By Owen Amadasu | Houston Junior Biology Major
The day I am writing this piece marks the first day of February, my favorite month. It’s the month I was born, the time of the most-watched broadcast of all time, the season of love for our family and friends, and a period of remembrance for those who lead us in spans of 4 years; but most importantly, it is Black History Month.
A month dedicated towards Black excellence, where we see and hear much about those who came before us and led a life of success in white spaces that many say we cannot or could not succeed in. We really thrived in environments that were against us — where we were silenced, beat and placed as inferior.
To me, Black history is a course about superheroes; and how saturated this month is with melanin brings me to tears, but those tears are bittersweet.
Bittersweet because the struggles of our ancestors are not disappearing, just becoming more covert. Bittersweet because they act like we do not struggle anymore. Bittersweet because they manipulate this month to being about white saviors, MLK and Gandhi. Bittersweet because it seems like we aren’t really being celebrated, but appeased.
There is so much we wrestle with on a day-to-day basis, where some days I feel like being Black equates to being mentally ill. I strain myself when fighting with my worth and to be completely honest, I lose those battles often.
I search for safe spaces and get met with opposition. I seek out those like me and I’m met by more in pain just like me. I know many of us feel the same and understand but to outsiders, we are playing the “victim card”.
They do not see our pain. They don’t see the targets we have on our heads, the daily microaggressions or the ostracization from certain spaces. They don’t have to compromise their cultural values through alternating between speech patterns or changing the manner in which they wear their crown. And they most definitely do not have to get “the talk” at a young age as to why they cannot go to their white friend’s house anymore.
We are forced to be uncomfortable nearly every day, then we are invalidated and told how to go about our discomfort. Just where can I go where I can safely feel and look Black without being fearful of certain situations transpiring?
February is a month to celebrate and be prideful of the skin I wear, but sometimes I have to stop and think, what exactly am I celebrating? But happy Black History Month … I guess.