February is coming to a close, as is Black History Month. Each year, this recognition of accomplishments never goes without some dissent regarding the minority focus. This year, the opposition came from a cousin of mine in the form of a Facebook meme and one comment supporting his view. The meme read, “I forgot, when is White History Month?” and a commenter’s response of “HA!! That’d be too racist!”
The posed question is facetious and rhetorical. It is aimed to be a satirical representation of these ideologues’ opinion that Black History Month is in some way unfair to them and unnecessary, due to the absence of a similar observance for white people: the majority.
The commenter believes they are being intellectually sarcastic by saying it would be racist and thereby mocking those who feel this is true. They think they are illustrating hypocrisy in society, or a double standard for these two races. However, there are many issues with this way of thinking.
To respond to this misinformed post, I will address it as if the question was genuine.
There was one other comment to this Facebook post, and it truly begins the conversation of why we don’t have a White History Month. The person wrote “every day of the year.” White history is celebrated significantly more than that of its minority counterparts. It’s more frequently read in books and textbooks, print and digital media, heard in songs and other forms of creative expression.
White history is not dedicated a specific month because it’s not underrepresented. Minority history is marginalized and significantly less represented in entertainment, education and many other realms therefore this month is dedicated to remedy some of that under-recognition.
Recognition during this month is not special, extra attention. It is not racist. It is attempting to alleviate one aspect of the equality gap for one minority group. It would, in fact, be racist to have a White History Month when white history already dominates nearly all fields of society. If this annual observance were to exist, it would shift even more focus to the dominant group from the minorities and further contribute to racial inequality.
So, I guess the better question is not why don’t we have a White History Month, but why is the history of minorities being so underrepresented?
We celebrate white history every day of the year, yet some white individuals are upset with this designated month to shed light on African American accomplishments that are often overlooked. This issue goes back to the same root of why some people advocate All Lives Matter in protest against Black Lives Matter.
These protesters fail to recognize that saying black lives have significance does not mean other lives don’t matter. This movement is trying to equalize that importance. They aren’t pushing that black lives matter more, but that they matter too and should be represented. This is reflective of the same basis of why Black History Month exists: to recognize the significance in depreciated historical achievements.