Since we are in the midst of Black History Month, I thought it might be a good time to remember the words of actor Morgan Freeman on the subject and then suggest an equally offensive alternative.
The definitive statement on Black History Month was uttered by Morgan Freeman in an interview with Mike Wallace on the CBS news magazine “60 Minutes”. In the video, Morgan asks Mike why blacks should be singled out for this distinction. Why should black history be relegated to a month? Isn’t black history American history?
In another hat tip to Jonathan Swift, I have a modest proposal to present: an alternative to Black History Month, namely White History Month. But this is a very special view of White History. I propose that each February, every day one of 28 illustrious examples of White History be taught in schools complete with after school TV specials and NBC “The more you know” TV ads. Here would be some examples:
- 1619 First Africans to be kidnapped and sold into indentured servitude by white people.
- 1705 Slavery formally legislated in Virginia by white people.
- 1865 White supremacist group, the Ku Klux Klan is formed.
- 1896 All white Supreme Court rules that segregation is cool in Plessy v. Ferguson.
- 1963 White Alabama Governor George Wallace stands at the entrance to the University of Alabama to block admission of two black students.
- 1968 White fella James Earl Ray kills nonviolent civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
And the list goes on. Then as a special treat, every four years on February 29 we celebrate white achievements in film and TV such as the white writers who created such characters as Amos and Andy, Stepin Fetchit, Buckwheat and Fred Sanford.
The greatest benefit of this celebration of white history is that no longer do we need to have conservatives label blacks and liberal whites “race baiters” who “play the race card”. All that pent-up grievance-based anger can be vented in one month instead of being spread across the year. Then for the other eleven months we can just treat people as people and forget about race. We can use February to get it out of our system.
Well, I don’t suppose this solution is what Morgan Freeman had in mind either. Perhaps the time has come for African-Americans and Polish-Americans and Italian-Americans to drop the longing for the homeland and just become Americans. Regardless of how we got here, we’re all stuck here together and we’ve got big problems to solve.
The history of the melting pot includes us all. Every month that inclusive history should be taught and either celebrated or used as an object lesson for what to avoid in the future.