Black History Month still needed

An increasing number of people, including two of my journalism colleagues– Rochelle Riley and Cynthia Tucker – are proposing that we stop celebrating Black History Month. I strongly disagree and, evidently, so does Barack Obama, who signed an

An increasing number of people, including two of my journalism colleagues–Rochelle Riley and Cynthia Tucker – are proposing that we stop celebrating Black History Month. I strongly disagree and, evidently, so does Barack Obama, who signed an executive order designating February as African American History Month.

“I propose that, for the first time in American history, this country has reached a point where we can stop celebrating separately, stop learning separately, stop being American separately,” Riley wrote in the Detroit Free Press. “We have reached a point where most Americans want to gain a larger understanding of the people they have not known, customs they have not known, traditions they have not known.”

Riley must be confusing Detroit, which is 81.6 percent Black, with the rest of America.

Cynthia Tucker is even farther afield. She says that Black History Month seems “quaint, jarring, anachronistic.” Writing in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Tucker added, “Suffice it to say that the nation of Tiger Woods, Oprah and Barack Obama no longer needs a Black History Month.”

Suffice it to say that this is sheer nonsense. The America of Tiger Woods, Oprah and Barack Obama is also the America where the Black unemployment rate is twice that of whites, where the rate of poverty among Blacks is more than twice that of whites and where the median family income for whites is $25,000 higher than that of African Americans.

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