Black History Month 2014: A New Perspective From Saturday Night Live

**We wanted to publish this item last month during the celebration of Black History. It’s a short month and we were busy with other projects. We’ve decided to publish this item to celebrate the selection of John Ridley’s screen adaptation of the Steve McQueen directed film as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences  Best Picture of 2013.**

The herald to Black History Month historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History announced the second week of February to be “Negro History Week.”  It was created in 1926 in the United States. February was selected because it is the birth month of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States who issued the proclamation freeing the slaves in the Southern Confederacy; Frederick Douglass, social reformer, orator,  statesman, and writer was also one of the most celebrated former slaves of his time.

“If a race has no history, it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated. The American Indian left no continuous record. He did not appreciate the value of tradition; and where is he today? The Hebrew keenly appreciated the value of tradition, as is attested by the Bible itself. In spite of worldwide persecution, therefore, he is a great factor in our civilization.” ~ Carter G. Woodson, innovator of Black History Week

The producers, writers and actors of the venerated sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live, (SNL), provide us with a comical new perspective on the annual February tradition of celebrating the historic achievements of US, Canadian, and British citizens of Black African descent, members of the African Diaspora.

This year they composed and performed a humorous presentation in the rap genre 28 Reasons to Hug a Black Guy, featuring Jay Pharoah, Kenan Thompson and Sasheer Zamata. We believe this piece totally explains, for those who are new to the celebration, for people in other nations, as well as some whites in the US who do not understand, the historic reason for celebrating great courage in the face of overwhelming adversity…SLAVERY!

Perhaps there would not be a racial issue if the North had shamed the very concept of discrimination based on race. If American racism toward blacks were made to be as disgraceful as discrimination against the Jews then maybe the situation in the US after the end of slavery never would have occurred. Germany was shamed on the international stage for its detestable treatment of the Jews during the Third Reich, the period 1933 to 1945; that ended the discrimination against Jews in Germany and most of Europe. This is what we think ought to have happened in the United States of America at the end of the domestic conflict, the War Between the States. It is also known as the American Civil War fought from 1861 to 1865.Instead the North sympathized with the whites, the former slave owners, their aversion to blacks and the continued discrimination against them. It would be as if after the Second World War the allies took the position, "We can understand why you put the Jews in the camps; we can understand why you were eliminating them, turning them into soap and things like that. We don't blame you; unfortunately we're not going to allow you to do it anymore. You can however discriminate against them, anyway you want to your heart's content. After all they're not quite human."

No Jewish person would have accepted this. Yet that is what black people in America got and continue to receive for more than one hundred years after.

The war came after the secession of the  Slave States. The southern jurisdictions fought to keep on owning black people.  This political and economic aggregation of people who wanted to own black people called itself the Confederate States of America (the "Confederacy" or the "South"). The remaining northern states opposing slavery became known as the "Union" or the "North".

The war began over the issue of slavery! Just imagine a war being fought and defended for the right to continue owning people.

In particular fighting for the plan to expand slavery: into the territories west of the Mississippi River which would eventually become full fledged states.

No foreign power officially intervened. But the Confederate States did attempt to have the government of the United Kingdom, Great Britain, become involved by providing financial and military support. The south was trying to get the very same country that had once colonized the US, involved in order to destroy peaceful relations between the United States and Great Britain. All in the name of continuing to profit from the ownership of people, which was provided by the economic prosperity of having slaves to work for them in the  booming cotton industry.

More than 600,000 soldiers died. Much of the fundamental facilities, systems of the agrarian South were demolished. The Confederacy became a complete failure.

The Emancipation Proclamation was issued to liberate all the slaves in the South. Slavery was abolished. It was under these condition the complicated period of Reconstruction began. It was to be a time of restoration, a process to restore national unity. It was to be the time when the government of the United States of America began to make good its promise to guarantee citizens' rights to the freed slaves. It has taken over 100 years to actually happen, and with blacks in jail at unprecedented rates, and still discriminated against even in modern times, the promise still has not been fully accomplished

Today we find the poverty level of the black population is exceedingly high when compared to other minorities in the US. The black prison population is extremely high. These facts are the after effects of slavery. There are those who will differ with our opinion. We say these modern day facts, along with the psychological issues plaguing the descendants of the Black African slaves can all be attributed to slavery and the result of the liberation of the black African slaves without the promised support.

There was a plan for freed slaves to be acculturized, assimilated into the society except the US government reneged on the promise of forty acres and a mule. The renunciation of the deal was supported by former proponents of the abolition movement, when they as whites began to blame the black slave victims. The former abolitionists seeing the difficulty of whites living with former slaves, black people, now sympathized with the former slave owners  now felt disdain for the former black slaves.

Or was it guilt disguised, and not wanting to be reminded of the reprehensible practice of owning other humans?

The former advocates for the Black African slaves rejected providing continued support for the former slaves and sided with the former white owners. Like the rest of the world they made no serious attempt to make the former government of the Confederacy, or the Southern States, or the  government of the newly reconstituted United States accountable for the barbarous treatment of the slaves, the liberated Black Africans, which had directly and indirectly profited both the south and the north for hundreds of years.

Whether your ancestors owned slaves or not, as a white person in today's modern American society you have benefit from the fact the culture continues to favor white over black...despite this being the so-called Era of Obama.

It is said to be a time wherein the interest is in the content of one's own character. Unfortunately many parts of society are still too concerned with keeping themselves ahead while keeping others down.

Everyone has  reason to celebrate and honor Black History Month, (BHM).  It is American History. It is an issue we continue to struggle with!

Thanks! You've already liked this