of the Europeans was the bringing of the light, and yet everywhere he went in the world he put out the light.”
While one may argue that there is no need for a white history month because the industries of the world are predominantly white, I make the case for it because of the lack of understanding white people have of their origins and history. Many white people do not see the correlation or relationship of “white advancement,” be it in science, business or arts, or the enslavement and colonization of the world.
Although many whites are socially relegated due to class or nationality, they are still empowered over any melanated person, because of that whiteness. That whiteness has served as a badge of privilege.
As comedian Paul Mooney has often said, “Complexion for the protection, for the collection.”
Poor and underserved whites were taught to believe that they were better off and more significant than the brightest or wealthiest black person. They have been privileged to receiving better jobs, housing, health care, financing and education, which are fundamental elements in building a community and wealth. The problem however is that many white people are unaware of those facts. They make no emphasis of studying their origin, cultural heritage or journey unlike black people because to them the world began white.
However, a large reality check needs to be served to white society about facts such as the Greek philosophers we all learn about. Those Greek philosophers would not exist had it not been for the African institutions and philosophers that preceded them thousands of years before.
Their history of the crusades and dark ages that almost led to the total collapse of all Europe, but saved by Arabs and Africans (Moors) who colonized and educated them. There is also the fact that arts, science, geography, medicine, agriculture and other forms of human progression did not originate in Europe but in Africa.
With a deeper knowledge and understanding of the uncivilized and conflicted beginnings Europeans overcame, it will challenge and dismantle the superiority sentiment and racist rhetoric spewed by not just hate groups, but even liberal media.
This only proves that ignorance is not bliss, and must be combatted. A concentrated effort in understanding the historical relation of whites to the world and to themselves can hopefully lead to appreciation of other cultures, sensitivity to the trials of many nations and understanding of the need for diversity and opportunities for people of color globally.