I hate Black History Month. I know; that's an inflammatory thing for a Black person to say, but it's true. I hate it. Why? Because it's so damned artificial and encourages a culture of grievance among Blacks.
Black History Month (BHM) was started by Dr. Carter G. Woodson for the positive and innocuous reason of educating Americans about the contribution of Blacks to this nation. That's great. But as a child I noticed that all I ever learned about Black Americans during BHM was how oppressed they were. In school and on tv everything centered on the Black struggle to overcome. There was very little teaching about Blacks' actual accomplishments except for the obligatory mentioning of George Washington Carver and Harriet Tubman, the only Blacks who seemed to do something besides struggle to overcome.
And then, after weeks of being practically force fed stories of struggle and hardship--poof!--it was over. March first came and with it a return to "real" history which didn't include an obsession with Blacks. All during February I learned how evil segregation was but once February was over the school went right back to intellectual segregation. This is why I feel that Black History Month is artificial and encourages Blacks to have a perpetual chip on their shoulders.
If Blacks are full Americans and contributed to the development of this country the same as Whites, then their history should be taught the way it actually happened: as an integral part of American history. There should be no instructional apartheid, with a month for Blacks, another for women, yet another for Hispanics, and so forth. And what children learn about Blacks--and other minorities--should highlight their successes and accomplishments as much as their oppression. Children should be taught, for instance, that most Black families were intact, two parent households even at the height of segregation and racism. Therefore, Whites are not to blame for the current disintergration of the Black family.
Absolving Whites of responsibility for the individual and communal ills of Blacks won't be a popular move. Many Blacks like the sainthood that comes with being perpetual victims of Whites. And a lot of Whites take a masochist delight in doing never ending and totally unnecessary penance for the sins of their ancestors. So intergrating Black history into American history and scrapping Black History Month is sure to meet with strong resistance. But that's the only way to underscore both the progress Blacks have made in modern America and the achievements they made in spite of the racism of the past. The American Dream was and is reachable by Blacks who work for it. Understanding that is what learning Black history should really be about.