A history of Black

It’s Black History Month! (or just ‘February’, for all you racists, lol!). The month that all us black folks wait around all year for. A time to celebrate the most naturally and wholly pigmented of Earth’s people.

Out of curiosity and based on that tired ol’ joke ‘ Hallmark makes a card for everything’,  I wanted to see if that was indeed true.  While I found lame lame-ass ‘inspirational’  cards here (check it out if you like lame), I couldn’t find any humourous ones. Sure black history is nothing to laugh at (unless it’s a black history comedy showcase), but neither are birthdays, births, mothers’/fathers’ day, weddings, Bat and Bar Mitzvahs and Valentine’s Day but they certainly make a bunch of funny cards for those occasions. Call me old fashioned, but I like to remind my closest friends about how old they’re getting; my dad how crotchety he can be; and sending my mom inappropriately dressed Chippendale dancers to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day (sometimes in a greeting card too!).

Maybe it’s the whole ‘month’ thing that has the card industry turned off. After all, there are so many questions to consider when introducing a new series:

  • When is the right time of the month to acknowledge black history month?
  • Should one give a card at the beginning, middle or end of the month?
  • If the card arrives late, is it belated or is it more appropriate that way?
  • Do I have to give a card to every black person I know?
  • What about that obnoxious black guy at work? Do I have to give one to him too??
  • If I don’t give him a card, does that make me a racist?

Then there’s the event related questions:

  • Should there be some sort of party to commemorate the occasion?
  • If there is a party, do you serve cake?
  • If the cake is white in colour (vanilla butter cream frosting), is that racist?
  • What if you serve chocolate cake, is THAT racist??

What’s that saying?

You should never discuss sex, politics or religion in polite company…

Add black history to that list too. When’s the last time you discussed ol’ blacky (short for Black History of course) in polite company? Even in impolite company.

Don’t feel bad though. Until recently, I hadn’t really thought of ol’ blacky myself until mid January when someone reminded me it was coming up (oh yea! It’s in March, right?? No? February this year again??)

Normally overshadowed by Valentine’s Day, and here in Vancouver, completely eclipsed by way of the 2 week February celebration for Chinese New Year (I’m still confused as to why this one day event gets celebrated over a 2 week period but I’ll google that later) Black History month comes and goes with little fanfare and barely any hoopla. I did most of my black history learning in grade school and then once I was out, I didn’t think about it much more after that (Nor any history that’s not covered in Jeopardy. Or geometry for that matter.).

So where was I? Oh yes. Another reason could be the whole ‘history’ part too. All the ‘history’ behind Black History Month are the same reasons people don’t want to talk about it. Who wants to think back to a time of extreme negativity? What could a greeting card even say when it would not be saying so much? (Happy February! cuz….well…you know…). People don’t go on about other negative events either (think – the holocaust).  Why? Same reasons. A true, but very embarrassing time in our history. It happened, we all acknowledge that it did but who wants to lament on it?  You’ll notice too that documentaries and Hollywood movies about slavery or the holocaust are never romantic comedies or have happy, storybook endings (ever seen Alex Haley’s book turned TV movie Roots?? Kunta!!!).

But I want a storybook ending!

Fine. Agreed. And me too. I’m not a freethinking optimist for nothing you know. So here’s our positive spin: Black History Month is definitely a joyous occasion to be celebrated by everyone. It puts the spotlight on great leaders of the past (Martin Luther King Jr. ), great present leaders that all youth (regardless of race/gender) can idolize and aspire to be (recent Canadian Governor General Michaëlle Jean, President Barack Obama) and future leaders of tomorrow (look around you, you might currently be friends with greatness!).

So to keep the happy momentum going, I did end up finding some humourous (and inappropriate) Black History Month ecards, from SomeEcards.com wheee!:

Happy ‘February!’

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