Every year, in America, on March 1st while our clocks strike 12:00 a.m. Black History Month is over. Just like the infamous fairy tale Cinderella, all the magic disappears at midnight. The euphoria vanishes and we, who believe in racial equality, struggle with the realization that the next 11 months transforms from being just like the regal horses and golden carriage in Cinderella, into four mice and a pumpkin; and for the next 364 days we emotionally search for a glass slipper of equality and inclusion.
What may be argued as being historic is that for the first time in over 30 years the image of an African-American icon, Bill Cosby, is tarnished with sexual assault and rape allegations by dozens of women. Once spoken of with reverence in the media and classrooms, for the first time, Mr. Cosby's image may have been deleted from classrooms. Prior to me being sexually assaulted by Bill Cosby, I would have never imagined that he would be excluded from the barrage of accolades given to famous Black folks during the short month of February. Quite frankly, if I was not sexually assaulted by Bill Cosby I would have a difficult time believing he was guilty just like many others.
Although I am not a fan of Black History Month, to argue it is irrelevant would be ridiculous. Clearly, there is always something new for children and adults with various skin colors to learn during this month of enlightenment. However, both Black History Month and The Cosby Show offers us fleeting moments of elation and disillusionment that racism has ceased. While many black folks are grieving the loss of Cosby's "legacy", it saddens me to say that it didn't stop Trayvon Martin or Eric Garner from being killed. Racism is still very much alive!
Model Beverly Johnson mentioned that one of the reasons why she didn't disclose her sexual assault by Bill Cosby immediately after it happened is because she didn't want to bring a black man down. We share this in common. It broke my heart knowing that my public statement about Bill Cosby sexually assaulting me would create a very deep wound in the heart of the black community. I share that pain. However, I have now come to realize that race shouldn't trump rape. Sharing the same parents, metaphorically speaking, both racism and sexism are siblings born out of fear and hatred in my opinion. We still live in a very segregated world saturated with hatred; the global populace failing to see the oneness of our existence.
As Black History Month comes and goes, television shows that foster black pride also come and go. I understand that many black men attached their self worth and their manhood to the character Bill Cosby made famous. Recently, I had a few African-American men approach me expressing their pain. I could see in their eyes they wanted me (as a victim) to comfort them. All I could do was remind them that we didn't have to look to television to get inspired or to feel good about ourselves as black folks. I had to remind black men and women that our heroes and sheroes are in our homes and that we are a great people. We live in brownstones in Brooklyn and Harlem that mirrored that of the Huxtable's household. We grew up with hard working parents and many of us had a hip cool sister who went to a historically black college. In retrospect, I do not believe we need to look at television to give us our self worth. Television is a relatively young medium. In comparison to the millions of years man has existed, television is truly still in its infancy stage. All black folks need is to look at ourselves for inspiration! My personal belief as a Christian is that we have our messiah (God) to look up to. God is the only celebrity I will worship for now on.
We can no longer afford to live in a world of silence and denial as it relates to violence of any kind against women. A better world would be one which doesn't have a need for a "Black History Month" because the history of all people will be a part of our daily celebration. A better world would be one void of racism and Black folks wouldn't need to revere fictitious television characters in order to feel like a decent human being because racism robs a person of feelings of worthiness. These are defining moments for us all and the time to change from being a racist and sexist society is now!! It is just too counterproductive to continue in the same direction of hatred and self destruction. Silence equals suffering. The late great Dr. Martin Luther King once said "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
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