A Wishlist for Black History Month

So another Black History Month is ending, and I’m not sure we, as black people, are any wiser.

I have a wish list that I hope we can accomplish by next year’s Black History Month.

1. I wish that we as black adults would apologize to our children for somehow leaving them the impression that we have arrived.

2. I wish that we as black adults would take responsibility for teaching our children their history, and not leave it to white educators. Yes, schools have their place, but do your job, too.

For instance, let your kids know what the “N” word has really meant so they think before they use it.

3. I wish we could truly understand how coupling education with property taxes cripples our children. When our communities don’t have a strong property base, our kids suffer.

4. I wish that rappers, entertainers and athletes with money would begin investing in our children’s education.

5. I wish our school choirs and choruses would inject one or two African-American songs in their repertoire, not just the same tired Negro spirituals. It just might encourage kids to join and parents to attend, seeing themselves honored and represented.

6. I wish I could open my phone book (remember what that is?) and find a black mechanic, painter, plumber, electrician, truck driver. That would help my kids and yours have more role models to choose from.

7. I wish we could find more rounded stories of our history to recreate in the form of a movie. There must be other stories about us that Hollywood could find.

8. I wish our young people wouldn’t have to fear for their lives just because they’re black and because some whites view that as so threatening. See Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis.

9. I wish the depictions of my Savior looked a bit more like me. It would help to give him a little dark tan and rounded nose.

10. I wish we would stop parading ourselves around every February to receive a paternalistic pat on the back. Enough placating!
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Algernon Felice is a cultural counseling psychologist, researcher, teacher, consultant, writer and storyteller. He specializes in student retention and success at both the K-12 and higher education levels. He blogs at www.diversitycontact.wordpress.com, and he can be reached at pmproj@progressive.org.
Copyright Algernon Felice.

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