reply to post by tom goose
Wow, after all of the other points made, here goes.
Perhaps Black History Month should not exist. Perhaps it is overstepping bounds, because at the end of the day, what is "Black"?
In order to understand what "Black" might be, we must examine what it is not: "White."
What is "White"? For some strange reason, a whole gaggle of European peoples who otherwise had despised each other or at best lived weary of
intermingling and intermarrying with each other, are all of a sudden plopped down in a new continent (two or three actually) and find themselves
closer based on the simplest thing known as skin color.
However, skin color was never good enough back in Europe, just as it is not good enough in East Asia or Africa. The US is not purely made of any one
group, but as the immigrant generations continue through time, more and more Italians and Poles and Irish and Germans and Spanish and French and
Scottish and Swedes are all shacking up. But that is not "white".
"White", like anything, only exists in opposition. It can only be explained by first explaining what it is not
. Without "Black" there would be
no "white" - as could be seen in Europe prior to and concurrent with European colonialism.
White is not an "ethnic" group. Black is. Black American, that is. "Black" as a people designator is ridiculous, because all ethnic groups belonging
to what we might call "Black" (by virtue of skin color alone) are many, just as the Europeans are many.
But when a school says it's "Black History Month", we have to remember that they are specifically referring to "Black Americans".
Black Americans are made up of mostly West African heritage, some Mozambican and Angolan mixed in, with a large portion of European ancestry and
Native American groups contributing to their lineage as well. Their culture reflects the syncretism, so does the way they speak. No word for "is" in
Black American English reflects no word for "is" in West African languages, also mirrored by no word for "is" in Haitian Creole. And to defend the
fact that there is no word for "is", Japanese, Russian, Arabic and Hebrew also do not have a word for "is".
(**By word for "is" I am talking about the "copula", where A = B: "That is my car. She is American. The concept is still existent in
these languages, just explained through other means than the simple word "is".)
The descendants of all these different ethnicities that were mixed by force, rape, coercion or free will are what we call "Black" in the US. They are
not the same as Black Africans (Sub-Saharan Africans) or the various African-descendant groups on the various Caribbean Islands. They are also not the
same as Black Brazilians, Colombians or Venezuelans. By virtue of European colonialism and Slavery, however, the Black peoples of the Americas do have
similarities that can be traced back to West African cultures, religions and languages.
In short, the reason there is no White History Month is because there is no such thing as "White" in the sense that you mean. There is no such
thing as "Black" in the term "Black History Month" except in how it refers to the history and lineage of the Black peoples of North America as a
less-than-ethnically-homogeneous group that exists somewhere on a continuum of ethnic and sociolinguistic heritage.
edit on 13-2-2011 by
Sphota because: clarity