The tragedy of Black History Month

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie states “The real tragedy of our postcolonial world is not that the majority of people had no say in whether or not they wanted this new world; rather, it is that the majority have not been given the tools to negotiate this new world.” I found the point Adichie made about people not having the tools to negotiate this “new world” interesting. You see I think a lot of us do have the tools we need. The only problem is they are probably not in the best shape needed to get the impact we want. An example is, most of us are able to talk to people. What separates us is that some are able to communicate well to get a desired end, while others cannot communicate so well and are therefore at the mercy of another’s end. Another example is survival instinct. Our bodies are wired: fight or flight. We either rise to a challenge and fight for our lives, or surrender to fear and run away/ escape the situation.

I have been thinking a lot about what it means to be a young black female. Each word: young – black and female carry their own implications. In fact all of us have generic titles like these that will carry their own implications. It is Black History Month in the UK at the moment so you see I was thinking about my blackness because apparently it is the month you should. However, I have found that the more comfortable I get in myself, the less the blackness matters in the sense the world wants it to. Now what I mean by this is the association of black to oppression. When I think blackness I do not want to be reminded of oppression. That is not all blackness amounts to. It is what some would want it to equal, but the fact is, it does not and as a person of African origin, I should not let it. I believe the tragedy as Adichie describes it, is the way we have allowed blackness to become synonymous with struggle, oppression and all things opposed to freedom. We need to take the ‘tools’ we have, namely the ability to speak, write, live and love in the spirit of freedom to break this association. Black History is so much more than slavery, Black America

and race riots.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie also makes the point that once one story is told to a person enough times, it become their story. This is the self fulfilling prophecy. The rule of the prophecy is that people become what they are told and what they allow their minds to tell them they are. In the case of some black people it would mean that re – living the oppression and letting the fact that we are of different races be a controlling and deciding factor in their lives. Surely that cannot be right.

Do not get me wrong, I get that black people before me and even now struggle for their independence. But the vision and rhetoric of these struggling people was and is peace. Somehow I think that a lot of Black History ‘Celebrations’ have missed this?


NM x

About Plantain Periodicals

Hello! Welcome to the Plantain Periodicals blogs. The name stems from the kitchen moments I had with my friends at university cooking plantain and planning our lives together. I have used this space as a window into my mind and the way I make sense of all my experiences through writing.This is where I share those conversations and moments that happen inside my head as a young woman growing up in 21st century London. Hopefully you'll be entertained and also learn a thing or two. My main blog ad: My literature blog: NMx
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