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How We Should Actually Celebrate Black History Month

It’s The first of February, and you know what that means: Black History Month.

For the next 28 days, you will be inundated with random facts about the brother who invented the light bulb, that they based the real Lone Ranger on a Black man, or that the first man to find the clitoris was Anthony “Pretty Tony” Jenkins. After the first week, you’ll get tired of seeing little Black boys rapping and pop-locking in KFC commercials or McDonald’s Kente-cloth cups reminding you that they celebrate Black history 365 (No they don’t). I love Black History Month. It is so much fun. I use it as an excuse to go full Hotep around white people and scare them (“No Kelly, I can’t work late. I can’t believe you even asked me that during Black History Month!” or “Jim, I know you didn’t drink out of my coffee mug yesterday and not wash it out. You know I don’t drink after white people. Especially during Black History Month!”) Treat February like I do. For me, Black History month is a combination of Ramadan and Mardi Gras. Before you dismiss these 29 days as a way to simply remember factoids and make white people uncomfortable, here are some things we should be doing during Black History Month:

  1. We should get to shock white people — Not just arbitrarily (That would be ridiculous). What I’m proposing is a less than three-second, low-voltage taser that, when applied, sends a jolt through the body. That seems about right. And it could only be used when you spot someone doing what is commonly referred to as “White People Shit.”

    Like when Blaine rants about small government, lower taxes and how dangerous gluten is… but then we have to spend valuable dollars and resources on helicopters and search teams rescuing his ass because he wanted to go whitewater snowboard kayaking in a remote spot on the Tallapochloee River in the mountains… ZAP!!!

    Like when you’re just standing there minding your own business keeping your hands to yourself like your mama and every sense of social awareness since the beginning of time taught you to do, and Jennifer walks up, tells you how beautiful your new natural hairstyle is… and then PUTS HER HANDS IN YOUR HAIR… ZAP!!!

    Like when they say, “Donald Trump is going to make America…” — ZAP!!!!

  2. Reparations — Hear me out. Because of income inequalities along the color lines and the racial gap in savings, I think February should be tax-free for all Black people. We could invest the extra 7-12% into long-term savings, college plans or businesses. I bet someone right now is making the trite, stupid joke: “you know they’d just spend it on rims and weed.”  As if Caucasian don’t throw away millions of dollars every year on hunting rifles and small-batch IPA beers.How would we pay for the lost revenue? We charge white people an extra 1% during the month. It would remind them of the cost we all bear for slavery. I’m sure they’d probably call it the “nigger tax” when they see the extra 1% taken out of their paychecks, but I firmly believe that most White people are constantly saying “nigger” when Black people aren’t around, anyway.

    I know I would.

  3. Diversity training — Companies and corporations should use Black History month to have programs specifically designed by Black people to educate employees and promote racial harmony. One hour seminars every Tuesday could go a long way to introduce new ideas like:Clapping 101 – How important is the actual rhythm?
    A Brief Introduction to Chicken Seasoning
    How To Restrain Yourself From Reciting Rap Lyrics in Public

    Also, we should make white people wear Daishikis on casual Friday. That would be so worth it.

  4. Exchange Programs — Nothing would bring about more understanding than knowing how it feels to walk a mile in the other’s shoes for one month. During the month of February, all of our caucasian brethren should be required to attend one all-black event where they are the minority — just to see how we every day. Also, we should announce that we are hiding a small bag of cocaine in random white people’s cars all across the country. Then you can experience that anxious jittery feeling when the police are behind you — even when you know you haven’t done anything.What would Black people get to do? Oh, random stuff like control a Fortune 500 company, get any job they are qualified for, live in any neighborhood they wanted, have their votes counted, borrow money at reasonable interests rates, or not be killed by trigger-happy, overzealous policemen.

    You know — White stuff.

  5. The Bullshit/Slap Card — Every Black person gets a “bullshit” card that entitles them to one free slapping. If you aren’t familiar with the “Bullshit/Slap theorem” here’s how it works:People lie to you all the time, but it is impolite and combative to call them out on their bullshit. With the Bullshit Slap card, anytime you think someone is lying to you, you can pull out your card and ask them to verify it. If they can’t verify it, you get to slap them.Imagine pulling out your card on your coworker Kurt who claims “some of his best friends are black.” You know Kurt is bullshitting. Make him call his black friend on speakerphone or you get to slap him.

    You know how that store-owner lady told you she wasn’t following you, she just happened to be walking down every aisle you were going down? Pull your card.

    Or like when they look surprised when you show up and tell you they had already filled the position after they called you in for an interview, and you know it’s because they’re surprised that you’reBlack because your resume has a neutral-sounding name like… let’s just say… “Michael Harriot.”

    Pull your card. Then slap their ass. Then…

    ZAP!!!

About the author

Michael Harriot is a renowned spoken word poet, the host of The Black One podcast and the editor-in-chief of NegusWhoRead. He is perpetually just getting warmed up because he has no chill. He is on Instagram and twitter as @michaelharriot

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