Look, I’m the first person to speak up for black men and black women. I believe we have a space in the world that we deserve to take up without apology or permission. From slavery to overt sexual objectification, systemic oppression and institutionalized slavery, the black community and descendants of the African Diaspora definitely deserve just as many opportunities as our white counterparts. This cannot be argued — unless of course, you’re a racist or a bigot (which obviously go hand in hand).
The one thing we absolutely need to recognize are the white people to help us reach the top tier of the opportunities provided to us, no matter how small the act.
Black History Month has sparked a door challenge where black teachers are decorating their entryway with black art, a movement that has spread across a multitude of schools like wildfire. It is a beautiful and heartwarming endeavor to bring representation to young black children — a feat that is becoming much more popular within the newer century.
Black children seeing themselves magnified not only on doorways but movies as well (i.e. “Black Panther,” “Get Out,” “Us”), brings a kind of solace in the fact that we are not alone and reinforces the fact that we, too, deserve to be seen not only in terms of the appropriation of culture but also in the media.
The Black History Door Challenge is one of the most beautiful ways to improve the confidence of black children — no matter who is decorating the door. This is where I attempt to remind my black audience that we must take support wherever we can get it as it is the first step in allowing ourselves to teach our white counterparts what they can do in order to help bring peace to the pain that European colonizers have brought onto our ancestors.
During the Black History Door Challenge, a young white teacher followed suit and decorated her door accordingly. Unfortunately, once she posted her picture to social media, I noticed a multitude of black men and women ridiculing her for attempting to show the same kind of care toward her own black students. One woman on a social media account commented: “she’s missing the edges.”
First, I would like to address the fact that this teacher probably doesn’t understand what that term means. (For those who don’t know: She meant the teacher did not gel down the edges of the baby hairs that tend to stand up.) She probably doesn’t know the different textures of a black woman’s hair, and she most definitely doesn’t know what kind of details go into styling the different textures.
But, what does matter is the fact that she tried. She tried to bring representation to your black students. She tried to reinforce the idea that, though Black History Month is the shortest month of the year and black history is being erased from the school systems, black students matter. Black representation matters. She tried to remind her black students that they are just as important as the person standing next to them.
We have to remember that she tried.
We cannot continue to complain that we have no representation, that white people do not want to help us when we continuously bring down the ones that try. If we do not stop trying to ostracize non-black people who are going out of their way to help us (even with the smallest acts), how do we expect future generations to learn and to heal?