Why Black History Month is Important

blackhis4“History is written by the victors” (Unknown)

Some people attribute the above quote to Winston Churchill but more than likely it is much older. Regardless who said it there is some truth in its message.

Every society has two groups of people – the dominant group and the minority group. These two groups are not called majority and minority because it is not about numbers but power and advantage. The dominant group in a society is the group in power; the group that has the advantage. The minority group is not in power, and thus, is disadvantaged. The dominant group makes the rules and writes the history. The minority group has to learn the culture, values, and beliefs of the dominant group. The minority group has to follow the rules of the dominant group while the dominant group does not necessarily have to know and follow the rules of the minority group.

For example, the early history of the United States was written by the dominant group in our society most often referred to as WASPs (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants). Thus, Columbus (a white European) discovered a “new-world” even though people were already here (I know Columbus was not part of the WASP, but he was part of their history). Furthermore, according to the dominant group’s history, Minute-Men were revolutionaries, Indians were savages, slavery was important to our economy, and Communism was evil. The history of our country looks quite different from the perspective of 18th century Britain, 20th century Europeans, or through the eyes of blacks and indigenous Americans. This is neither a critique nor commendation of the dominant group, just a statement of the way things are; and it’s the way things are not just in our country but in every country. Continue reading