Black History Month (Image courtesy of Pixabay)
Carson High School

Opinion: The Importance of Black History

Black History Month, also known as African American History Month, originally began as Negro History week in 1926. It took place during the second week of February due to it coinciding with the birth dates of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.

Black history is still important and should be taught to all students, not just African American students. Students are taught mathematics, science and American history because it is important. Black history, which focuses on the contributions that African Americans made in the past and continue to make, is just as important.

When students are taught not to respect or appreciate the fact that African Americans have always made significant contributions to society, the end result is insensitivity, distrust, and a disdain for treating other people, particularly African Americans and other students of color, as they should be treated.

It is not possible to live in America, or anywhere for that matter, without seeing incidents of racism. An individual can see incidents on the news when unarmed African Americans are shot and sometimes killed by police, while heavily-armed white Americans are permitted to go unbothered by state or federal police authorities.

It can be seen by the unequal treatment and consequences or sentencing from the justice system for people of color compared to white-privileged or racist Americans. It can be seen in high schools across the nation when high school students not of that ethnic background think it is cute or fun to say the “N word” or when African Americans are told that the reason they don’t get nominated for Oscars is because they don’t have the talent, ignoring the fact that their efforts are just not appreciated or acknowledged.

It is the job of schools to teach children both factually correct information and how to think for themselves. Black history is needed to give students both the correct facts about African Americans. Teaching black history in schools helps students who have little or no interaction with African Americans to develop an accurate understanding of African Americans in the U.S. and have the decency to respect how they’ve impacted and shaped society. Many African Americans were the nation’s inventors, economists, industrialists, scientists, etc., and before they were slaves, they were kings and queens in Africa.