The staff editorial is the majority opinion of The Murray State News Editorial Board.
All but one member of The Murray State News’ editorial board, are white. One of our assistant editors is from Belize and we have several black staff writers, but other than that, a majority of the people who work at The News are white.
That being said, we recognize and are now seeking to advocate the significance of Black History Month.
Otherwise known as National African American History month, this is a celebration of black people and the progress they’ve made in U.S. history that not only improved their lives, but ultimately the strength and equality of our country.
This isn’t a month for black people; it’s a month for the commemoration of their hard work to advance in a society that continues to hinder them.
This isn’t about any sense of guilt or obligation – we’re not trying to make up for or overcompensate for the lack of minorities on our staff. This is about the simple fact that Black History Month is not only important, but necessary.
Take any history class, whether it be in a public or private school, and the topics covered on black people and the “black narrative” are typically on the basics: slavery, the civil rights movement, etc. President Barack Obama will now be in that mix.
In general English classes, Langston Hughes, Toni Morrison and Zora Neale Hurston might be on the reading list, but that’s usually about it.
Now when people rise up in the ranks of education and get to college, there are more opportunities to learn more about black history and read more things by black authors. At Murray State, for example, there are classes like Survey of African-American Literature, Intro to Gender and Diversity Studies, Modern Africa and Philosophy of Diversity.
But that’s just it: it’s 2016, we’re in college and specific classes need to be established in order for students to learn about black history and diversity.
Black History Month needed to be established for people to recognize and learn about an entire race’s efforts, milestones and key figureheads of national reform.
This time every year, there are ignorant arguments made in favor of a White History Month, a White Entertainment Television (WET) network and a White Student Council.
This time every year we do a lot of eye-rolling and deep sighing.
There isn’t a White History Month because the United States education system has that covered pretty well already.
There isn’t White Entertainment Television because every major television network and Hollywood has that covered pretty well already, too.
According to Murray State’s website, the Black Student Council was “designed for African American Students and any other students that participate to cover issues on campus concerning them and the community to uplift all African Americans.”
These organizations, networks and months of recognition exist and come with disclaimers that they are “black” because the majority constantly places minorities in a box – a box that will be forgotten in the moving process if it’s not labeled. We’ll put it in the attic and dust it off once a year when we need it or when it’s convenient for us.
But as we tell ourselves we’re moving, and that we’re moving forward, are we moving forward in the right direction?
Until education as a whole is modified and changed, Black History Month is an imperative stepping stone toward a more inclusive understanding of American history.