Why Does Everything Have to be About Race?
Updated: May 9
Conversations about history, and race has increase over the last couple of years, and "Why does everything have to be about race?" is a comment I have seen a lot. Especially during Black History Month (BHM), and it bothers me. Racially marginalized people who bring up the topic of racism are often labeled as too sensitive, too divisive, or playing the "race card." African Americans have been marginalized throughout American history, and our stories have been omitted from history books. Our positive contributions to society have been erased. Still, stories that paint African-Americans negatively or less than ideal are discussed.
Now, we get one 28-day window every 365 days to highlight black history, our perspective, and our accomplishments. It provides us the spotlight to educate our race and others. Black History Month is no different from Jewish American History Month (May), Italian Heritage Month (October), or Irish Heritage Month (March). However, when African Americans use February as a time to celebrate and educate individuals about the accomplishments of African Americans, many see it as too much talk about race, too pushy, bringing America backward.
The goal is to have black history a part of mainstream education, so it does not have to be reduced to a month celebration. Nevertheless, when people like Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis eliminates Critical Race Theory (CRT) and DEI from the state curriculum, we must take every opportunity to ensure history, as it happend, is taught instead of how it was written. Another example of this is Columbus Day. Christoper Colombus did not discover America. Furthermore, he never stepped foot on North American soil. History books will tell you otherwise, but now that Americans are informed about the truth, changes have been made to policy and education curriculum.
My soul burns when I see African-Americans entertain the "Why does everything have to be about race" comment with "because that is what the media always talks about." Isn't that the point? Use the vessel with the most significant reach to educate the public on the accomplishments and contributions of African Americans to society. People, especially our heroes, need to stop suppressing their stories for the comfort of others. Let it burn so we ALL can learn! Learning about our true history has given me a realistic picture of who I am, what this country is, and what the world is.
There are omitted facts. Wendell Scott did win his race in 1963, making him the first African-American to win a NASCAR event. However, it took 27 years for NASCAR to note the victory and another 28 years to award a trophy. That is fifty-five years to correct and honor a race results because the world did not want to see a black man in a winner circle with a white woman. FACTS in history are omitted due to the light it puts a particular race in. We are not pointing fingers at people of today for issues of the past; we are merely acknowledging facts and correcting the narrative.
This country will only truly change once we have honest conversations about race & its historical value. We must learn from the past to improve the future. We must discuss history in its actual context to move forward in any subject. Businesses discuss historical data to move forward and avoid making the same mistakes of the past. It does not matter who made the mistakes; it is not a finger-pointing session; it is just accurate data to learn from. They discuss the good and the bad, but when it comes to race matters, it is suddenly a tough pill to swallow.
So when you hear "first black this" or "first black that," it is because these moments are being highlighted to bring awareness and be celebrated, not to make any other race feel marginalized. We now have platforms that allow us to tell our history without being suppressed by the media. Ironically, mainstream media is now picking up these stories because they ARE newsworthy. This subject matter has additional layers id love to peel back, but I will save those for another day.
We will always have conversations about race; it is necessary. Talking about race is not a bad thing. These discussions bring in new information, new ideas, uncover truths, and promotes critical thinking, allowing people to view differences objectively.