Patience: History Needs a Rewrite


By Alisa Patience

Though the acknowledgment of other races’ importance throughout history should be a regular, year-round concept, it unfortunately is not. So this February is once again a time dedicated to important black figures in American history.

With this month comes arguments rooted in what’s supposed to be equality, but really isn’t: “Well if we have a Black History Month, why don’t we get a White History Month?” And, “Why does there need to be a Black History Month, anyway?”

The United States doesn’t need a White History Month because all we learn is white history in the U.S. education system. History has been rewritten and teaches high schoolers the good that came of dominant white European conquerors who took the freedoms and dignity from every population they came across. This is why we don’t need a white history month — white people in the U.S. have never been oppressed.

“Well the Irish were discriminated against, too,” your coworker said drinking his can of diet-racism.

It’s true, the Irish had a hard time becoming rich in America, but that wasn’t because of their race, it was because they were immigrants. Immigrants have always had a hard time in America, but even immigrants of color have always been and are still more discriminated against than white immigrants.

History has been white-washed and Black History Month is an attempt to slowly undo that. Christopher Columbus is celebrated even though he directly caused the enslavement and death of millions. People like Henriette Lacks, Jesse Jackson and Sojourner Truth — people who helped make incredible advancements in medical research, equality in politics and civil rights, respectively — are briefly mentioned, if mentioned at all. None of these names were ever spoken or read in any of my history classes.

Legally equality has only happened within the past 100 years. Native Americans were only granted citizenship in 1924. Racial segregation didn’t end until 1950, and some cities still have segregational technicalities in their laws.

The mistreatment of non-white ethnicities is still happening. Black people are still more likely to be arrested than white people for committing the same crime, yet many white people become angry when black people are supposedly given more opporunities, like the fact non-white people receive scholarships based on race and ethnicity. They forget, however, that white people have an easier time getting into college and receiving money for college in the first place.

It’s like if you’re a little kid and you have two candy bars, but the another child only has one candy bar. To make it equal, the grown-up gives the other kid another candy bar so you both have two. Then you get mad because they were given a candy bar and you weren’t, even though you now have the same amount.

This is the point of diversity scholarships and Black History Month, to balance out the racial disadvantages that have been controlling America since its founding.

The goal is not to have a month dedicated to the important figures of different races, but to eventually not need a Black History Month. The goal is to make sure everyone grows up learning about the amazing people of all races who did their best to shape the world into a better place.

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