Black History Month: The Blogger/Social Media Edition
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Feb 15, 2016
I’m doing something different this time; I’m starting with a video. Watch it, laugh, but pay attention because once it’s over I’ve got more for you:
Did you enjoy that? I enjoyed it a lot, so much so that I spent a big part of yesterday sharing it with a lot of folks for a lot of different reasons. You’re probably asking yourself why; you know I’m going to tell you. 🙂
This is Black History Month, the month where, if you’re paying attention, there are all sorts of folks in all sorts of places sharing historical information about the accomplishments of black people throughout American history. It’s a bigger deal than many people may think it is for the United States because, as you might guess, without black people most of this country wouldn’t have been built. Sure, it was slave labor and someone else did the designs, but the people who did the actual work… y’all know.
“Stop talking about it. I’m going to stop calling you a white man & I’m going to ask you to stop calling me a black man,” to which I responded “totally disagree.” He asked me if I cared to explain it and I said I offered a sound bite because the image gave a sound bite. I then said I would talk about it here. By the way, this is actually going to be a post about social media so stick with a bit of this backstory just a little longer please. lol
First, you have to see the build up to the conversation and the rest of the statement Morgan Freeman said to understand the full context:
Wallace: Black History Month you find…
Freeman: You’re going to relegate my history to a month?
Wallace: Oh come on.
Freeman: What do you do with yours? Which month is white history month?
Wallace: [pause] Well, I’m Jewish.
Freeman: Okay. Which month is Jewish history month?
Wallace: There isn’t one.
Freeman: Oh, Oh. Why not? Do you want one?
Freeman: Right. I don’t either. I don’t want a Black History Month. Black history is American history.
Wallace: How are you going to get rid of racism?
Freeman: Stop talking about it.I’m going to stop calling you a white man. And, I’m going to ask you to stop calling me a black man. I know you as Mike Wallace and you know me as Morgan Freeman. You don’t say, “Well, ahem! This white guy named Mike Wallace.” You don’t say it.
In context, his point is valid and has a totally different meaning than what it’s been given. The ridiculous of the moniker of the month isn’t because he doesn’t believe black history isn’t important, it’s that he believes it should be taught along with everyone else’s history. It pays to note that this interview was conducted in 2005 and in the years since he’s called out racism whenever he’s seen it, including last year when he spoke out against the killing of Freddie Grey & the Baltimore protests against the police. Thus, he said one thing and 10 years later was saying another thing; stuff to point out.
Second, even he must realize that there’s kind of a marginalization of black people (I don’t use the term “african-american” unless I’m quoting someone else) by many people, even if they don’t know it. If you watched the video you saw when the one lady said “I’m black” and the other lady said “No you’re not”, then when another black person was pointed out she said “Well I know he’s black.” If you think that was just a joke, I can tell you that it’s the kind of conversation I used to have with people all the time.
Some of you might remember my post about wanting to be a top 50 blogger. I tend to believe the main issue isn’t that I’m not all that well known as much as the fact that I’m black, which makes me kind of unknown. That might seem paranoid until you go to a search engine, put in top 25 or top 50 bloggers or people on social media and see how many black people are represented. Most of the time there are none whatsoever. Every once in a while my buddy Ileane Smith gets a nod but there are plenty of other folks doing some pretty impressive things who are never mentioned.
I know, you’re thinking I’m paranoid, but I have more to share with you. I’ve commented on a few of these lists, asking the person who compiled the list why there weren’t any black people on it. The response I get from the writer is “I don’t know any.” The response I get from other commenters is “it’s ‘blanks’ list and they can have on it whomever they want”. I don’t dispute the second but I always question the first. Back in 2012 I ran a series for 19 weeks titled Black Web Friday where I highlighted 4 or 5 black bloggers, social media people or black owned websites. I had a larger list that wasn’t all that hard to find, which shows that there wasn’t this great void… just people not remembering who or what they might have seen. At least that’s how I saw it then… and I see it now.
One of the things I mentioned in my post last October about how I promote myself on Twitter is highlighting posts that people I know are posting there, or when I visit their blogs and I like the post I’ll share their links. What I didn’t mention is that I have another list which I call “Black Twitter”, and on that list are people who aren’t necessarily my friends but who I’m connected to and want to share their stuff because it’s good stuff.
I do that because as my Twitter presence has started to grow, I figure it gives me an opportunity to highlight more “folks” and get the word out there there’s more than me… not that any of them probably need my help but I do what I do. There are 24 people on that list; some folks like Ileane aren’t on that list because I have her on my friends list. In a way, this is my contribution to making sure that a month of black history isn’t all there is, at least when it comes to blogging and social media. To whit, I’d like to share the Twitter links of 10 black people who I think you should be checking out, only people who I haven’t shared here before (that knocks out Kim George, who I highlighted on this post about bloggers being leaders):
K. L. Register
The last name isn’t actually in that list. He’s a friend of mine locally who talks and writes about something called Conflict Resolution. I interviewed him last year; that interview is below… and we laughed a lot…
Here’s the thing. Twenty years from now when I’m the same age as Morgan Freeman is now, do I want there to be a Black History Month? Nope, not at all. Do I believe we’re still going to need a Black History Month? As long as there are places like the state of Texas, which removed all references to black people from their schools history books in 2015 except for mentioning slaves and indicating that they were happy (can you believe such a thing?), absolutely! If you want quotes, here’s a great one from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr:
“Our lives begin to end when we stop talking about things that matter.”
I hope I made my point. I’ve love to hear your opinion (I think lol) and see if there are any questions. However, since these types of posts rarely get comments, I’m not expecting any. But if anyone says they didn’t see it… I’ll be tracking it on Google Analytics. 🙂