Published: Thursday, February 28, 2013
Updated: Sunday, March 3, 2013 15:03
Welcome to Black History Month. The shortest month of the year, during which elementary and middle schools discuss the Million Man March (again), BART trains and buses display posters featuring the same three black activists from half a century ago, and weekend parties are held in the name of Martin Luther King, Jr. with no relevance whatsoever to black history or culture whatsoever.
I’ve always been flabbergasted by how black history in the eyes of mainstream media outlets and advertising ends at Malcolm X.
Initially I was willing to give the benefit of the doubt to writers of history books; after all, if it were easy to update textbooks with information as recent as two decades ago, production costs would surely be cheaper, and as we college students are well aware, this isn’t the case.
I’ve heard the argument that teaching black history during Black History Month is now irrelevant; that the first black president marks the complete and irreparable demise of American racism and inequality forever and ever. So why bother to differentiate black people from everyone else for an entire month? “Don’t we all bleed red?”
This is indeed an optimistic perspective, but if colorblindness is the new American way, why do white people operate an overwhelming majority of media outlets, often projecting such singular, homogenized views of our society?
The media have a hand in shaping us as a people. A nation that’s dared to boast of itself as a Land of Opportunity, there’s something to be said about our inequity of media representation for every culture.
Aubrie Johnson is a Tower staff writer. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.