Black History Month in the UK is an important time to remember and celebrate the accomplishments of black people in British history and beyond. While it is important to take this time to reflect on the past, it is also essential to continue the conversation about the challenges that black people face today.
This year’s theme, “Time for Change: Action Not Words” focuses on the double-burden black people carry. The first part is “experiencing racism and discrimination” and “then being expected to fix the problem themselves.” The event encourages people to participate in the Black History Month celebration by taking action using the ‘see something, say something’ approach to dealing with racism.
However, for some people, black history should not only be a month-long celebration but an all-year-round remembrance. As a black woman from the Windrush generation, I can deeply understand why this is the case and I see this proposition as beneficial for several reasons.
First, it would help to increase the visibility of black British history. Currently, there is a lack of focus on black history in schools and the media. Despite the UK’s long and complex history with race, there is a distinct lack of focus on black history.
This is particularly evident when compared to the way other histories are treated. For example, while there are entire channels devoted to British and European history, there is no equivalent for black history. This imbalance perpetuates the idea that black history is somehow less important than other histories and that people are less likely to be exposed to black history unless they actively seek it out. In addition, this lack of exposure contributes to a general feeling of invisibility among black people in the UK. All of this needs to change if we are to create a more inclusive society. By celebrating black history all year round, we can help to ensure that future generations learn about the significant role that black Britons have played in shaping our country.
Second, it would show that we are committed to tackling racial inequality. As a nation, Britain has a long and complex history with race relations. For centuries, different racial groups have been treated with varying degrees of bigotry and intolerance. In recent years, there has been a growing acknowledgement of the need to address this issue, and there have been some positive steps forward. However, there is still a long way to go in terms of achieving equality for all racial groups in Britain. One small but important step in the right direction would be to celebrate Black history. This would help to increase visibility and understanding of the significant contributions that black people have made to British society throughout the centuries. It would also send a powerful message that Britain is truly committed to celebrating diversity and promoting equality.
Thirdly, celebrating Black History all year round would simply be a more inclusive way of celebrating our country’s history. After all, Britain is made up of people from many different racial backgrounds, and our history should reflect this diversity. For these reasons, it is clear that celebrating black history all year round would have many benefits.
As we are about to close Black History Month in the UK, my call is for people to not only remember the Black community every October of each year but to celebrate and support them all year round. The history of Black people is often ignored or erased, and it is vital that we remember and honour the contributions that Black people have made to our society. There are many ways to do this, such as amplifying Black voices, challenging racism when we see it, and supporting Black-owned businesses. We all have a role to play in creating a more inclusive society, and I am committed to doing my part. I hope you will join me in celebrating Black history and culture daily, not just during Black History Month. Together, we can create a future that is fairer and more equitable for everyone.