(First published as the 'President's Message' in the February 2015 edition of the newsletter of the Southern California Republican Women and men.)
The Month of February has been designated ‘Black History Month’ (or updated for political correctness for the 21st century, ‘African American History Month’) since the U.S. government during the President Gerald Ford administration gave it official recognition. This commemoration had roots in the designation since 1926 of the second week of February as ‘Negro History Week’ by historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. The particular week was chosen because it contained the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglass. The motive given by Woodson was to put black Americans on an equal plane with other American ethnicities to ensure cultural continuity and prestige, noting the success of the hebrew peoples on the one hand and the near-obliteration of the native American cultures on the other. Gerard Ford praised “the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
Nonetheless the concept has been criticized by prominent people of all political persuasions, having in common the view that black history is American history and should not therefore be relegated to some ghetto apart.
Moreover, in the dominant political culture of today, one can discern a certain bias for honoring ideologically ‘correct’ black individuals while ‘dissing’ others. Does the work of the liberal black leadership really honor the legacy and values of Booker T. Washington? Will the Congressional Black Caucus honor Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas? Will they invite as a keynote speaker to any of their events Lloyd Marcus, author of ‘Confessions of a Black Conservative: How the Left has shattered the dreams of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Black America’? Will Jason Riley, member of the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board and author of ‘Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make it Harder for Blacks to Succeed’ be winning any awards? What about J.C. Watts, U.S. Congressman and author of ‘What Color is a Conservative’? Larry Elder? Star Parker? Alan Keyes? Allen West? Walter E. Williams? The list goes on and on.
Thomas Sowell would be considered a world-class economist and philosopher whether he were German, Russian or Chinese. The fact that he is American simply honors America. The fact that he was born poor in rural North Carolina simply gives his writing on wealth and poverty extra perspective and credibility. And the fact that he grew up black in Harlem (where I can safely say that in the all-black public school that had no name but a number, he got a better education than I did thirty years later at the far better-financed integrated junior high named for Dr. Martin Luther King) simply gives his work in the matter of culture and race unmatched authority. Yet the dominant black political leadership shuns him and every other black conservative like the plague.
Designating a month as Black History may be a good idea or a poor one. No one outside of the Ku Klux Klan would ever propose such a thing as ‘White History Month’, to the exclusion of other races. But as long as we have it, I can think of plenty of individuals I am eager to honor.
Please join us on February 21st to hear our featured speaker the Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson, author of ‘Scam: How the Black Leadership Exploits Black America’
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