Black History Month 2021
BA Film and Moving Image Production student Tanicha talks about what Black History Month means to her.
I grew up in Kent, a predominantly white area. All of my friends were white. Being in white spaces, I learnt how to suppress my feelings around race. I did not have people to talk to or relate to.
How could someone with the privilege of being able to choose whether to engage in discussions around race or not understand? I am just a minority after all.
“Black History Month is about the celebration of honouring the accomplishments of black people from past to present, not educating people on black people’s traumas.”
I would feel my heart race and face burn up as the colour of my skin was the centre of a joke. All I ever wanted was to fit in, but how could I when everyday I was reminded that I was different? I laughed with everyone else but the feeling of never truly fitting in because of my skin tone, permanently lurking.
‘Have you ever experienced racism?’. Which kind? I would always struggle to explain myself.
Often defaulting to stories my mum or siblings shared with me that were shocking, the kind of stories people yearn for, anything to bury my own experiences.
How could I explain the countless microaggressions that had become a norm for me without sounding silly? Using my voice to discuss race-related issues has never and still doesn’t come easy for me.
I feel guilty that I don’t call out every single racist joke, that I am not an ‘active activist’ that I feel exhausted of feeling like the spokesperson of race related conversations and still not being understood or listened to.
But like Audre Lorde says, ‘your silence will not protect you’.
Black History Month is about the celebration of honouring the accomplishments of black people from past to present, not educating people on black people’s traumas.
Black history is everybody’s history regardless of background! Black history was not taught in schools and it’s sad that we have to have a black history month. Black history should be celebrated all year round! We have come so far as a country, but there is still some work to do. I hope that people like me, don’t have to be scared to use their voice and fear being misunderstood.