Black History Month, what is it exactly?
Sometime last week, a video message from TheRoot.com graced my Facebook Newsfeed. With the intriguing title, “Afro-Latino History is Black History“, I had to read further. I wanted to know the reasons behind the author’s assertions. I mean, black history, [location specific] has always been about the history and celebration of a specific group of people within a specific location. Therefore, what could the author mean that “Afro-Latino History is Black History”?
Could she mean that she wanted acknowledgement of Afro-Latinos in Latin American Countries?
Did she desire to begin a Black Latino History Month?
Upon delving into the videos’ slides and the subsequent commentary, a spirited discussion with commentary from the author followed.
The author of this piece, Juliana Pache, describes herself as an Afro-Latino. Pache asserts that black-Latinos deserve a place within the culture and study of black people in North America, specifically the United States, in addition to the inclusion of Afro-Latinos during Black History Month. She stated that she felt frustrated with the lack of representation of black Latinos during Black History Month which compelled her to developed #BlackLatinXHistory.
My initial response,
Black History Month was initially about Black Americans. Secondly, let’s be honest, when many Afro-Latinas come to the US, they do not identify with black Americans and often distance themselves as such. She needs to be honest with herself.
I hold steadfast to my initial response and the those that followed.
Why is Pache targeting Black History Month when culture, not race, dominates in Latin Communities?
Why didn’t Pache position her assertions within Hispanic History Month?
Further, I pondered, couldn’t this author best fit her will to celebrate the culture and bring awareness to black people in Latin Communities by aligning with the African Diaspora or Pan-African Movement, and then creating a unique period of celebration?
In general, I agree with Pache, people need to understand that slavery was a tragic and broad part of history that inhumanly transported people of African ancestry worldwide. Communities of people with African ancestry are evident in hundreds of countries across the globe.
Black Sri Lankans
Latin America received a significant number of slaves and this is often unmentioned in world history.
the question still remains, why did Pache target Black History Month?
…as in Carter G. Woodson’s Black History Month.
Pache, in my opinion, like many others, targeted black Americans because we are one of the most accepting group of people in the world. With that, we are easy targets for culture vultures and appropriation. I, along with many others, are completely in disagreement that Black History Month should include Black Latino History. As I stated on theRoot.com’s FB Post, Black History Month [American] is about a specific group of people, black people, in a specific location, the United States of America.
The retort that Pache offered in response to my statement was that black people of all cultures should be celebrated during Black History Month.
…and to that I offered
Exclusivity of Black History Month, per location, allows for a keen focus on history within that area, whether it’s America or another country. Adding additional elements runs the certain risk of “white-washing” targeted history. By adding additional elements broadens the net and cheapens the catch.
Perhaps Pache could involve herself in additional soul searching and carve a specific place for Afr0-Latino History, but Black History Month isn’t it.
My offerings to her and the Black Latino Community include developing a new, untapped timeframe that would allow for the specific focus on the history, culture, and people with African ancestry within various Latin American regions. Not only could education of the masses occur regarding location, geography, key people, and heritage, a movement and further stimuli for culture appreciation begins without attachment to established coattails.
If that’s too much of a challenge, below are a few areas in which Afro-Latino History fits more appropriately.
- African Diaspora
The African Diaspora refers to the specific movement of people with African ancestry as they moved, unwillingly or willingly, throughout the world. It speaks specifically about movements to the Americas, Europe, and the Middle East.
2. Pan African Movement
The solidarity of African people and those with African ancestry throughout the world.
Within that post, many agreed to disagree and my position remains that Black History Month is about a specific group of people in a specific location. For the purposes of this response, Black American History is about Black American People.