What NOT To Do For Black History Month


Let’s get Black History Month Right! Ready to honor this vital time with respect and insight? First, let’s sidestep common pitfalls. Here are the essential ‘don’ts’ that pave the way for a meaningful celebration. Simple yet powerful, these tips will elevate your understanding and participation

Here are the 7 mistakes to avoid:

First thing’s first:
Don’t Start Late: Procrastination is a disservice. Starting early in planning your Black History Month activities shows commitment and respect for its significance. It’s more than a calendar event; it’s a dedication to understanding and honoring African American history and culture.

  1. Don’t Commercialize the Occasion: This month isn’t a marketing opportunity. Avoid using Black History Month as a platform to promote products, like extending your shade range. Such actions can be perceived as tokenism rather than true solidarity. Instead, focus on genuine, meaningful engagement that aligns with the spirit of the month.
  2. Don’t Just Focus on the Past: While honoring historical figures is vital, don’t overlook the present and future changemakers. Strike a balance by also spotlighting contemporary figures who are making significant strides in various fields, from science and technology to arts and social justice.
  3. Don’t Be Culturally Insensitive: A prime example of what not to do is the incident at Nyack Middle School in New York, where a lunch menu unintentionally perpetuated racial stereotypes. This serves as a reminder to always be culturally aware and avoid actions that could be interpreted as insensitive or stereotypical​​.
  4. Don’t Limit to Ceremonial Gestures: Black History Month should transcend glitz and glamour. Go beyond dinners and receptions; focus on community service and initiatives that have a real impact. Engaging in meaningful service projects not only honors the month but also fosters a deeper connection with the community.
  5. Don’t Exclude Authentic Voices: Planning without involving those who have lived the experience can lead to a lack of authenticity. Collaborate with Black creators and experts, ensuring that your initiatives are grounded in real, lived experiences. Remember, it’s about partnership and respect, not just ticking a diversity box.

    Importantly, this also includes fair compensation for these creators and experts. Their contributions are invaluable, and acknowledging their work through proper payment is a key aspect of respectful and ethical collaboration.
  6. Don’t Ignore Diversity Within the Black Community: The Black experience is not monolithic. Ensure your activities reflect the wide range of perspectives, backgrounds, and voices within the Black community. This diversity enriches the celebration and provides a more comprehensive understanding of Black history and culture.
  7. Don’t Commit Cultural Appropriation: Always question your motives and the authenticity of your actions. Ask yourself: Is this respectful? Do I understand the cultural significance? Am I crediting the original sources? If in doubt, seek guidance from those within the culture to ensure your actions are sensitive and appropriate.

By adhering to these don’ts, you’ll contribute to a Black History Month that is both respectful and enriching. Remember, it’s about understanding, celebrating, and learning from the African American experience in a way that is authentic, inclusive, and impactful.

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