Today as Black History Month is coming to an end once again, I am musing about this practice of months.
They are meant to help raise awareness, which is good.
They often result in reducing awareness for the rest of the year, which is not good. I’ll remind you in July to look for Black-led and casted productions, Black exhibits, book launches by Black author, etc.
When we have a month, we tend to fit everything related to that month into those 28-31 days, and then go about our “regular” business for the rest of the year. And some groups only have a day (hello International Women’s Day on March 6thand National Indigenous Heritage Day on June 21st).
Which brings me to today’s point.
Identity is year-round
When you’re Black, Black history and heritage IS your regular business. Same goes for any other group that gets a month or a day.
These days are important to highlight issues, history, accomplishments etc. of groups that typically are pushed to the margins, and have been historically disadvantaged by systems of whiteness and other dominant identities.
But if you’re Black, or Indigenous, or a woman, or South Asian, or Jewish, or have Mental Health issues (or any non-dominant group/intersection of non-dominant identities) when the day or month is done and people go back to their “regular scheduled programming”, our lives, struggle, realities, and needs remain. And our resilience keeps us going in contexts that continue to discount who we are.
Keep it on your radar
Awareness is good.
In my opinion, it’s part of the building blocks for inclusion.
And so we need to continue to ask questions, continue to be curious, continue to explore the fact that people can have vastly different experiences – every day, in big and small ways – because of their skin colour, gender, abilities, religion, etc.
Black History Month is over, but being Black continues.
If you’re Black, what do you do to keep up your resilience?
If you’re not Black, what are you doing to keep sharpening your awareness in order to help support a more equitable world?
(c) 2020 Annemarie Shrouder
PS – I’m co-creating a course around race. If this is of interest to you, please send me an email with “course on race” in the subject line, and I’ll put you on the list to let you know when it’s ready!