Last night I had the unfortunate experience of watching Morgan Freeman spit on the memory of Carter G. Woodson by completely mis-characterizing the meaning and purpose of Black History Month. I have always enjoyed Morgan Freeman's work as an actor, including Driving Miss Daisy which many people hated him for doing, but I understood as a period piece.I recall Marvin Van-Peebles was asked a question about racism and he refused to answer the specific question because he felt there were other people who had spent more time on the eubject and could provide a better explanation than he could. I had to respect that answer because it showed a great deal of maturity and respect. It was mature because it showed a man who knew that he had every right to make a comment, but chose to cede that right to others because he realized the limits of his understanding and did not want to interfere with progress by soothing his ego and making his own statement that would no doubt be used to undermine other people. Secondly, he showed respect to people better qualified. It bothers me a great deal when people substitute thier own opinion for fact or opinion over the extensive work of others. It's not every time that "reserached" people are correct, but a lot of times they are.
So returning to Mr. Freeman. He told Mike Wallace that Blacks (I would say "we" but he feels that "we" shouldn't be identified as black) shouldn't have their history relegated to one month. "we" shouldn't be given a month" The comment, on it's face, seems logical. If indeed whites had "given" or "relegated" our history to a month, then I'd agree with Mr. Freeman. However; the fact of the matter is that Black History Month was a special celebration of Carter G. Woodson's famed Negro History Week. In other words, this was something created by us for us.Therefore, the asserion that "you relegate" makes little sense outside of that historical context. What Mr. Freeman should have pointed out is how whites now use black history month as an excuse to ignore black history the rest of the time. And lets be honest here. During black history month, so much of the same ol same ol is drug out by celebritiies who are so far removed from the movements that gave us Carter G Woodsons, that it is now a pale pale pale facad of it's original intention.
The other erroneus part of Freeman's statement is that black history is American history. It is not. a portion of black history is American history. Black History spans the Americas including the caribbean. It includes Afica as well (duh). Black history is WORLD history. When we divorce the history of blacks around the world from American-Black history, then we get a distorted view of the long journey of those called "black." Therefore it is unacceptible to me to have a math class that has a Pythagorian theurum when it was known where Pythagorus got his schooling and that the Khemtites were the originators of that mathemtical construct. You can talk about Charles Drew 'till your blue in the face, but I want every person around the world to recognize that Pythagorus is notbody. That needs to be fixed. That is but a single instance of the depth and breadth of the Black history problem. And it is why we will and should have black History Months, And Black History Journals, by us and For Us