Robin Thede says it’s time to turn #BlackHistoryMonth into #BlackHistoryYear.
The A Black Lady Sketch Show star penned a guest column for Variety this week, urging Black people to celebrate themselves all-year-long, and for non-Black people to give us our flowers not only in the month of February.
“Black History Month is both a time of grand celebration and a time when people who haven’t done enough to help further the cause of black people are reminded for 28 to 29 days (come through leap year!) of how they’ve contributed to systemic oppression. But don’t freak out – it shouldn’t have to carry that level of intense moral month-long burden,” Thede writes.
The comedian also, laughing-but-seriously, calls out the blatant pandering media, companies, and businesses do to win over the Black community during the month. “Instead, let’s celebrate black people every day of the year, and then the moral burden is spread out across 365 days, and it won’t feel so heavy. Imagine if you could search for that Martin Luther King quote in August as opposed to trying to find an obscure one in February because all the good ones are already taken? Doesn’t that already sound better and more relaxing? Imagine hiring a black person in your office in June, when business is slower, and the weather is nice,” Thede writes. She continues, “You’d have so much time to do it then, instead of cold and busy February! Imagine asking your black friends how to do cornrows in October instead of February when you know we’re backed up with our free help-our-white-friend-with-an-adopted-black-child braiding classes?”
Lastly, Thede mentions that what she is saying may not necessarily apply to the person reading, but that these are thought points for readers to consider. She then lists a variety of ways to support the Black community 365 days out of the year.
Some of her suggestions include hiring Black people of all gender identities, sexual orientations, religions, and lifestyles; listening to Black women, treating Black students equally in the classroom when it comes to their appearance, hair, and background; and her last tip was reading up on Black intellectuals like James Baldwin and appreciating rather appropriating Black culture.
“Black History Month (while it’s still a month) is an opportunity to expand your horizons of learning throughout the year. You don’t have to go accomplish some grand feat of inclusion at your job (but you can hire black people, it’s really not that hard) or right some radical injustice (but you can stop wearing blackface at Halloween). Begin by learning to value the rich history of Black people, and it will add value to your life and to your entire year. Who needs all that pressure-packed into February? You already have Valentine’s Day to worry about,” Thede concluded.