Feeling “Meh” About Black History Month

If it’s just performative, then what’s the point?

Hello friends,

Black History Month (BHM) is here again. If you’re in the US, you’re probably thinking “didn’t we already have that back in February”? Yes, you did, but in the UK, BHM is observed in October.

In the past, I’ve made the most of the month wherever I happened to be living, but as October 1 rolled round, I found myself strangely flat about it all, which is pretty much how I felt in February too.

I get that a month of focus and celebration is better than nothing, and I enjoy the expanded opportunities to see people who look like me featured in what are usually very white spaces. But I’ve seen the dance before, so forgive me for being less than impressed.

As I said earlier this year in "Four things you should know before the next Black History Month", celebrating Black History Month only means something if you really value Black people and so far, I’m not seeing a lot of evidence of that, are you?

In that article I pointed out that:

  1. A month isn't nearly enough

  2. All history is Black history

  3. There's more to BHM than MLK (and please stop misquoting and misrepresenting him)

  4. I’m saying a hard NO to performativity (which is why so many companies “celebrating” Black history get serious side-eye from me).

Speaking of corporate and organizational performativity, here’s how it usually goes:

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