Should White People Celebrate Black History Month?

In short, yes, however there is a catch, but more about that later. Black History Month is about celebrating Black excellence. It is about holding up individuals who have improved our country, who have fought for equality and who have given us gifts beyond measure. These individuals also happen to be people of color who, without a Black History month, might otherwise go unnoted because of the biases in our culture.

St. Julie Billiart, the foundress of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, was groundbreaking in her day. She and her sisters were dedicated to education for everyone. In early 1800s France, that did not mean people of color. However, St Julie insisted on educating the young girls living in poverty as well as the daughters of the upper class. St Julie saw all of these students as equal and celebrated the uniqueness of each of them. The sisters today continue this with their support of anti-racism efforts both inside their community and in the public square.

Now, to that “catch” I mentioned in my first sentence. Should white people celebrate Black History Month? Yes, but that should not be the end of celebrating black excellence. Learning about and celebrating people of color should not be limited to one month a year. Here is an excellent article listing 5 ways white people can celebrate Black History Month all year through.

Stay active! Stay Engaged!

Teresa Phillips
Director of Office of Justice Peace and Care for Creation

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