Black History Month, a moment of serious reflection

1st October 2009: October is here and as usual, we have a chance of celebrating the Black History Month. This is a moment not only of celebration, but also of reflection on who we are, where we come from and where we are heading to.

An important way of celebrating the Black History Month is by searching for more information about our history, our cultures and traditions, especially those which until recently, were considered primitive by those who wanted us to totally discard our history and cultures, while at the same time making every effort to make us believe that the “white culture” was superior. For a long time Blacks were brainwashed, made to aspire to be white.

During Black History Month, it is important to reflect on the sufferings, injustices Black people experienced and in some way, continue to experience, simply for being black.

This is a special moment to promote knowledge of the Black History. It is also a moment to discover and share information about the positive contributions so far made by Blacks not only to the British society, but to the whole world.

The Black History Month is also a moment to celebrate ourselves, celebrate our being Black, and to be proud it. There are so many Blacks who are still struggling to convince themselves that it is fine to be black. This shows how effective brainwashing was in making many Blacks hate their being black.

Explaining the importance of Black History Month in the, Diane Abbott, MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington wrote: “My knowledge of black history has come through reading widely in my spare time. I do know that nowadays there is a little more black history taught in schools than when I was a child. But it is still not enough. Black History Month fills that gap. It is important for black people. But it is even more important for white people. Mutual respect means that we must know each other’s history.”

MP Abbott is right. Black History Month is not only for the Blacks. It is a moment for the white people to also reflect on the society’s history, to see how certain attitudes led to wrong decisions and actions which subjected so many people to immense suffering and even death. This has nothing to do with provoking a sense of guilt, but it becomes more useful if such a reflection leads to a resolution to prevent similar mistakes from happening again.

Black History Month is a time to celebrate diversity, fight racism and build a prejudice free society where all can become what they want regardless of their skin colour, religion, political views. And as we celebrate the past achievements of our heroes, we should not forget that we have a chance of being heroes for the present and future generations. We should therefore think of concrete steps to take towards increasing our exceptional contributions to the society.

Let’s all enjoy Black History Month!

By Stephen Ogongo Ongong’a