THE EDITOR, Sir:
Every year around this time, a visible minority of Jamaicans lose some of their common sense and forget an obvious fact, i.e. we are not Americans. So, one keeps hearing that February is Black History Month. Yes, but where?
Jamaicans celebrating the American Black History Month is as incongruous to me as if Americans decided to celebrate our Heritage Week. It would be less strange if those Jamaicans speaking of Black History Month did so with the explicit recognition that it is an American phenomenon, and celebrated it explicitly as an act of solidarity with black Americans. But to simply, automatically, unquestioningly adopt it as our own commemoration?
Black History Month was started in the US because the mainstream narrative of American history was told from the perspective of the white majority, so there was a felt need to take a moment to recount history from the perspective of African-Americans. Black History Month was needed because every day in the USA was 'white-history day'. People of African descent represent 12 per cent of the American population; in contrast, blacks represent more than 90 per cent of the Jamaican population.
Is our narrative always to be one of victimhood and oppression (even the overcoming thereof), of being pitied and aided? Because victors, people who are in charge of their own destiny, don't get allocated a week, a month or a year, they take the whole of history.
I am, etc.,