Black History Month – Colored Entrance
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Feb 6, 2014
It’s Black History Month once more, and I’m late into the month before writing anything about it. Truthfully, I wasn’t sure I wanted to start the month with a post on the subject as I did last year when I listed all my previous posts on the subject while writing anew on the topic, but in retrospect it was a very short post for the shortest month of the year and I didn’t feel I did justice to it all.
It also closely follows a post I did on 10 ways diversity improves our lives, although that one covered lots more bases than just for black people, that a part of me felt that maybe it might be too much for any established readers of this blog.
Why? Because when all is said and done, I know that none of the blogs I write are seen by all that many black people, even when I’ve geared posts towards them. For that matter, I doubt many other minorities read these posts either; they certainly don’t comment if they do.
Truth be told, I actually understand the reasoning for that, and it’s depressing. While someone like me still tries to find ways for all peoples of the world to at least come to the table, find out how we feel about each other and work towards solutions, there’s a high percentage of black people, young, who don’t think there’s any problem at all, even though the signs are right there in front of them. And folks even just 10 years younger than me or 7 years older than me, strangely enough, want me to be silent on the subject also, thinking that all it does is agitate people. It reminds me of a segment of a Wanda Sykes performance where she quotes her mother in saying “Stop that, white people are looking at you.”
Actually, it’s kind of an interesting life when you’re a black person, and it’s possibly the same for other minorities. I seem to go back and forth between being treated like an invisible man to having people watching me while I walk around, waiting to see if I’m going to take something or embarrass them in some way by my being there. I’ve dropped out of a couple of local organizations for the first reason and not gone back to a couple of stores for the second. Goodness, even in a predominantly black city like where I happen to be at the present moment engenders these reactions from white people and, oddly enough, from black people, although for the most part across the country black people give each other the nod of acknowledgment or what I like to call the cerebral “dap“.
I was alive during the period of what you see above, and my mother hated that time period while my dad pretty much ignored it, being from the north. These days it’s not as blatant and very much more exclusive. There are 6 black CEOs on the Fortune 500 list right now, and that makes 13 total since the first CEO, Franklin Raines in 1999. And so you know, Oprah isn’t on this list because her company isn’t publicly traded; thought I should mention that. In the city I’m presently consulting in, which is 61% black and has over 600,000 residents, the mayor is black but the top black CEO in town is over a company of only 300 people; with all the corporations in this town that’s a telling statistic.
Some years ago I asked if there was any real reason for having a Black History Month anymore because it seemed like people care less and less about it. I’ve come to believe there is, although it’s probably not for everybody.
It’s definitely for the young people who see President Obama and think we’ve overcome.
It’s for the young people who don’t know that there has been significant black presence and participation in making this country what it is, or was.
It’s a great time to highlight black people who have succeeded locally, nationally and internationally.
It’s a good time to show that history really is about more than Europeans, World War II, and the slaughtering of native Americans… oops, I mean the brave men who conquered the elements in expanding the United States into what it is now.
In other words, it’s a great time to talk about what the colored entrance meant, what it means now, and how maybe it can be overcome by more people who care to make themselves and this country great, or greater. I’ll leave that definition to someone else. In any case, we’re not going back to “separate but equal“, which was a misnomer anyway, so we might as well forge ahead and work with each other, and everyone else of course, and succeed.
There’s my contribution to Black History Month. I’m not promising it’ll be my last word on the subject for the month.