Tag Archives: race

The What, Where, When, How, and Why of Black History Month

Historical Background:

  1. Black History Month is celebrated during the month of February in the United States and Canada.
  2. The first organized observance of Black history in the United States occurred in 1926 and was called “Negro History Week.”
  3. Dr. Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History spearheaded the establishment of Negro History Week to highlight and bring attention to the contributions of Black people throughout American history, contributions that had been largely ignored.
  4. Dr. Woodson chose the second week of February because it included the (reported) birth dates of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, two men whose lives had greatly impacted Black Americans and whose birthdays had historically been celebrated in Black communities.
  5. In 1976, as part of the United States Bicentennial Celebration, the United States officially recognized the expansion of Negro History Week to Black History Month.

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Remembering Coretta Scott King

It is right and proper that we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  His work, his writings, and his words made him a leader in the Civil Rights Movement and helped to secure the passage of federal legislation prohibiting discrimination in employment and public accommodations and guaranteeing voting rights.

However, as we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King, I would urge us also to remember and celebrate the life and legacy of Mrs. Coretta Scott King, not simply as his wife or his widow, but as a strong and courageous civil rights leader and activist.

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Missing the Mark

Photograph of Martin Luther King JR at a press conference, standing at a podium behind microphones and speaking, 1964. Text Reads "Why Can't W[ait]"

[This post was originally published at Feminist Mormon Housewives by Natasha Smith on February 9, 2015. The original text can be found here.]

Let’s be real, Feminist Mormon Community. We just had a major opportunity to embrace intersectionality, and we squandered it. What am I talking about? Martin Luther King Jr. Day. On that day, I watched as post after post dribbled through my social media co-opting Dr. King’s message. I saw many posts that talked about how Dr. King’s words apply to issues today as if racial inequality is not an issue today. I’m all for equality in every form, but given the current political and racial climate of the United States and the recent racial deconstruction of the Feminist Mormon Community, we needed to do better.

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Another Lesson in White Privilege

white privilege

A Facebook page called “The Good, the Chad, & the Ugly” shared this post today. When I saw it I felt compelled to share it with an added comment, to wit: 

Another day. Another lesson about white privilege. Will I ever complete this course? ‪#‎ComplexionfortheProtection

I then felt compelled to share some other thoughts.

When my oldest daughter was in kindergarten, her class would do a little chant/song at the end of the day to identify what they had learned.

The teacher would ask: “What did you learn at school today?”

The children would reply (in unison): “Sharing, counting, coloring,” or whatever they had learned that day.”

The children were eager to learn, eager to share what they had learned, and eager to return the next day to learn some more.

I, too, love to learn. I especially love the fact that I can receive all sorts of lessons and learn how to do all sorts of things from cooking to carpentry, from weaving to woodworking, and from sewing to sanding, all while enjoying the comfort of my own home.

There are some lessons, however, that I no longer need to learn.  White privilege is one of them.

Believe me, I know all I need to know about white privilege.  I can recognize it in all of its forms.  I can even recognize it when it masquerades as something else.  I can recognize it even when it does not recognize itself.

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We Are All Connected

Several years ago, I was working as a 9th grade World Geography teacher, and I somehow got involved in a conversation about economically disadvantaged students. I remember one colleague going on and on about how “those kids” were a drain on community resources and how we as teachers shouldn’t have to be responsible for students who clearly don’t want to be at school, and whose parents are not supportive of their children’s educational needs. I remember sitting quietly for a while and taking it in before asking her whether she thought our collective shunning of “those kids” would have any negative impact on her life personally. She immediately said that it absolutely would not have any effect on her life, and that we should just send those kids home and let them lie in the beds they were making for themselves. She went so far as to say that kids like that LIKE living in poverty because they don’t know any better, and that attempts to pull them out of the cycle would be fruitless because when things got hard they would just revert to what they have known from birth. At this point, I got angry. Continue reading

Remembering Tamir Rice

tamir rice

Several months ago, much to the dismay of my two young sons, I imposed a No Toy Guns policy in our house. On a particularly upsetting night, I ceremoniously marched an armload of NERF and water guns out to the big trash can, plopped them down into the receptacle’s slimy, stinky depths, and shut the lid, effectively ending the ongoing “but what if I don’t ever point them at anyone and I only shoot at non-living things” debate that had long been a source of hope for them and wariness for me. I told them it was because they shoot at their little sisters and make them cry, and that was definitely part of my concern. But, if I’m honest, I would have to throw away virtually all of their toys if I tossed out everything that made someone cry, got used as a weapon, or was misused in a way that was potentially harmful to someone’s health. So, no, the No Toy Guns policy was not instituted solely to protect my little girls from the evils of the foam-tipped NERF bullet. Continue reading

Punching Other Moms, Causing Disunity, and Other Ways to Let Your Light So Shine

mom quote

A few weeks ago for Mother’s Day, the kids at church were asked to fill out a little paper all about their mom. My son’s paper proudly proclaimed, “My mom is awesome because she ‘CAN PUNCH OTHER MOMS.’” Tha hell??!! Seriously, son? THAT’s what you want everyone to know about why your mother is awesome??!! (For the record, I do NOT make it a habit to “punch other moms.”) Continue reading