Point of View by Paul Montesino

Telling my story my way

At the end of February, Black History Month, many comments about that subject will end, but not any problems related to it.  Several controversies going on right now in the country that fall between two extreme categories: the ridiculous, and the outrageous, your choice. There could be others, but two are sufficient for now.  History, the past, is usually told and interpreted with gusto by the winners. The losers have little to say about the results and particularly about the rewards, the punishments, and their causes, so they prefer to ignore them. In some states of our self-defined union, books, and school courses about black history and sexual orientation have become persona non-grata by some of those “winners.” State governors, school boards, school committees, and worried parents have screamed bloody murder!

There is an army of vigilantes of the children’s well-being that are keeping their zealot eyes on anything dealing with race, sex, or any combination of the two. There is a particular ancient book out there with enough filth and mayhem to color red with shame on the faces of those who read it and is used by pastors and priests to make children feel guilty for the immensity of original sin they did not commit themselves: that book is the Bible. Isn’t that the book they shake angrily in front of their eyes to make them go into the confessionary with fear and guilt to confess and repent?  Is that book appropriate?

Of course, the family censors don’t seem to care, because they are busy trying to clean the ancestral defects in their DNA by disowning and erasing them from recorded history.

But see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil, is not the antidote to evil any more than virginity is the contradiction of love. Teaching white history does not require a white person who benefits from being a so-called “winner” but teaching black history sounds empty when that white person does it. No one can explain what it feels like to have colored skin and live inside it and try to explain what that meant in both Black and White history. What makes it worse is that some of the concerned are trying to decide who should speak with authority about Black History even if that person is not black.

We call America, and with reason, a melting pot. As immigrants came from all over the world to the United States, they brought pieces of their culture with them. Their music, food, fashion, religion, and much more slowly became part of America’s culture. What they did not feel proud of was being dropped at the borders. It was tabula rasa for them. But it was their own version, not some observer’s interpretation or criticism of that version. It seems that, when it comes to Black History, that benefit is denied unjustly.

We prefer not to listen to history about the American Revolution from the British, the Second World War from the nazis, or the effect of the 1917 Bolshevik revolution from members of the current Cuban government. Why should we define the rules of Black History teaching and rob those who lived it of that right? Isn’t their birth and history? Should we steal from them again so we can look like we are coming out clean from the history shower?

And that’s my Point of View Today. So long.


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