Every Day in America is Black History Month
In February, we are told it is Black History Month. A holiday which isn’t a holiday, celebrating a people who are a people everywhere but here. In the Diaspora, we don’t celebrate Black History. We celebrate Black Misery. Black Pain. Black Suffering. With a smattering of accomplishment and history mixed in to mitigate the taste of our continued subjugation.
Why so harsh? Because if America were really about anything significant, it would celebrate Blackness, every day, all day, since they haven’t had the decency to pay us that 40 acres and a mule they promised back in the day. They could at least treat us decently, promoting the idea we would be celebrated for our efforts, even if we aren’t acknowledged in any other way.
We did, after all, Make America Great, am I right? No, wait, don’t turn away. We DID make America great. Without us, America would be just another broke-ass first world country without elevators, streetlights, brooms, combs, telephones, cotton gins and a fuck-ton of free labor lasting well over two hundred years (1619 to 1863, give or take).
There is no economic incentive program that can equal free labor. Let alone free labor for at least four Human generations.
Anyway, the children of the Diaspora are allowed to celebrate our accomplishments and display them with pride before a nation that is only too happy to appropriate from us whatever it wants and give us nothing in return.
As it has always been. When Black Apologists say the past is the past and we should get over it, I hang my head in shame for their ignorance. It is clear that such people are given a pulpit to speak because it promotes the ideals so necessary for the system of disenfranchisement we live under to continue.
We can accept that stupid people will say stupid things and move on, or we can stand up and fight for what we know to be right.
Nothing that happened in America should be forgotten. The near-genocide of the Native Americans, the enslavement of Africans, the decimation of new immigrants and ultimately the financial enslavement of an entire planet.
This is why we must never forget the indignities of the past. They are a persistent illusion perpetuated for profit. A canker that disfigures and stigmatizes the efforts of People of Color in America, acting as if our efforts were never meant to do any more than serve those who perceived themselves to be our betters.
Though they were not able to maintain their control over slavery, they have allowed it to be redesigned, re-purposed and hidden in plain sight in the modern era. They call it Jim Crow, Segregation, Separate but Equal, Economic Redlining, the School-to-Prison Pipeline, the Prison-Industrial Complex, the War on Drugs, and their latest addition, Sanctioned Police Brutality and Murder of People of Color in the Line of Duty (now with added vacation time!).
Today the chains are softer, internalized, and often self-perpetuated. Housewives of Atlanta, Self-Hating Rap Music, Celebrity and Sports obsessions, and a good-old-boy America standby, Religion and all of its various self-loathing aphorisms. Religion is the opiate of the masses, designed to make people peaceful in the face of terrible oppression, designed to make them hanker for the afterlife while tolerating rape and murder in the present one.
Bully for religion and its subtle but effective indoctrination, making unwilling slaves into more willing participants in a destructive religion requiring the self sacrifice of its adherents.
Today, the game has changed but the underlying message is still the same. You can’t compete. We won’t let you. We don’t say no. We just don’t say yes, either.
Leaving you to twist in the wind, wonder where you stand, whether you will be employed tomorrow, whether you will have to fend off sexual harassment at work, the microagressions we have to tolerate in order to be in the workplace, the fake-ass smiles, the angry congratulations on our subordinates becoming our bosses, the continued degradation of our self-esteem, for which there is no cure except to leave work and never return.
Which, thanks to the fine engine of patriarchy, no Black person can do without becoming completely unmoored from society at large. No job? No problem. Unless you like food. Or running water. Or toilets. Or having a roof over your head. Because this is the not choice we make every day.
Put up with the racist, supremacist, bigoted, misogyny of White society or starve to death in the shadows of the wealthiest nation on the planet. Ironically, even if you are willing to bend your knee to our corporate masters, you will never truly sit at the table unless you cast down your culture and refute your identity. To get ahead, you have to marry White, move away from your people, don’t past down your wealth, disavow your past.
Yes, I know there are lots of famous Black people. The media won’t let you forget them. But you know what it doesn’t show you? How it impoverishes all of the people who don’t show up on camera every day, the millions who are undereducated, living in squaller, forced into the choice of stealing to eat, working in the shadow economy, and expecting sooner or later to meet the working end of a gun, either held by a criminal like yourself, or one of the blue-suited, badge-wearing, gun-toting sanctioned murderers who call themselves protecting and serving White American interests, when they aren’t out terrorizing and murdering Black citizens. (Oh wait, that’s in White American interests as well…)
As far as the Hegemony is concerned all we have to do is wear our chains, and know our place (at the back of the line).
I have no use for Black History Month. You cannot give me what I have already earned.
I am the dream of America.
I am its awful reality. I cannot be broken and I will not relent. You cannot pretend I don’t exist. Change the media, warp the minds, create your lies, all of this lies within your control.
The truth is far simpler than you would care to believe.
For all of your power, all of your cleverness, the only thing you have proven to be superior in is keeping all of humanity in chains to whims better forgotten.
Promoting selfishness as a virtue is foolish. Promoting division among people to maintain your control is wasteful. How many lives have been thrown away furthering an agenda that benefits only a privileged few?
Billions, I’d imagine.
In a few decades, your reign of state-sanctioned, white-mandated terror will be over. You will huddle in your walled enclaves and believe in your superiority while you count your worthless billions and hope no one scales the wall to make you pay for your generations of criminal activity.
In the meantime remember this: I will not be stopped. Not now. Not ever. Keep Black History Month for yourselves. I claim the YEAR, all three hundred and sixty five and a quarter days of it to reminding you WE ARE STILL HERE.
Stronger than you can imagine. More fiercely determined to make our way. And to be honest, we’re just not that into you. Never were.
‘Every Day in America is Black History Month’ © Thaddeus Howze, 2015, 2018, All Rights Reserved
“Say ‘reverse racism’ one more motherfucking time. I dare you…”
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He is also the Cognitive Dissident, living in desolation, a disillusioned, and despondent essayist who has lost all hope in the improvement of the human species. But, somehow, despite it all, he still remains defiantly hopeful humanity may still escape the Sword of Damocles.
He is also a freelance journalist for Polygon.com and Panel & Frame magazine. Thaddeus is the co-founder of Futura Science Fiction Magazine and one of the founding members of the Afrosurreal Writers Workshop in Oakland.