Black History Month
As most are aware, February is Black History Month. The origins date back to 1926, when Dr. Carter G. Woodson established a week to raise awareness of Black history. Woodson was concerned that Black Americans were overlooked and ignored in history books. Nearly a century later, Black History Month has highlighted the contributions of Black Americans across U.S. history. In 1976 it became a month long event.
It highlights the contribution of black people to our society. Interesting facts like:
- Jack Johnson became the first African American man to hold the World Heavyweight Champion boxing title in 1908.
- George Washington Carver, who derived nearly 300 products from the peanut.
- Madam C.J. Walker was born on a cotton plantation in Louisiana and became wealthy after inventing a line of African American hair care products.
And thousands of other examples, many which impact our lives today.
While celebrating ones cultural heritage and history is a good thing, it is unfortunate that this was born out of the need to overcome the oppression of the era.
It is a longer video, but going deeper than just learning facts, what can we learn from history and human nature? When we understand the mistakes of the past, we can learn from them instead of repeating them.
It is interesting that even after slavery was abolished, black Americans still had to take a stand to claim the freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution of the United States. They had to take a stand in order to end the discrimination of segregation.
This week I took the time to read the text of Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous speech, “I Have a Dream.” Also, my wife and I just finished watching the mini series “Women of the Movement” It is a very graphic and emotional account of the murder of 14 year old Emmett Till in Mississippi by two white men. From the movie, it is interesting to note;
- Segregation and discriminatory practices were approved and endorsed by the government
- The government can not always be trusted to do what is right a fair
- The media is not interested in fact, but is more interested in promoting hate, anger and division to sell papers
- The majority had convinced themselves that by exercising discrimination they were doing the right thing
- It was easy the perpetrator to justify their position by convincing themselves that the victim was less than human.
Interesting to note, this pattern is common among the times atrocities have been committed through out modern history. The Nazi crimes against the Jews and any group that didn’t align with their ideology. The Canadian government and Residential Schools.
While we can’t change history, what can we learn about human nature;
- It is easy to convince yourself that your discrimination is justified.
- The government is not the final say of what is morally right or wrong.
- Media and politicians will often promote hate, fear, anger and mistrust to divide people instead of promote peace and unity.
- The majority is not always right.
- The fight against injustice comes with a cost. Until people are willing to pay the price and take a stand, evil will prevail.
We can look at this as merely “Interesting history”, but learn nothing. If we really want to learn from history we need to ask “How does this apply to me and what am I going to do differently.”
Early in my Christian walk I asked God to allow me see people from his perspective. He granted that request and it has opened up many opportunities for me to learn and interact with people from different cultures and groups.
Does that mean I agree with everybody, NO! My core values as a Christian are nonnegotiable. But it does mean that I treat them with the same respect and dignity, regardless of our differences. Often that takes a conscious effort, it is not a normal part of our human nature. I watch for trigger signs, feelings of anger or contempt. As soon as I feel either of those warning signs, I make a conscious decision to not respond with my feelings, but ask the Lord to help me respond in love and kindness.
This week’s motivation
- If you find yourself responding to an individual, a group or a situation with anger or contempt. Step back for a moment and ask the Lord to help you see it from his perspective. The more time we spend in God’s word, the more we will understand his perspective.
- Take some time to look into black history. Some possibilities would be to listen to Martin Luther King Jr’s famous speech or watch the mini series “Women of the Movement”. That’s just two possibilities but with a little research on the Internet there is lots out there.
Have a great week! God bless,
PS – Details about the Communicate With Confidence training we mention in the announcements are available at https://communicatewithconfidence.link