Our view

Celebrations should push people to dream

From Talib Kweli to DMC (of Run-DMC) to numerous discussions, speeches and celebrating, Black History Month is in full swing at Kent State. And with forced reflection occurring across the campus, it might be time to ask why. Why are we reflecting on the events of the past 600 years on this continent? Why do we remember every black leader of the past 200 years? The answers are numerous and often personal for the one answering, but culturally, we are beginning to lose focus of why Black History Month is so special and so necessary.

To change, we must first understand the nature of memory. Memory is when one, being in the present, reflects on past actions, stories, thoughts, etc. … for the sake of benefiting the present (or future). Therefore, memory is more about the here and now (or the upcoming) than the then and there.

However, the way in which Black History Month is celebrated often leaves one marveling more in the past than dreaming about the future. Therefore, we recommend that Black Future Month be celebrated instead of Black History Month.

Black Future Month is unique because its greatest hope is that it no longer needs to be celebrated. Black Future Month understands that as long as it exists, there is a cultural divide. And because the ultimate goal of racial reconciliation is for skin color to disappear as the basis for judgement, those who celebrate Black Future Month look forward to a time when every area of life will not be dictated by color.

The most radical changes might be at Kent State, where classes such as “Black Experience” would cease to exist, not because they aren’t important to know, but for the exact opposite reason: They’re so important to know that they are taught as a part of “regular” history or literature.

Beyond classes, instead of having buildings dedicated to race (and the study of race), there will exist a building dedicated to the achievement of the American citizen, who was able to enslave a group of people, had the character to stop that, provided equal rights for the formerly oppressed and now lives in harmony with the formerly oppressed. This notion isn’t to glorify the white citizen for all he or she has done for the black citizen, but the black citizen for having the magnificent character to not take the offered freedoms and use them for the destruction of the former oppressors or themselves.

Blacks would be celebrated for their character, for being able to swallow down the bitterness in their mouths and not seek vengeance. And we all celebrate this because we know all of humanity benefits when vengeance is not sought.

And so, Black Future Month would prompt all those who participate to think creatively about how this can and should be, rather than reflect on the negative marks of the past. Of course, the past should never be forgotten; it is full of failed ideas, from which ashes we may all be able to resurrect good ideas. But to celebrate the dirty and grimy past, only for the dirty and grimy past’s sake, will leave us in the same pathetic condition we now so often find ourselves.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.