So is Native American Heritage Month, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and National Hispanic Heritage Month! If you’ve ever even heard of the latter…
Actress, Stacey Dash, recently sent ethnic social media into an uproar when she voiced her outrage on Fox and Friends concerning a multitude of issues related to black culture. The Fox News contributor called out director Spike Lee and actress Jada Pinkett-Smith for their recent decision to boycott this year’s Academy Awards for its all-white lead nominations. “We have to make up our minds. Either we want segregation or integration,” Dash proclaimed, further mentioning her disagreement with the implementation of racially exclusive media like BET, the BET Awards and the NAACP Image Awards. “There shouldn’t be a Black History Month, you know? We’re Americans, period,” the Clueless film and TV series starlet affirmed. “There are not very many roles for people of color. How can that be? And why is it just now being addressed?”
Shortly after Dash’s opinion went public, twitter became unhinged. “Stacey Dash” became a top trending topic on the social network and tweets negating her views amassed almost instantaneously. Stacey Dash was officially under attack. And mostly from people of color like herself. And why? Because she thinks her race should choose inclusion? Is there really something wrong with that? Apparently, according to the bulk of urban culture. According to me? I couldn’t disagree more. I kind of have to agree with Stacey.
I remember thoroughly appreciating Black History Month as a growing adult. I would see commercials on television that spoke of all of the accomplishments of popular black historical figures. In school, we would spend the bulk of the month learning about honorable black patriots and the way they particularly impacted American culture. I found it all to be very inspiring. At the same time, I remember being in class and hearing my non-black peers question why their own race didn’t have ‘a special month?’ Then it dawned on me. We’re all American. In essence, Black History Month kind of loses sight of what America is all about. Our country is supposed to be a melting pot, a culmination of different cultures. Why should any one race be given special attention over the others? Black History is American history. Instead of being consolidated into the shortest month of the year, it should be spread out and taught annually like the rest of our country’s history lessons.
Yes, blacks will challenge this notion because they feel entitled to special recognition as compensation for the wrongdoings towards their ancestors who faced centuries of adversity in America. As if the Irish, Jewish, Indigenous, and Korean races didn’t also experience slavery and segregation in their own cultural history! Racially provoked police brutality happening in modern day America only perpetuates these feelings. But to combat important issues like this with segregation in the form of heritage pride months and separatist race-fronted movements (like #BlackLivesMatter), how are we to really open ourselves up for true equality? What type of message are people of color sending when they complain about the exclusion of their films and artists in Academy Award nominations, but have award shows of their own that are known to typically exclude other races? What sense does that make and can you see why these inconsistencies might lead others to not agree with the conveniently timed actions of Lee and Smith? And what about every other breed of human in America? Yes, there’s a slew of other heritage pride months. But why does Black History Month seem to be particularly more publicized than the others? Why do we even need heritage pride months at all, at this point?
In a different era, a ‘special month’ for various heritages made sense. These celebrations would remind a predominately Anglo society that there are culturally different historical pioneers to remember. But it’s 2016 and I’m now the grown adult I once wasn’t. In a world that now embraces hip-hop culture, gay marriage, transgender reality stars and straight black men wearing womenswear, it’s safe to say that an imposition of cultural celebration is unnecessary in a society that already has been embraced to the point of naturally inciting pop culture dominance.
Every race currently seems to be shining in their own way and changing the way things once were. It’s happening naturally. All I’m really saying is that it doesn’t need to be forced. The bullying of those with different opinions isn’t practicing real tolerance and identity politics is a rhetoric that needs to be silenced. True equality can never be reached by organized subtraction. The proof is in the reality because protest doesn’t seem to be making the same impact as simply accomplishing something people can be proud of you for. Stacey Dash has a point and it’s her American right to do so.